When you’re writing papers and conducting research, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. Wouldn’t it be great to have a subject matter expert to guide you? Wouldn’t it be even better if this expert were right here on campus? These superheroes are real, and we call them research librarians.
I have been a student at UC for five years, and before speaking with Robert Freeman, I had never met with a research librarian before. Within the first few minutes of our conversation, he had already taught me things I never knew about keywords and databases. Looking back on all the time I spent struggling with digital archives and Google searches, I wish I had set up a meeting like this years ago.
Robert is a librarian for the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. Even if you’ve never set foot in the CECH library, as I hadn’t before our meeting, he can help you navigate the wealth of information housed there. It’s a little intimidating to tackle a subject when you don’t have much background knowledge, but that’s where research librarians come in—they can guide you in exploring a new topic.
“My number one priority is to help with research,” says Robert. “When I get a question from a student, I drop everything and try to always reply that same day.”
Robert says he can help students both in-person or online. Of the 4.5 million items in the library’s collection, 1.5 million of these are e-books, and most of the articles are in digital archives. If you want to check out an item that is only available as a physical copy, but can’t make it to the library in person, they can even mail you anything in their own collection.
“Books, articles, or videos… whatever you want, the library can get it for you,” says Robert. “If we don’t have it in our collection, we can borrow it from another library, or we can purchase it. Don’t buy papers or research articles. The library can get it to you for free.”
With no shortage of resources available through the UC libraries, sometimes the most difficult part of research is just knowing how to find what you’re looking for. Research librarians can help you search effectively by adjusting metadata, coming up with synonyms for your search terms, and using refining filters.