Features

Rich in Resources and Resourcefulness

D. Samuel Gottesman Library: Rich in Resources and Resourcefulness

The life of a graduate student is full of demands, from the need to complete course requirements to conducting research to presenting work at national meetings. And then there is the attention to a multitude of details to identify appropriate print and web-based sources of information, with the ultimate task of drafting a dissertation.

Nancy Glassman confers with Einstein faculty member Dr. Scott Chudnoff
Nancy Glassman confers with Einstein faculty member Dr. Scott Chudnoff
Thesis work presents a special set of challenges, especially in the new age of Wikipedia, YouTube and anonymous posts. “With digital media, the concept of copyright is trickier than in the past, creating a shady gray area with regard to attribution,” said Dr. Victoria Freedman, assistant dean of graduate programs in the bio-medical sciences, who discussed her concerns with Racheline Habousha, head of public services in Einstein’s D. Samuel Gottesman Library.

“I was looking for information that I could distribute to the graduate students about how to do citations and how to avoid inadvertently using someone else’s material. Racheline was immediately interested and said that she and the other reference librarians would work on the issue for us.”

Utilizing LibGuides™ software, the library staff created a Research Guide, Cite It Right!: A Guide to Thesis Preparation, which was introduced in September along with a workshop offered to all fourth- and fifth-year graduate students that focused on how to manage citations, set up your own bibliographic database and avoid plagiarism. In November, the use of the Research Guide and proper citations was described in another workshop, this time directed at second-year graduate students preparing to write their Qualifying Exam proposal. And later this year, the Research Guide will feature in a presentation on plagiarism as part of the Responsible Conduct of Research course, which all first-year graduate students and first-year post-doctoral fellows are required to take.

“The workshop complemented the key elements of the Research Guide, which links tothe bibliographic software Endnote (available through the Library's site license), a program that allows users to collect and organize references more easily,” said systems librarian Nancy Glassman. The guide also includes tips on compiling bibliographies and information on how to submit a thesis.

Those in need of an immediate response can text a librarian
Those in need of an immediate response can “text a librarian”
“There’s this belief among many Internet users that if something is on the Web, it’s free and you can use it,” explained Ms. Glassman. “Many don’t realize that there needs to be proper attribution. Dr. Freedman noticed that students might not be fully aware of the correct citation procedures and wanted to do something that would help them avoid this problem as they were writing their theses.”

The Cite It Right! Research Guide is one of a number available on the library website. To date, the reference staff, Aurelia Minuti, Karen Sorensen and Rachel Schwartz, has assembled 17 such guides on topics including copyright resources and tips on using PubMed (a database of biomedical articles), RefWorks and other citation software. They also have developed a Research Guide for the Hispanic Center of Excellence, prepared by Ms. Minuti.

And, they have teamed with the graduate program on another Research Guide, Career Development & Professional Resources for Ph.D. Students, Postdocs, and Faculty, designed to assist students in their post-Einstein lives. It features a collection of career resources, in print or on the Web, concerning academic and nonacademic careers; advice on interviewing, getting grants and preparing a CV or resume; and links to articles like “Top 10 Reasons to Do a Ph.D.”

However, Research Guides are just one example of the many helpful resources and services the library staff provides to the Einstein community. Since Einstein’s founding in 1955, the D. Samuel Gottesman Library has been changing and evolving to better serve its students, faculty and staff. Most recently, renovations have created new workspaces and conference rooms that allow for independent and group study. Then, too, there is the library’s involvement in digital communication.

For example, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, individuals can can chat with a librarian via instant messaging regarding questions and requests for which they need more immediate assistance, as well as use “text a librarian” to contact staff . Visitors also can sign up to receive the monthly newsletter, BiblioBlast, which offers helpful information along with updates on regularly offered courses and programs.

Library staff members Rachel Schwartz, Aurelia Minuti and Karen Sorensen promote the Einstein Book Club’s latest read
Reference librarians Rachel Schwartz, Aurelia Minuti and Karen Sorensen promote the Einstein Book Club’s latest read
In addition, the library posts “tweets” on Twitter and has a Facebook page. Many of these options can be accessed through the library’s new mobile website, designed for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and other devices. Currently in the early stages of development, users can take a brief survey to help with its fine-tuning.

In the offline world, the library offers an abundance of hands-on courses. “With a site like Google Scholar, for example, you can be overwhelmed with a lot of good information that’s not relevant to the project at hand,” said Ms. Habousha. “Whether it’s faculty or students, we show them how the sites can best fit their needs.” On-demand classes also can be arranged for faculty, students, residents, postdocs and staff.

From a literary perspective, the library hosts the Einstein Book Club every other month. Established more than a year ago, the focus is on the enjoyment of reading and discussing literature and poetry.

From Research Guides to helpful courses to discussions of literature, the library staff has something to offer all members of the Einstein community. “Over the last 12 months we’ve had just under 1 million page views on our website,” noted Ms. Glassman. “So the Research Guides are important, but they’re just part of why people come to us.”

To learn more about the library and its services, visit http://library.einstein.yu.edu/. To follow the library on Twitter, use the tag “@EinsteinLibrary.”

Posted on: Wednesday, April 06, 2011