Ask a Librarian

Find what you need in our searchable FAQ.

What is a library database and how do I access one?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    SUNY Ulster Student Portal databases

A library research database is a searchable collection of information. Libraries pay for subscriptions to databases in order to provide their users access to the best information. Library databases contain scholarly articles from academic journals, newspaper articles, magazine articles, book reviews, ebooks, specialized encyclopedias and/or streaming video.

The Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster subscribes to more than 60 different databases. DiscoverDeWitt is the library's search tool that pulls together information from all of our subscription databases as well as our print materials so you can search all library resources at once. The results can be overwhelming at times so it can be helpful to search the more targeted collection of a subject-specific library database. You can find them on the Library Resources page of the Portal.

Current students, faculty and staff are able to access the library's databases from on or off-campus using the links provided on the portal. Users on the college network, including WiFi, can access library databases from our Research Databases page.

 

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How do I search beyond Macdonald DeWitt Library's collections?

Last updated on Dec 01, 2023    interlibrary loan research

If you can't find what you need within the library's collections, expand your search to other resources available by request:

For Physical Books:

  • SUNY Catalog: Search the physical collections of all SUNY Libraries in one place. Use the "Request from a different institution" link to have the material(s) sent to us. We will notify you via email when the material is ready to be picked up.

For Electronic Articles:

  • DiscoverDeWitt Expand My Results: Enable the Expand My Results toggle in DiscoverDeWitt to see results from sources outside of the library's subscriptions. Then use the "Request from a different institution" link to initiate an interlibrary loan request. 
  • Google Scholar integration: Search scholar.google.com to see academic resources indexed on the web. Much of what you find will be behind a paywall, so be sure to add "SUNY Ulster - Full Text @ SUNY Ulster" to your Settings -> Library Links for direct links to our library's resources in your Google Scholar search results.
  • Library research databases: Many databases provide citation information for resources that can be requested through interlibrary loan. Be sure any "Full Text Only" limiters are unchecked to see results that are requestable through interlibrary loan.
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How do I find out what textbooks I need for my courses?

The library does not rent or sell textbooks - to purchase your textbooks, reach out to the SUNY Ulster Bookstore operated by Follett at 845-687-5085. The library cannot assist you with book vouchers or online access codes.

To see a list of your required texts for your courses, log on to the SUNY Ulster portal (gofar.sunyulster.edu) and choose the Campus Life page. In the Campus Services box, choose Bookstore. Use the "BookNow - Order Books Online" link to see a list of your required course materials based on your current schedule. 

If you are having trouble paying for your textbooks, the Community Cares Emergency Funding program may be able to assist you! Apply for a grant through the Ulster Community College Foundation.

There are over 70,000 print books and even more ebooks available from the library to support students in their coursework, all freely available to SUNY Ulster students. Some textbooks have been put in the Course Reserves section at the Circulation Desk and may be borrowed for in library use only.

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What are some strategies for reading academic sources?

Last updated on Mar 02, 2022    ebooks databases research

Part of determining a source's relevance also includes evaluating its suitability for use in academic research. Not all sources are created equal. Take note of:

  • Publication date
  • Publisher (book) or Journal (article)
  • Author(s) credentials and experience
  • Tone
  • Signs of Bias
  • Intended audience 

Once you find a source that appears both relevant to your topic and appropriate for academic research, use the following tips for reading peer-reviewed articles and academic books to help you use your time efficiently.

Tips for Reading Academic/Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Know your question or argument. Keep your question in mind as you read with the understanding that it may change as you gain more understanding and do more research.
  • Start with the Abstract. The abstract will help you decide if you should go any further. If it doesn't seem to address your question or argument, stop reading.
  • Read the Conclusion/Discussion. The main claims of the author's work should be discussed at the end. If the conclusion is relevant, then move on to the Introduction.
  • Make your own summary. It is helpful to put in your own words why the article is relevant to your research question. It will help you organize your thoughts when moving to the next step of the research/writing process.
  • Review the references. It is important to see what types of sources the author consulted in their research. It can also lead you to other relevant sources to help you with your own research.

Tips for Reading Academic Books/Monographs:

  • Review the Table of Contents. Review the Introduction if there is one. Skip to the chapters that are most relevant to your research question/argument.
  • Look for summary information like a conclusion at the end of a chapter or the end of a book.
  • In ebooks, use the Search within option to find relevant passages. In print books, use the index to find relevant pages.
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How do I save an article from a library database so I can refer to it later?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    databases research

You have several options for saving your research. The exact method depends on which database you are using. In DiscoverDeWitt, after signing in, use the "Pin" feature to save to your favorites. You can also use the Permalink Icon and copy the URL to your clipboard to be pasted into a separate document. You can also use the Email button to email yourself the record.

In Ebscohost databases, you can use the Save to My Folder option to retain articles during your searching session (or indefinitely if you have are logged in to your free Ebscohost account). There are also buttons in the Tools area to Save to your computer, add to Google Drive and Email. If you prefer to manually copy/paste the URL, make sure you use the Permalink button. The URL in the browser is session-based and will become a dead link outside of your search session.

In Gale databases, use the Get Link button in the top menu to copy the stable URL. You may also use the Send To button to save to your computer, Google Drive or email.

In ScienceDirect, the URL in your browser will only work while on campus. Note that the URL in the address bar will need to be preceded by http://ezproxy,sunyulster.edu:2048/login?url= in order to work off campus. You may Download PDF for saving to your desired location. 

In JSTOR, use the stable URL provided on the landing page for the article. You can also Download PDF or Share to email it. Note that the stable URL listed in the citation will need to be preceded by http://ezproxy,sunyulster.edu:2048/login?url= in order to work off campus.

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What is a primary source and what is a secondary source?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    research

A primary source is firsthand information in its original form, such as literary works like novels, short stories and poems. Primary sources also include eyewitness accounts, photographs and interviews. 

Secondary sources are secondhand information that contain analysis or interpretation. Examples of secondary sources include literary analysis, all nonfiction books except autobiography, and documentaries.

For more information on types of sources, refer to Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Sources, a chapter from the open text, Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research

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Where do I return books?

Last updated on Jan 05, 2024    policies

You may return checked out materials to the library circulation desk during the library's open hours or to the KCSU Library Book Drop when the Kingston campus is open. For after hours returns of print materials (no devices, please!), the book drop on the main campus in front of Hasbrouck Hall is available 24/7.

Your Library Account provides details of checked out items and due dates.

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How do I use Kanopy on a phone or tablet?

Last updated on Feb 06, 2024   

Kanopy requires you to download their app to view videos on a phone or tablet.

1. Find the Kanopy app in your app store and download it. When you open it, you will be prompted to log in.

2. Choose "Find University" and search for SUNY Ulster. This should prompt the portal login screen to appear. Log in.

3. Then, you need to create a Kanopy account. We recommend you choose Log in with Google and use your school email to log in.

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How do I download one of the library's ebooks so I can read it offline or on my mobile device?

Last updated on Dec 02, 2022    databases ebooks

Each ebook will have different permissions regarding downloading and printing.

For more detailed instructions, consult the guide eBooks: Finding, Printing, and Downloading.

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Where do I find literature criticism/secondary articles about a novel, play, poem, fairy tale or short story?

Last updated on Feb 06, 2024    databases research

Many of the library's resources related to literature can be found through the Literature Subject Guide. The most popular databases are Gale Literary Sources and JSTOR. Go to one of the databases and begin your search by entering the author and name of work. 

This video demonstrates finding articles in library databases:

 

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How many books am I allowed to take out?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    policies

Check Outs: There is no limit to the amount of circulating books you may take out at one time. Just remember, you are responsible for their return. Failure to return library materials will result in a hold on your account. You will not be able to register for classes until the books are returned or the cost of the books is paid.

In Library Use Course Reserves: You may only use one Reserve book at a time.

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How do I use the Anatomy & Physiology Visible Body app?

Last updated on Nov 03, 2022   

Set up an account in Visible Body Web Suite to access a suite of apps including Anatomy & Physiology. More details are available on the library's Human Anatomy & Physiology subject guide.

 

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How do I search for a book in the library?

Last updated on Nov 23, 2021    research

Search for books using the Library Catalog scope of DiscoverDeWitt. Limit to Held by Library for our physical collection. Limit to Available Online for only ebooks. Identify the call number to guide you to the appropriate shelf in the library.
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Does the library have a copy of my textbook?

Last updated on Nov 23, 2021    textbooks

The library has a small collection of textbooks on reserve to be used in the library only. Search the Course Reserves to check whether the library has a copy of your textbook on reserve. Please note that textbooks are not purchased by the library. Instructors may place textbooks on reserve for use by students. The library does not sell or rent textbooks. Students should contact the bookstore for purchase or rental options.

The Lights for Learning program may be able to provide financial assistance for students to purchase their textbooks. More information can be found here: Lights for Learning Emergency Fund

 

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Who do I ask for help with my information literacy (LIB111) class?

Last updated on Mar 08, 2023    LIB111 research

You should always ask your instructor first. Librarians are also available to help with your information literacy assignments. Make an appointment, stop by the library or email askref@sunyulster.edu to reach a librarian. 
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Do you have laptops or Chromebooks for students to borrow?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023   

Yes! The library has Laptops and Chromebooks to loan to current students for the entire semester. Ask at the Circulation Desk. Student ID is required.
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I need library sources for a persuasive/argument essay or speech defending a specific viewpoint. What library resources are available?

Last updated on Mar 18, 2022   

Please see the Argument Essay or Speech guide for suggested library resources to help with ENG 101 persuasive essays and COM 103 and COM 105 speeches.
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What is a citation?

Last updated on Dec 01, 2023    research

In the academic world, a citation is used to tell the audience (usually a reader or instructor) that the information being presented is coming from another source. A full citation usually includes the author, title, date, and publication information of the source and is often included at the end of a paper. An in-text citation is the first part of the full citation, usually the author last name, and often also will include the page number of the section being referenced and sometimes the date of publication. The in-text citation information is usually enclosed in parentheses within the body of a paper. The Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) have specific formatting guidelines for how to cite your sources. The library's citation guides go into more detail on how and when to cite.

 

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How do I get NYTimes.com, WSJ.com and Chronicle.com accounts?

Last updated on Aug 01, 2023    Newspapers

The library has purchased site licenses for the following newspapers. This means SUNY Ulster users can create accounts with each site for free!

NYTimes.com Academic Pass - Use the Academic Passes link provided to sign up with your SUNY Ulster email address for a free 6-month subscription to nytimes.com and the NYTimes mobile apps. After 6 months, verify your email address again for another pass from this link. Make sure to check your Spam folder for the NYTimes.com Verification Email.

Wall Street Journal - Access WSJ.com by choosing Sign in with Google and using your SUNY Ulster email address.

Chronicle of Higher Education This link opens in a new window- For full access off campus:
1. Go to Chronicle.com and click on the “Log In” link at top, right-hand side of the web page.
2. Choose the “Create an account now” option.
3. Enter and confirm your campus e-mail address, then follow the steps on the account setup pages.

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What remote services are available from the library?

Last updated on Dec 01, 2023    policies research

Our New Student Welcome Guide for remote students provides more information about utilizing library resources and services from off campus. 

Check out the extensive collection of electronic resources and all the virtual ways to work with a librarian on the Library Tab of the Portal:

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