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

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

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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What remote services are available from the library?

Last updated on Nov 03, 2022    research policies

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:

Requesting of physical library materials for contactless pick up on the main and Kingston campuses is available. Search the Library Catalog from the Library page of the portal for our physical materials and use the "Request item" option. If you are unable to pick up from the main campus, please reach out to the library to set up alternate arrangements.

Library items may be returned to either the main campus or KCSU book drop. 

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

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    interlibrary loan research

If you can't find what you need within the library's collections, search even more resources the following ways:

DiscoverDeWitt Expand My Results: Enable the Expand My Results toggle in DiscoverDeWitt to see results from sources outside of what the library owns or subscribes to. Then use the "Request from a different institution" link to initiate an interlibrary loan request. Electronic article requests are often filled within 1 business day. Physical delivery of materials can take up to 7 business days.

Google Scholar integration: Search 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.

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.

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 ( 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. For answers to even more questions about SUNY Ulster, see the SUNY Ulster Help & Resources FAQ.

If you are having trouble paying for your textbooks, the Lights for Learning program is a fund that may be available 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 are available for use in the library only in the Course Reserves section behind the Circulation Desk. 

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I have a library hold on my student account. How do I take care of it?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    policies

A library hold on your student account can be removed in two ways.

1. Return any library materials that you have checked out and all fees will be waived.

2. Pay the specified replacement cost. All fees must be paid through the Student Accounts Office. Use the contact information for Student Accounts in the Payment and Finance Options box on the Student Resources page of the portal.

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What are some strategies for reading academic sources?

Last updated on Mar 02, 2022    research ebooks databases

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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Can I connect my Google Scholar account to the library's resources?

Last updated on Mar 19, 2021    interlibrary loan research

Yes! While in Google Scholar, go to Menu -> Settings -> Library Links. Search for SUNY Ulster and check the box next to the name. Save your new settings and you should begin seeing links to full text content from the library in your search results. The brief video below takes you through the steps.


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How do I request a book or full text of an article the library does not have?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    interlibrary loan research

Articles: Sometimes when searching in library databases, you may come across articles to which the library does provide immediate access. You can use the built in "Find Full Text" links in our library databases and Sign In with your portal username and password to request full text. When the resource is available, you will receive an email with a download link from with the subject "Full Text Request from Library."

Books: If you are unable to find a book in the Library Catalog of DiscoverDeWitt, switch the drop down menu to to the SUNY Catalog to search the physical materials available by request from libraries in the SUNY system. Sign In to DiscoverDeWitt and use the "Request from another institution" button to request the book. You will receive an email when the item(s) is/are ready to be picked up.

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I need help with writing a paper. What do I do?

The Writing Center can help you! Email the Center for Academic Planning and Support at for more information or follow the instructions on the Student Resources page of the portal in the Academic and Student Support Resources box under Tutoring.
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How can I view recordings of events on campus like the Reuner Library Writers Series and the Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023   

Available recordings of library-sponsored campus events can be streamed from the following:

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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    research databases

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, 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, in order to work off campus.

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How do I make an appointment with a librarian?

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023    research

You can use the Make an Appointment button on the Library Resources page of the portal to set up a time to meet with a librarian. Watch the video below for a demonstration of the process.  Please email if you need to schedule a time outside of the posted available times.


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What is OER and how do I find appropriate resources for my course?

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020    oer textbooks

OER stands for Open Educational Resources. Open NYS defines OER as "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits repurposing by others." For students, the generally accepted meaning is free online textbooks. For faculty, OER means more control over learning materials.

For more information about the OER Initiative at SUNY Ulster and links to ready to adopt materials, see the library's OER for Student Success guide.

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How do I use Kanopy on a phone or tablet?

Last updated on Sep 03, 2020   

Kanopy requires you to download their app to view videos on a phone or tablet. Find the Kanopy app in your app store and download it. When you open it, you will be prompted to log in. Choose "Find University" and search for SUNY Ulster. This should prompt the portal login screen to appear. Log in. 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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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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How do I get, and accounts?

Last updated on Nov 17, 2022    Newspapers

The library has purchased site licenses for the following newspapers. This means SUNY Ulster users can create accounts with each site for free! - Use the Academic Passes link provided to sign up with your SUNY Ulster email address for a free 6-month subscription to 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 Verification Email.

Wall Street Journal - Access 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 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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Where do I return books?

Last updated on May 28, 2021    policies

You may return checked out materials to the library circulation desk during the library's open hours. Library materials may be returned to the book drop on either the main campus or at KCSU when the campus is open. 

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

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I need help with MLA or APA Style citations. What should I do?

Last updated on Mar 08, 2023    research

The library has citation guides to help you with the basics of APA and MLA Style. You can also use the "Cite" feature of library databases to generate the full citation, but be sure to check for errors. If you have a specific question, reach out to a librarian by email, chat or at the library
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What is a peer-reviewed journal article and how do I find one?

Last updated on May 27, 2021    research databases

A peer-reviewed article has undergone a review process by experts in the field prior to being published. To find peer-reviewed articles, search in a library database. You can limit your search results to peer-reviewed, scholarly, or academic articles. Select a subject-specific database from Library tab of the portal, or from our databases A-Z page. You could also search many databases at once using DiscoverDeWitt

Confused? Ask a Librarian for help!

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How do I renew my book(s)?

Last updated on Aug 01, 2022    policies

You can renew from the Library Card link in DiscoverDeWitt by clicking on your name in the upper right then Library Card after you've signed in.
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