Ask a Librarian

Find what you need in our searchable FAQ.

What remote services are available from the library?

Last updated on Jul 26, 2021    policies research

The Library is open online 24/7! 

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 campus 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.

Students may apply to the Foundation's Lights for Learning Program for emergency funding to purchase textbooks.

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

The library is open limited hours. Consult our Library Hours Calendar before you visit. All visitors and students must go through Public Safety in Hasbrouck for to check in and complete a mandatory health screenin and obtain a daily wristband.

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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.

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.

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

Last updated on Jun 01, 2021    policies

A library hold on your student account can be removed in two ways. You can return any library materials that you have checked out or 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 literature?

Last updated on May 27, 2021    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 make an appointment with a librarian?

Last updated on Nov 11, 2020    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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Can I connect my Google Scholar account to the library's resources?

Last updated on Mar 19, 2021    research interlibrary loan

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

Last updated on Mar 02, 2021    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 or chat.
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How do I request a book or full text of an article the library does not have?

Last updated on Mar 19, 2021    research interlibrary loan

Sometimes when searching in library databases, you may come across articles that you are interested in but the library does not provide 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."

If you are unable to find a book in the Library Catalog of DiscoverDeWitt, switch the drop down to to the SUNY Catalog to search the physical materials available by request from libraries int he 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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What is a primary source and what is a secondary source?

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020    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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I need help in the writing process. Who can help me?

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

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020    SUNY Ulster Student Portal databases

A library database is an online, searchable collection of resources like academic journals, popular and trade magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias and books. The Macdonald DeWitt subscribes to nearly 100 different databases. DiscoverDeWitt is a discovery tool that pulls all of our library database content into a single search. 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 grouped by subject and alphabetically on the Library Resources page of the Portal. Only current students, faculty and staff are able to access the library's databases from off-campus. On-campus users are able to access the databases using the portal links or our links on the library page SUNY Ulster website.
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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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What is OER and how do I find appropriate resources for my course?

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020    textbooks oer

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 can I view recordings of events on campus like the Reuner Library Writers Series and the Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum?

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020   

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

‚ÄčThe also library has a small collection of DVDs of recorded campus events that may be borrowed.

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How do I save an article from a library database so I can refer to it later?

Last updated on Nov 11, 2020    databases research

You have several options for saving your research. The exact method depends on which database you are using. In DiscoverDeWitt, 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 you computer, add to Google Drive and Email. If you prefer to use the URL, make sure you use the Permalink button to display the URL that will lead you back to the record. 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, you can copy the URL in your browser to return to the resource. You also have a Download PDF or Share button that allows for saving to your computer, drive or email.

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 get, and accounts?

Last updated on Aug 06, 2020    Newspapers - 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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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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How do I search beyond Macdonald DeWitt Library's collections?

Last updated on Mar 19, 2021    research interlibrary loan

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

DiscoverDeWitt Expand My Results: Use the Expand My Results checkbox in DiscoverDeWitt to see results from sources outside of what the library owns or subscribes to. Then use the "Request from a different institution" button 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 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. Checking the "Full Text Only" box will eliminate these resources from your search results.

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What is a peer-reviewed journal article and how do I find one?

Last updated on May 27, 2021    databases research

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 May 27, 2021    policies

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