Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RSC Library Provides 24/7 Research Assistance

Research assignments are a part of college life. The Rio Salado College and Maricopa County Community College District libraries have developed a network of support options to assist students who may not yet be familiar with college-level research techniques.

“It’s important for students to expand their information literacy,” said RSC Librarian Janelle Underhill. “Rio Salado students have access to over 60 subscription databases containing complete content from thousands of magazines, journals, reference works, e-books, image collections and streaming videos.”

“We want students to be able to use these resources and services with confidence, so we provide as many channels of support as we can,” Underhill said.

Support is available around the clock to help students formulate search strategies, navigate databases, find and effectively use relevant information for papers or other projects.

Several options are available for students who are new to the research process.

Ask a Librarian

The Ask a Librarian service provides students with 24 hour access to a live librarian who can answer questions about online and in-person research tools, provide links to additional information and direct students to the proper resources.

"Rio students don't always have a traditional schedule, so they love that there is a librarian on call 24/7," said Karen Docherty, Rio Salado College librarian. "The chat service is designed to be convenient and easy to use. It doesn't matter if it's six in the morning before they go to work or 11 at night after they get the kids to bed. All that's needed is a computer and Internet access to connect to the service and start chatting with a librarian."

Txt a Librarian

Students on the go can conveniently ask questions by SMS text message. The Txt a Librarian service uses a secure third party program to anonymously connect users with a Maricopa District librarian. To start using Txt a Librarian, students just need to text "RioLib" to 66746.

Online Writing Lab (OWL)

In addition to 24-hour research assistance, students can take advantage of the self-serve Online Writing Lab (OWL) provided in collaboration with the RSC English Department.

The OWL provides students with a wealth of information, tips and tricks to help them write at a college level. The "Writing Rubric" section covers basic elements such as sentence structure, organization and content. Other sections like "General Writing" and "Critical Thinking" cover topics such as evaluating and citing sources, paraphrasing and quoting, as well as more advanced topics like analysis, inference, and reasoning.

How Do I...? Video Series

There are also quite a few video tutorials available in the "How Do I...?" section of the Rio Salado College Library web pages. The tutorials cover everything from basics like logging in or accessing an e-book to using library databases.

"The tutorial videos are a great tool to help students who prefer to do things independently," Underhill said. "They walk the viewer step by step through each process. They are very easy to follow."

In-Class Visits

Many course instructors invite Rio Salado librarians to visit their classes and teach students how to formulate search strategies and to use library databases to find relevant and reliable journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, books, and media (such as images and streaming films).

District Library Services

All MCCCD libraries offer free in-person, phone, Txt a Librarian and Preg├║ntele al Bibliotecario (Chat en Espa├▒ol) services. These services are available to MCCCD students, faculty and staff. To get help from a librarian now, visit