Student: Hi, um…, I really hope you can help me.
Librarian: That’s why I’m here. What can I do for you?
Student: I’m supposed to do a literature review for my psychology course, but um… having a hard time finding articles. I don’t even know where to start looking.
Librarian: You said this is for your psychology course, right? So your focus is on …
Student: Dream Interpretation.
Librarian: Well, you have a focus, so that’s already a good start. Hmmm… well, there’re a few things… oh wait… have you checked to see if your professor put any material for you to look at on reserve?
Student: Aha, that’s one thing I did know to do. I just copied an article, but I still need three more on my topic from three different journals.
Librarian: Let’s get you going on looking for those then. We have printed versions of twenty or so psychology journals in the Reference Section. These are the ones published within the last year. Then I think about it… there’s a journal named Sleep and Dream.
Student: Oh, yeah, the article I just copied is from that journal, so I’ve got to look at other sources.
Librarian: Ok, actually, most of our materials are available electronically now. You can access psychology databases or electronic journals and articles through the library’s computers, and if you want to search by title with the word ‘dream’ for example, just type it in and all the articles with ‘dream’ in the title will come up on the screen.
Student: Cool, that’s great! Too bad I cannot do this from home.
Librarian: But you can. All of the library's databases and electronic sources can be accessed through any computer connected to the university network.
Student: Really, I can’t believe I didn’t know that. It still sounds like it’s going to take a while though, you know, going through all of that information, all of those sources.
Librarian: Maybe, but you already narrow your search down to articles on Dream Interpretation, so it shouldn’t be too bad. And you probably notice that there’s an abstract or summary at the top of the first page of the article you copied. When you go into the databases and electronic sources, you have the option to display the abstracts on the computer screen, skimming those to decide whether or not you want to read the whole article should cut down some time.
Student: Right, abstracts! They’ll definitely make the project more doable. I guess I should try out the electronic search while I’m still here then, you know, just in case.
Librarian: Sure, er… that computer’s free over there, and I’ll be here till five this afternoon.
Student: Thanks, I feel a lot better about this assignment now.