Tag Archives: Tip Jar

Tip Jar Post #22 – Get a Job at the Libraries

So you’ve come back to campus only to find that the coffee shops have already hired all their baristas, teaching assistants have been assigned to classes, and all of the tutoring positions have been filled?  Don’t worry, there’s a perfect job waiting for you in one of the UT Libraries!

Student jobs in one of our 12 libraries on campus could be anything from shelving books, helping students with technology issues, checking out materials, or keeping students safe from vampires. Oops. Wrong library.

But still, the UT Libraries are a great place to work.  You can get your homework done while simultaneously memorizing every book, CD, or DVD that the library owns. You can also wow your friends by being the first to find their course books in the PCL stacks!

Go ahead! Fill out an application and come work with us!

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Tip Jar Post #21: Traveling Back in Time with Historical Newspapers


You’ve probably seen the scenario played out tons of times in movies, cartoons, comic books or plays: someone with a hunch is hot on the trail of a mysterious lead and needs to confirm her suspicions. She treks over to the town library or archive and proceeds to pour through dozens of dusty papers dating back decades. Finally, after hours of digging (and sneezing) success! She’s found the original newspaper article that proves her hunch was right.

But what if you aren’t filming for a movie and don’t have a month to dig for the research? Not a worry — you can find a number of historical and archival newspaper sources available as digital copies from a few of the UT Libraries’ Historical Newspapers databases.

We’ve got almost twenty different types of historical newspaper databases to choose from, and depending on your research need, you’ll find they offer different types and scopes of coverage.  If you are looking for a newspaper that shows the entire paper of the newspaper as it was when it was published from the mid-1880s until about 20 years ago, try checking out any of the ProQuest Historical Databases: The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

You can limit your searches to particular dates, types of articles (obituaries, reviews, front page articles), and email yourself the entire PDF of the article as appeared when it was first published.

Check out the entire video below for more information:

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Tip Jar Post #20: Library Reserves Means Your Research Is Waiting For You


Sometimes your professors make life easier for you by setting aside popular, expensive, or rare resources that are part of your required reading for class.  Instead of having you and your classmates fight over politely share those resources, they are put onreserve. This just means that you can pick up the book or other required resource behind the check-out desk at any of the UT Libraries.  You’ll either need the professor’s name or the call number of the resource.

One thing to note:
As you’ll see in the below video, this also means that the length of time that you have to keep it checked out is less than the normal 28 days for books. So just keep that in mind when you go in to check out that book or article.

Check out this short video on how to find whatever reserves you need, no matter where you are:

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Tip Jar Post #19: Find Your Research Niche – Researching By Subject

With so many places to find information, sometimes the hardest part is starting your research. Before you let your frustration get the better of you and you decide to start training acrobatic cats, check out the library’s Research by Subject pages.

Each page is compiled by that area’s subject specialist and notes top library databases to find scholarly journal articles and periodicals. Some pages include additional information, such as helpful search tips, relevant organizations or authoritative websites. Each subject guide also lists the specialist’s contact information, so if you need in-depth, one-on-one help, you can contact a librarian from that page, too.

If you don’t have a subject in mind, but you have been asked to find a particular type of resource, you can view an entire list of different materials and accompanying places where you’ll find them on our resource by type page. For instance, if you need to find a primary resource from a newspaper, you might check out our collection of historical newspapers which offers digitized and searchable newspapers.

During your research, you will likely discover that we have twelve libraries on campus devoted to different disciplines and subjects. While you can visit and study at any of the libraries on campus, regardless of your major, you might find visiting a particular library (either in person or virtually) helpful for finding more information on your topic!

Check out the video below for a super quick tour of where to find all of these amazing resources.

Additional Resources:

Tip Jar Post #18: You + Me = Peer Review

You’re in college now and there’s an expectation to make good use of the all of the resources you have available to you. One of the main types of resources you’ll find professors ask you to use are peer-reviewed articles. Peer-reviewed articles, also called refereed articles, are those articles that are published within academic journals after they’ve been rigorously reviewed by other scholars in the same field. The idea behind the peer-review process is to bring experts in a particular field together to enter into a critical dialogue by analyzing the content, theories and research of each other’s articles. This dialogue is then used as a spring board to build new ideas and conversations.

If you’ve ever watched a contestant get reviewed by panelists on Top Chef, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol or Project Runway, you’ve seen a peer-review in progress!  Check out this video to find out more:

So why use a peer-reviewed journal?  Because you’re writing as a new scholar in the field, your professors want you to enter into the dialogue of the literature of that field and peer-reviewed journal articles are the best place to find that conversation happening — outside of class, of course.

Okay, now that you know what they are and why you would use them, where can you find them? More often than not, scholarly journals are available only by subscription, much like any other magazine you might pick up at the convenience store. Since academic journals can be expensive, the Libraries subscribe to those articles for you and you can access most of our journals online through our library databases. Search for your topic using specific keywords and you’ll soon immerse yourself in a world of scholarship. Alternately, you can access many peer-reviewed articles via Google Scholar, too!

Further Resources:

Find Articles Using Databases

Google Scholar

Popular vs. Scholar vs. Trade


Tip Jar Post #17: Meet Database, Your New Best Friend

You’ve been Googling for hours, trying different combinations of search terms, skimming through hundreds of web pages, even going so far as to buy a book on Amazon that sounds like it might have something remotely about your topic. But you sense that you’re missing something from your research. And you are: library databases!

Think of library databases like miniature Googles (not goggles) for specific areas of study. The UT Libraries pays for access to these fancy databases which contain articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals, and more.  It’s basically all the stuff that you wouldn’t be able to find for free out there on regular webpages. Since you’re a student at UT, your tuition dollars pay for these articles already — so if you’re asked to pay for something, put your wallet away and don’t pay twice!

So what’st the big deal — why use one? Well, these databases will provide you a one-stop-shop for finding a lot of the research you’ll need for your papers, whether it’s magazine articles, newspaper from the 1800s, or scholarly research. Librarians have carefully cultivated a list of databases that we think will cover many of the areas of research you’re looking for, including tips and tricks on how to use specific databases.

Of course, you can always use Google Scholar to find articles you’ll need, but sometimes using a subject-specific database allows you to get even more specific with the types of information you’re looking for.

More resources:

Tip Jar Post #16: Study Spaces, the Visual Guide

When it comes to getting your work done, it can be hard to focus without the right environment, however you define it in your mind (ahem, your roommate’s laundry in the basket, not strewn about the floor). But, enough about right and wrong, what about where to go when you need to get your work done? How about the libraries?

From group study spaces  to solo study carrels to media-enabled presentation rooms, the UT Libraries opens its doors to you to find the most comfortable space to be productive.

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Tip Jar Post #15: Save Money @ The Libraries

two students talk outside on the blacktop about ways the libraries can save them money
Getting a degree is expensive and with all the delights that Austin has to offer, it can be hard to manage your bank account without going into the red. Why not let the Libraries help save you a few dollars? Here’s a few ways we can help:
  • Of course, you can always check out books instead of buying them, but the Libraries also offer items like calculators, cameras, and other equipment that you can borrow. You can even check out the latest CDs and DVDs to host your own dance party or movie screening in your dorm room.
  • We know it can sometimes be a hassle to figure out what the library does or doesn’t have, so installing the LibX add-on will let you know what’s available from the libraries wherever you’re searching on the web from Amazon.com to Google Scholar to Wikipedia.
  • And if you’ve skipped on buying a printer for college, you can always come to the Libraries to print or copy or scan something to send to yourself for free.
  • Perhaps you’re already preparing for the next step in your career by applying for a graduate school. Need to brush up on the entrance exams, but don’t want to spend the cash? Use the Testing and Education Reference Center database to prepare for the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT and more.
If you’re curious about other ways the libraries can keep help, please make sure to ask! We were once in college too, so we feel you!
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Tip Jar Post #14: Preparing for Graduate School Tests

Two students talk are in a pub talking over how they need to practice for graduate school exams

Graduation is just a few short weeks away and after that — freedom! Or not. Maybe you already have your heart set on getting another diploma or want to test the waters to see what skills are “must-haves” for a certain profession. Whatever path you’re embarking upon, it’s likely the libraries have preparation software and materials that can enable your path to success.

The Testing and Education Resource Center is a robust resource that includes practice tests for the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT just to name a few. Each test is accompanied by an electronic prep book with detailed answer explanations for every question and tips and tricks to use your testing time efficiently. You’ll just need to create a free username and password to keep track of your private results!

The following video shares more hints for getting the most out of this resource:

More resources:
Prefer to use a different electronic or print book for your test prep needs? Search the library catalog for the full title of the test (for example, GRE would be Graduate Record Examination) plus “study guide”.  Here are a few links to some of the more popular prep books:

Tip Jar Post #13: Get That Bibliography Done Fast!

We all know the feeling. You’re exhausted, you’ve just written the final sentence of your paper and feelings of relief and accomplishment take over you. Then, you get the sinking feeling you’re forgetting something. You are: your bibliography!

But, don’t let your bibliography get you down, man. Put away that sixth energy drink for next week and instead use a citation manager that’ll help take the guesswork and stress out of creating a list of cited sources. We have more than a few to choose from depending on the type of research you’re conducting.  This means easily citing traditional resources such as books and journal articles, as well as websites, images, interviews, videos and more. Each of the citation tools offer the standard citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian); one or more even offer integration with Microsoft Word or other word processing software. And best of all, most of them are free.


  • Choose the best citation manager for your project, using the grid that compares different citation tools. That way, you don’t get bogged down trying to learn a new tool if you don’t need to!
  • Make sure you know what citation style your professor wants before starting your bibliography. While many will let you change halfway through, who wants to spend extra time on formatting if you can be napping?

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