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Answers to students' questions

Oct 15, 2010

A few days ago, I asked GSLIS students, "What lingering questions do you have about using the UIUC library and its resources?" and several students replied.  Below are answers to your questions.  (A few students who asked very specific questions regarding particular assignments were answered individually.)



Q:  How do LEEP students get a copy of an article from a journal that the Library has only in print?

A:  Consult this handy LibGuide:  Under the "Get Articles" tab, you'll find step-by-step instructions for placing your request via the library's DocExpress service.  The article will be supplied to you as a scanned electronic file.  Remember to follow the directions exactly and identify yourself as an Academic Outreach student.


Q:  I couldn't find the LIS databases (Library Lit, LISA, etc.).  Eventually I found them but I don't remember how; are their links together somewhere?

A:  Yes, on the LIS Virtual Library home page:  See the left-hand column for links to individual databases.  And don't overlook the LIS Easy Search, which searches several databases simultaneously.


Q:  What's the best way to find book reviews (as in Booklist, School Library Journal, and so on)? 

A:   There's an entire LibGuide devoted to this topic (thanks, Reference Dept!):  There's also a page on the Reference Department's website with additional suggested sources for reviews:  And for children's and young adult books, you'll find a few more ideas in our LibGuide for LIS404:


Q:  How is WorldCat different from the library catalog? Do they fit together?

A:  Hang on, this one gets complicated...  The University of Illinois' online catalog includes only materials held at the UIUC, while WorldCat is a mega-catalog of records generated by libraries around the globe (including UIUC).  Occupying a middle ground is the I-Share catalog of academic libraries in Illinois (also including UIUC).  All of these catalogs can be used to identify materials in the UI collections. 

The UIUC online catalog  and the I-Share catalog differ from WorldCat in two important ways.  First, they display the locations and call numbers of individual copies.  Second, they offer online services for affiliated library users.  For instance, as a UIUC student, you can use the "my account" feature to help you keep track of checked-out books, renew them online, and request books for delivery to a nearby UIUC or I-Share member library.  LEEP students can use the UI catalog (through its classic interface) to request home delivery of books.  And the UI online catalog also has a special search function for course reserves. 

WorldCat, I-Share, and the UI catalog, do fit together, but not perfectly.  If you connect to WorldCat through the UI subscription (, you can link out from a record in WorldCat to the UI online catalog by clicking on the link in the record, "Search the catalog at the Library of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."  The opposite is not true.  From the UI catalog you can't link out to WorldCat.  But you can link to I-Share, by clicking on the link, "Repeat search in the I-Share catalog?"

There's also an open access version of WorldCat ( that allows you to search the database, retrieve a brief record for a book, discover libraries near you that own it, and link out to those libraries' online catalogs.

       Opac IShare Worldcat nested


Q:  How can I search just for full text journal articles if I do not know the name of the journal, especially if I am looking for articles that are not likely to be relevant to the field of LIS?

A:  To identify articles on a particular topic or by a particular author, without knowing in which journal they appear, requires the use of a journal index or a search engine like Google Scholar.   You can learn which indexes apply to which non-LIS fields in various ways:

Within most databases, you can either limit your search to full-text only at the start of your search, or you can filter for full-text only after you retrieve a set of citations.  However, this isn't always the most effective search strategy.  That's because the UI's Discover buttons Discover button often link you to full text articles within our vast electronic collections, even when the particular database you're searching doesn't contain full-text.  

Do you have a different question?  Email us at