Your local library (Milestone 4)

Have you taken full advantage of Pitt’s electronic resources? They are so abundant as to be overwhelming. I know Snyder says that we must make use of a library’s print collection as well, but there is so much informationy goodness (yes, I said informationy) that you really ought to take a look around. When I worked at the Hillman Library reference desk (2000) we were already referring people to online resources quite frequently- I can only imagine it is much more so now.

The University of Pittsburgh Library System Home Page offers up a variety of searching options.

The “Find” search box with the “Zoom” button is the ULS’ “Federated Search.” It literally indexes every electronic resource the ULS has access to and returns the results to you. The amount of effort involved in this is pretty amazing, as many online databases use proprietary methods for displaying results- the result can sometimes be muddled, but if you drill down a bit it can be quite rewarding.

Have I mentioned that Pitt has one of the largest collections of online resources in the US? This includes the famous Lexus-Nexus to the some incredibly obscure web resources like The Pennsylvania gazette 1728-1800

You can also scan through the Databases A-Z list if you know the name of the database you’re looking for. Usually the names have something to do with the subject you are interested in so browsing can be useful.

Browsing Databases by Subject can help you narrow down your search in a matter of seconds.

I should also note that Pittcat, the ULS Library Catalog contains information about all of the ULS’ electronic as well as print resources.

The ULS Digital Research Library and other digital initiatives are working to digitize and collect information from the University community as well as local historical data, pre-print articles and a LOT of other interesting stuff. Stephen Foster’s Sketchbook, for example.

Finally, it should be noted that these resources are not available to the public, and thus you must use Pitt’s SSLVPN service to access them from home. Also, do not hesitate to bring your questions and problems to the various reference desks around the ULS- the public services staff are very smart, very thorough, and really good at their jobs.

Full disclosure: I work for the ULS.

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