We’ve almost finished another school year! For most students, the summer is a break. For others, it’s a chance to get a few more classes in before next year. But regardless, what you’ve learned this year isn’t going to be forgotten. You’ll build on it in the years and classes ahead.
Some of that is abstract, like learning the mindset of your chosen field, or its jargon. But some of it is more concrete. Probably, at some point, you’ll have a project that would benefit from work you’ve done before. A paper that follows up on something you researched for a previous class, or a presentation that would benefit from using some of the same sources. You’ll definitely want to be able to retrieve this material quickly, without having to start over from scratch.
Many library resources are designed to help you do just that. Lots of databases allow you to create accounts so you can save articles and whole searches to peruse later. For example, in EBSCO databases like Academic Search Premier, the link is on the red bar at the top of the screen. In ProQuest Databases, the link is called ‘My Research’, and is also at the top of the screen. In JSTOR, the button is labeled ‘Login’ and is on the right. The exact location and name of the link may look a little different, but most databases give you access to a tool like this.
Of course, our main doorway to research in the library are LibGuides that have been custom-made to suit the needs of individual classes. And these remain a powerful tool for you to revisit in later classes. Some LibGuides are preserved whole, with links to all the same great information, organized in the same way. Other classes change a lot from year to year and professor to professor – particularly basic classes like First Year Seminar. So LibGuides for these classes have an archive of information particular to past semesters, preserving the material you needed in a convenient place.
And you can maintain your own repository of useful information – retain the articles you downloaded or the bibliographies you made for your projects this year rather than deleting them, particularly in classes for your major. After all, who knows what will be useful to you next year, or the next?
If you have any questions, be sure to ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org!