Getting Research Help at the University of Alabama Libraries

Getting Research Help at the University of Alabama Libraries


Hi, my name is Jon, I’m a librarian at the University of Alabama. This video is a quick run-down of the research and reference services we provide and how to use the Libraries website to get help when you need it. From the homepage lib.ua.edu, I’m going to quickly show you where to go to find your librarian, ask a question online, schedule a research consultation, find tutorials and find our research guides. Let’s start with contacting a librarian in your subject area directly. The staff directory on the quick menu of the front page will guide you to a list of Libraries staff. Here you can search by department, subject area, or name. For example, if you’re a nursing student, you can use the “liaison area” menu to select “nursing” and you’ll find the subject specialist for that area. You’ll also see the office phone number and email address; don’t hesitate to contact a librarian directly when you need assistance. Our Ask-A-Librarian service functions as both a searchable FAQ and an online reference service. To use it, enter your question in the search bar at the top and click Ask Us. This will search our FAQ and try to find the best answer. For example, this question about interlibrary loan returns a detailed answer with links, directions, and a video tutorial. Let’s try a different question, I’m going to search for “systematic literature review.” In this case, the search returned results that aren’t relevant, so we would want to submit the question directly to a librarian. Use the webform on the right to enter your question, along with your email address, status, and whether you have physical access to campus. A librarian will respond directly via email within 24 hours. You can also send us questions via text message. at 205-377-0920. For in-depth research assistance, you can schedule a research consultation under the Library Help tab. Research consultations are one-on-one meetings with librarians that are individualized to your project or research needs. These sessions are customized to help researchers of all levels improve research skills and get the most from the libraries resources and services. After you fill out the request form and submit it, a librarian will contact you for scheduling. Now let’s cover a few self-directed resources that might be helpful. Under the Library Help tab, you can browse our popular instructional videos and interactive tutorials. These can help you with some basic concepts and also introduce you to some of our search tools and our more popular databases. Going back to the front page, you can locate our “Research Guides” from the quick menu. These are curated, concise, and convenient guides to highlight the best resources we have for a given subject or individual course. Browsing by subject is the fastest way to see what has been made available for your topic. Guides vary, but will generally link you to the best databases and reference materials for your topic, provide guidance on the research process, offer information on accessing subject-specific resources, and include contact information for the librarian responsible for that area. Guides have also been created for many individual courses; you can browse for a specific course using the Courses list, which is organized by course number. At any of the five libraries in our system, you can always ask for help from staff at the information or circulation desks. The current operating hours for each branch are listed on the libraries homepage. Clicking on each branch from this list will pull up a map of the library’s location, detailed info on its operating schedule, contact information, and specific information about the services and resources in that branch. That’s all for now, thanks for watching. If you have any questions, you can call us at 205-348-6047, text us at 205-377-0920, or visit ask.lib.ua.edu to Ask-A-Librarian.

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