Welcome to your virtual college experience! Everything is online and conveniently at the click of your fingers. You took the student orientation, can navigate your courses and contact your professors. You, however, have a research paper due, and you feel lost.
Navigating a virtual library can be daunting. Asking for help isn’t as simple as raising your hand. Guess what, you’re not alone. In fact, OU’s College of Professional and Continuing Studies has its very own librarian. Her name is Cheryl McCain, and she’s here to help!
Recently, we interviewed Cheryl to walk our faculty, staff and students through the library and research process. She informed us of the two most important resources available to students, including the “Liberal Studies” guide, located at guides.ou.edu/CLS. Next to the guide, Cheryl herself is the most important asset available to our students during their academic career.
Our Own Librarian
From 2008 to 2014, Cheryl taught LSTD 3953, Study in Depth Prospectus, for PACS. She discovered that most of her students were unaware of many library services and resources. Being a librarian, Cheryl was able to offer her students library instruction and help them with class research. She expanded her role, however, now acting as a contact specifically for the college.
Having a dedicated librarian is a tremendous resource for the college, because finding quality resources takes time and can be a frustrating process if you don’t know where to start. Cheryl has found that off-campus faculty and students have fewer learning opportunities about the library’s services and resources, as well as website navigation. As someone who is aware of the college’s courses, degree programs, faculty and students, she serves as PACS' liaison to assist with research questions.
As an extension of her role and support to PACS, Cheryl created a guide to help assist the faculty, staff and students with library services.
We’re going to walk you through the Liberal Studies guide.
Walking Through the Liberal Studies Guide
To get started, focus your attention on the “How to set up your My Library page” tab. Here, you’ll find instructions on how to personalize your “My Library” page. After watching the video, it’s time to move on to your own!
Navigate to the library’s home page by clicking on either the OU Libraries link or logo at the top of the guide.
Log in to the library’s website using your OU 4×4 and OU password. Once you’ve logged in, select the “My Library” button and personalize your research by adding up to five databases and/or research guides for quick referencing. Be sure to add the Liberal Studies guide!
Finding Books and E-Books
This tab on the Liberal Studies guide includes the step-by-step instructions for finding a book in the online Catalog and requesting that it be mailed to your home. If you only need one chapter from a book, you can use the library’s Sooner Xpress service to request that it be scanned and emailed to you. The Catalog offers a “Virtual Browse” feature, where you can see other materials on either side of the library stacks.
This tab on the Liberal Studies guide offers recommendations for several databases to use when you need to find scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles. It also includes step-by-step instructions on how to use the library’s Click for Full Text feature. Cheryl recommends that you do NOT limit database searches to full-text only because the full-text of an article is often available through a different database, and the Click for Full Text link will lead you to the full-text wherever it is. If an article you found in a database is not available online through the library, Click for Full Text includes a link to request the article through “Interlibrary Loan.”
Faculty, staff and students can always call or email Cheryl. Her contact information is (405) 325-1842, or CLMCCAIN@OU.EDU. The other librarians are also happy to help you as well. Please visit the libraries’ homepage for more information.