Accessing Library Materials

Checking out books
In order to check out books from the library, you must have a USCB ID card. ID cards are issued on both campuses:

  • Beaufort Campus: IDs are issued the Library, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm
  • Bluffton Campus: IDs are issued in the IT office (located in the Library), Monday through Friday, 9-11am and 1-3pm.
USCB Network Username & Password
Your USCB Network Username and Password are required for logging onto PCs in the Library and the computer labs, accessing Blackboard and University Email, and to access library resources from off-campus.

To find your Username and Password, go to and choose Manage My Account.

Accessing Electronic Resources from Off-campus
Electronic resources are available from off-campus through the library proxy. When you attempt to access materials from the library web pages from off-campus, you will be prompted for your network username and password. This username and password is the same as what you would use to log in to Blackboard, University Email, and to log on to PCs in the library.
Your Library Account
Library users can monitor their account through the library catalog, Find It @ USCB Library . Use the Sign in option at the top right of the page. From here, users can see a listing of all items currently checked out of the library, renew materials already checked out, and create preferred searches.

Beginning the Research Process

The very first step in doing research or searching for information is to have a plan. And, the first step in developing a plan is identifying or defining the problem or issue or task that you are about to engage. Having a clear understanding of what you are studying will make your work focused and productive.

The normal rule in research is to move from the general to the specific.

Begin by reading and reviewing your topic in an encyclopedia. Look also at specialized encyclopedias, handbooks and dictionaries in the subject area – many fields use terminology in their own way, and understanding the jargon will help you as you pursue your research. Write down the terms that seem to fit your interest, paying attention to names, theories or studies, synonyms, and other relevant vocabulary terms – you will use these for searching various resources.

It is okay to “Google” a topic – this can help you see the scope of what you are interested in and can also help in selecting search terms to use when you move to the library online catalog and databases.

Search strategy:

  1. Use the terms you have selected as “keyword” search terms in the library’s Online Catalog. Search the Beaufort Campuses libraries first, and remember that books may be located on either campus.
  2. Journal articles – use the same keyword search terms to search the library’s online databases to find articles about your topic. Remember that there are different types of journals – popular and scholarly – and most academic work will require you to use scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles.

Note: There are well over 100 periodical databases – ask for help from a librarian if you can’t decide which online database will cover your topic area.

Once you have gathered the books, articles and other resources necessary to begin composing your assignment, be sure to keep a listing of all the sources you are using. You will need the information about sources to cite them in your footnotes or endnotes and bibliography.

Locating Print Materials

Using the Library Catalog

The library catalog holds records of all materials provided by the Library and will provide information pertaining to the location, status, and description of the material. Advanced Searches for library materials can be performed in a number of ways:

  • Keyword
  • Advanced Keyword
  • Title
  • Author
  • Subject
  • Call Number

When searching our catalog for materials held at USC Beaufort libraries, be sure to pay attention to the campus locations: USCB Beaufort vs. USCB Bluffton.

Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is an arrangement libraries have with each other to share books and other resources. No single library can meet all the needs of its users, so libraries agree to share for the benefit of all.

PASCAL – Delivers is a similar service. Many libraries in South Carolina have agreed to share their collections, and you have direct access to borrowing materials as you search the online catalogs. PASCAL is an acronym for “Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries.”

If, after searching USCB’s resources, you cannot find what you are looking for, this is the time to use ILL or PASCAL – Delivers.

Details on using these two services are shown below.
Interlibrary Loan: On the USCB Library home page, under “Services”, you will find the Interlibrary Loan link. To use Interlibrary Loan, you must “register” – you only need to do this once.

Details: To request an item through regular interlibrary loan (ILL Express), click the “Interlibrary Loan” link on the left-side menu of the USCB library webpage. This takes you to the ILL Express general information page. If you already have an account, simply logon; otherwise, select “register”. On the next page, you must fill out all your personal information, but you only have to do this once. You must select a Username and a Password; these are both case sensitive. After this page is done, you are taken to the general request page. Here, you select the item you want, e.g., a book, a photocopy (of an article), book chapter, etc. If the item is in the USC system, turn around time is generally within 72 hours. If you select electronic delivery of an article or book chapter (receive a PDF of your article on your computer), receipt can be very fast. When the item arrives, you will be notified by phone or the e-mail address you have provided in your ILL Express registration. The advantage of this ILL method is that it is mediated, meaning librarian-assisted. At any time, the ILL Librarian can let you know the status of your request.

Books borrowed this way are loaned to you for three weeks, plus one two-week renewal, if needed. Renewals can be made within the 4 days prior to the due date.

Warning: ILL books must travel from whichever library they are located in – this takes time, so plan accordingly.

PASCAL – Delivers. PASCAL is an acronym for “Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries.” Many libraries in South Carolina have agreed to share their collections, and you have direct access to borrowing materials as you search the online catalogs.

Details: The request form will prompt you to select which campus you want the item delivered to (USCB Beaufort or USCB Bluffton). When the item comes in, you will be notified via your University e-mail account. PASCAL delivers items using a fast courier service; shipment is normally within 72 hours. When the item arrives, you will be notified by your University e-mail account. The service is easy to use and books can be received very quickly. Once you have placed your request, no details about it are available until it actually arrives on campus.

Books borrowed this way are for six weeks, no renewals.

Library of Congress System of Classification
All library classification schemes have a similar purpose – putting books that are similar near one another on library shelves. In higher education, most universities use the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System.  An outline of this system is below – you can look at each category in detail by clicking on the area.
“Why” know this? As you move forward in your academic career, you will learn where materials are that cover your subject interests.  For psychologists, most books are in BF, but psychiatry books are in RC. Hospitality Management books are in TX, Home Economics – the language of the LC system does not change as rapidly as does current terminology.

The Library of Congress System of Classification is as follows:



Primary and Secondary Resources
Primary Sources
Primary sources are the “materials on a topic upon which subsequent interpretations or studies are based, anything from firsthand documents such as poems, diaries, court records, and interviews to research results generated by experiments, surveys, ethnographies, and so on.”* Primary sources are records of events as they are first described, without any interpretation or commentary. Typically, they are also sets of data, such as census statistics, which have been tabulated, but not interpreted. However, in the sciences or social sciences, primary sources report the results of an experiment.

Secondary Sources
Secondary sources, on the other hand, offer an analysis or a restatement of primary sources. They often attempt to describe or explain primary sources. Some secondary sources not only analyze primary sources, but use them to argue a contention or to persuade the reader to hold a certain opinion. Examples of secondary sources include dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and books and articles that interpret or review research works.



Primary Source

Art Original artwork Article critiquing
the piece of art
History Slave diary Book about the
Underground Railroad
Literature Poem Treatise on a
particular genre of poetry
Treaty Essay on Native
American land rights
Science or
Social Science
Report of an
original experiment
Review of several
studies on the same topic
Theatre Videotape of a
Biography of a

The above information used with permission of the Bowling Green State University Libraries.

*From Hairston, Maxine and John J. Ruszkiewicz. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers. 4th ed. New York : HarperCollins College Publishers, 1996, pg. 547

Journals and Magazines

It is important to know the differences among the various types of journals. Journals are interchangeably called magazines or periodicals or serials – all related terms but they do not have identical meanings.

Scholarly or peer-reviewed or academic journals

A journal of this type is often required by faculty when you do your research. These journals present scholarship, research and new findings or critiques in a particular discipline, done by experts. Other experts judge an article or finding before it is published – peer-reviewed – so that a certain level of quality and credibility is maintained and the reader has an expectation that the author is knowledgeable in her/his field.

Trade journals

These journals or magazines are usually issued by an association or industry to a targeted audience. They are normally specific to the business and include pieces on best practices and association business. They often include a lot of advertising that targets the specific subject of the journal.


A magazine is normally written for a general audience (Time, Newsweek, etc.) and includes opinion pieces or articles on current interests. Normally, articles in magazines are not peer-reviewed and the level of the authors’ expertise varies greatly. Magazines are usually done in an attractive format with accompanying photos and advertising.

Indexes, Abstracts, and Full-text Databases
In order to find information related to your topic in periodicals (also called magazines or journals) or newspapers, you will need to use a database.

An index usually lists the authors, titles or subjects of publications without comment. Abstracts also list this information, along with a brief summary of content. Full-text databases list similar information and also provide the content in full, in a variety of formats (PDF, HTML, etc.)

Databases are usually “hybrid” in that they cover an array of journals, periodicals, newspaper, reports, etc. by using all three methods. An excellent example of this is the general database Academic Search Premier which covers over 8,000 publications in most undergraduate subject areas.

For a complete list of databases available to you, go to the Library’s web site, under Sources and look at the section entitled Article Databases and Indexes for an alphabetical list and a subject list.

Search Basics

Almost all databases provide for simple, keyword searching. The terms that you have been writing down while you have been reading about your topic can now be used for searching.

It is important to note that most databases have their own vocabulary, a thesaurus, which it uses to describe various articles. Using the vocabulary of the database can increase your efficiency and recall.

An example: In searching Academic Search Premier for information on “Afghanistan society,” a keyword search results in getting 3 “hits.” However, a search using Afghanistan and Social classes results in 5 “hits” and searching Afghanistan and Tribes gets you 86 “hits.”

Search tip: When searching, if you find a relevant article, click on the record and look at the subject terms and geographic terms used by the database. Then, re-do your search using the databases terms to increase your efficiency and recall.

Subject Research Guides
The subject research guides available from the library website are intended to assist students in locating appropriate sources for beginning their library research assignments. These guides are organized by specific discipline; for each discipline, there is a corresponding page that lists the resources best suited to courses in that particular area of study. Both electronic resources and print resources are listed and therefore it may be necessary to visit the library to view certain materials included in these subject guides.

Evaluating Sources


It is helpful to know that sources to be used in support of course work and research cover different time periods and that “up-to-date” is a relative concept.

The timeliness continuum, from present to past, is as follows:

Blogs – current discussions, postings, opinions, etc. posted to the world-wide web. Blogs need to be evaluated based on who is doing them and their academic utility.

Newspapers – a publication, issued periodically (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) containing recent news.

Magazines – a publication issued periodically that contains articles, stories, opinion pieces, photographs and advertisements.


Trade journals – issued periodically, often issued by an association, generally containing reports and articles and targeted advertising in a particular profession or industry.

Academic journals – a periodical, often issued by a society or institution, containing proceedings, transactions, reports, substantial articles and reviews of publications in a scholarly or scientific field. These are often referred to as peer-reviewed journals.

Books – a set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers. Books can take from six months (very fast) to several years (scholarly books) to create and publish.

Archives – historical records, including primary and secondary sources.

Evaluating Web Sources
Because anyone with a little computer knowledge and access to a server can create a Web page, it’s more important than ever to evaluate Web sites, especially if you want to incorporate information from a Web site into a paper or some other type of scholarly work. The quality of your work depends on the quality of information you use.

Evaluate Web sites by asking yourself the following questions:


Who is the author? Are his or her credentials stated? How knowledgeable is he or she?
Who is the sponsor of the site? Is there an organization affiliated with the site or its author? Can you find out more about their purposes and intent?
Hints: examine the URL – is it .org? .com? .edu?; go up a few levels to learn more about the host organization.


What is the scope of this resource?
Is the material error free (typos, spelling, grammar, etc.)?
Are the sources for factual information in the material clearly identified? Can you verify them?
Is any bias present?
To what extent is the material meant to persuade? Is this clearly stated?
Is the page an advertisement or some other kind of promotional material?
Would any surrounding advertising influence the material’s contents or results? Is the advertising clearly separate from the resource contents?
Who is the intended audience?


When was the site last updated?
Does it rely on the most current available information? If not, is the reason clearly stated and justified?

The above used with permission of the Bowling Green State University Libraries.

Academic Integrity

Ethics of Academic Research

Ethics are moral principles that guide behavior; in an academic environment, these moral principles expand to become the standard rules of scholarly conduct. Academic ethics involves such concepts as intellectual property, copyright, fair use, plagiarism, censorship, freedom of speech, and the use of proprietary and non-proprietary resources. These concepts are explained below; to learn how members of the University of South Carolina Beaufort academic community are expected to follow these standards of conduct, please read and understand the Student Handbook.

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind. There are laws established to protect intellectual property; these laws, called copyright laws, protect both the creator of the property and public access to the property, as well as to promote the growth of knowledge and innovation by providing creators with rights to (and, therefore, incentives to create) their works. [1]

Copyrighted materials include:

  • literary, artistic and scientific works
  • performances of performing artists, phonograms, and broadcasts
  • inventions in all fields of human endeavor
  • scientific discoveries
  • industrial designs
  • trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations
  • protection against unfair competition
  • all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary, or artistic fields.[2]

Copyright laws limit reproduction and distribution of a creator’s work.

The parameters of reproduction include representing someone else’s ideas, words, or data as one’s own work. This form of reproduction is considered plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit to the creator
  • failing to cite a source of information
  • failing to use quotation marks to indicate a quotation
[1] The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization

Citing Sources


transitive verb : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own use (another’s production) without crediting the source;

intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.


In education, we take learning seriously, and one of the hallmarks of education is academic honesty. Using the work of someone else is called plagiarism– a kind of intellectual theft– and is an academic offense important enough to be listed as part of USCB’s “Academic Code of Conduct” in the Student Handbook 08/09. (Note: For further explanation of plagiarism, go to http:// )

There are several ways to cite sources – called style manuals – and your faculty will let you know which one to use for your assignments.

Listed here are the most-used style manuals, copies of which can be found in the campus libraries.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)

Chicago Manual of Style

Turabian, Kate. L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations