Guide to Electronic Resources

The nature of information retrieval has changed radically in recent years. Library research has evolved into an endeavor that combines the use of traditional paper sources (indexes, abstracts, etc.) with modern electronic sources (CD-ROM indexes, online databases, and the Internet). It is now essential for library users to be familiar with both sets of tools. This guide is meant as a first step in introducing patrons to the different electronic tools available at Sprague Library.


Library users can retrieve bibliographic information on the Library's holdings; including books, government documents, periodicals and multimedia from the Sprague Library Catalog, our web catalog. Workstations for searching the web catalog are located throughout the Library.


Many reference sources are now available on the Internet. The Library Home Page provides links to a variety of them. Our online catalog, as well as other library catalogs, specialized web sites (Business, Education, Health, and Law) and general reference sources available on the Internet (e.g., dictionaries, directories, and phonebooks) are hotlinked to the Home Page. General information on library hours, phone numbers, etc. is also obtainable from the Home Page. Students can log into our Home Page and any other location on the Internet from the computer labs on campus, public workstations in the Library or from a remote site.

In addition to Internet resources, patrons on-campus can access a variety of subscription databases from the Library Home Page. These include general periodical indexes (that include some full-text) like Infotrac and Ebsco Academic Search Premier, as well as full-text periodical archives such as JSTOR. Subject-oriented databases (that include some full-text) like ABI/INFORM (Business) and PSYCINFO (Psychology) can also be used. Government databases available include the Catalog of U.S. Govt. Publications and STAT-USA (International Trade Statistics and Reports). HRAF (Human Relations Area Files), a specialized resource for anthropology and related fields, is also available via the Home Page.


Patrons can request online searches if they have exhausted all other research tools. The Library currently subscribes to two database services, Dialog and FirstSearch (for searching WorldCat). Dialog offers access to dozens of indexes of every conceivable type. WorldCat (available through FirstSearch) allows you to search for a book at libraries and institutions worldwide. Only faculty and staff are eligible to use these services. Anyone interested in requesting an online search should contact the Reference Department (973-655-4291).


August 2011