Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sprucing up the stacks

This summer, the library took the time to revamp its stacks with new, colorful subject banners to more easily direct you to the right resources for your specific subject.   Come browse your subject area, or search for your topic in the library’s Catalog, find the call number in the stacks and browse the area for more treasures on your topic. 


All those words worth thinking over

Ever think about why the heck we use the words that we do?  Language evolution and word development can tell fascinating stories about how people have communicated throughout history, and the sometimes shocking arbitrariness of our own vocabulary.  The Oxford English Dictionary, a quintessential reference source for linguistics and English and American literature studies alike, tries to trace a word’s nuanced and gradual changes in meaning over time by going back to the word’s earliest textual usage.  For example, did you know that the often-heard ‘good-bye‘ actually morphed from a much longer ‘God be with you’?

Browse through the OED for some interesting finds that just might pump up your paper or revamp your project.  Search for a word, or have the OED choose a random word for you.  And for a more cleverly written, longer explanation of certain words (including good-bye), try Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus, an online book provided through Credo Reference.  There’s something fascinating in every entry!



As you rush to get the research for that pre-Thansgiving paper together, take a moment to reflect on this:

A 2003 issue of the newsletter CQ Researcher focused on the subject of combating plagiarism in colleges.  It asks the very pertinent question “Is the Internet causing more students to copy?”

It’s certainly easier than ever to access information, ideas, and interesting writing at the click of a button, and yet this particular discussion compares two studies, one from the early 1960s in which more students admitted to plagiarizing than students surveyed in a more recent, post-Internet-era survey.  What’s more, a survey conducted in the early 2000s found that more students admitted to copying “traditional materials” – from journals, books, etc.

While we’ll never catch everyone who plagiarizes, we do know that the price of getting caught, as laid out by the Academic Honesty Policy, makes the risk not even close to worth it: a failing grade, a lengthy academic trial, and a ruined academic reputation are just some of the possibilities in the mix.  Check out the library’s page on avoiding plagiarism for techniques to ensure you’re not making mistakes, purposeful or not.   And read over these quick do’s and don’ts for an academically honest paper:

Don’t discuss or include in your paper an identifiable phrase or an idea that appears in someone else’s work without acknowledging and documenting your source.

Do not use exactly the same sequence of ideas and organization of argument as your source.  Copying ideas, even if you don’t copy the words directly, is plagiarism too!

Always put an author’s exact words inside quotation marks.  Changing only a few words to those with similar meanings in a passage or a sentence does NOT count as paraphrasing.

Always cite the source of anything, be it a single paragraph or an entire book, that you summarize or paraphrase.

Do not use in your paper long sections that have been rewritten by a friend or a tutor.

Never – but never – buy, find, or receive a paper that you turn in as your own work.

Happy (and honest) writing!



Looking to spruce up your research paper with something eye-catching?  Try adding some images!  Artstor is an extensive, searchable index of over 700,000 images of all kinds, from sculptures and classical paintings to famous journalist’s photos.  It’s ever-expanding, and their entire collection is browsable by Geography, Classification, or Collection.  Search for your topic, or browse through the collections for inspiration.

To get to Artstor, go to the library’s homepage, and to e-Resources A-Z.  This gives you a full list of our databases, including this great tool.



Hello, and welcome to the Francis A. Drexel Library’s blog!  This running ‘lifeline’ will help you wade through the good and the bad of information in all shapes and formats, and it’s for anyone looking to brush up on their researching techniques.  If you’re a tech-savvy practiced searcher or a student just looking to jump-start the research process, we’ll have tips, tricks, and library tools spotlighted here for your researching pleasure.  Come, browse, and enjoy!