A Day at the Library

Circulation staff are kept busy answering questions about library services and policies, troubleshooting computer and printing problems, and directing patrons to various resources in the library and across campus. In addition to the full-time library staff, it takes a team of 30 circulation students to keep the library running smoothly!  We’ve asked some of our circulation staff and student workers what an average work day would be like for them.

Opening (by Charity Braceros-Simon)
Circulation students arrive 15 minutes before the library officially opens. We go through the building to turn on the computers, printers and other equipment so that they are ready for patrons to use. We also go through and make sure that supplies such as paper and staples are stocked. All of the materials that have been placed in the book drop overnight are checked in and sorted for reshelving. Finally, the bulk of the morning is spent processing Summit materials. We check in and sort all of the MOHL items that are being returned to us. We also receive the materials that Willamette students and faculty have requested from other libraries and place them on the hold shelf for check out.

Weekends (by Karla Gutierrez Hernandez)
On Friday and Saturday, there are often only a few students using the library. It is mostly quiet on both floors, but walking around to take a headcount encourages student workers to check and see if anything needs to be shelved or cleaned. It is also when we check for any issues with security or equipment. Weekend shifts are a good time to catch up on any shelf reading, organize our work space at the circulation desk, and restock our office supplies. Student managers inform student assistants if there are any special projects that need to be completed, such as taking down or putting up new displays. Making these shifts enjoyable and productive is all about finding balance by dividing the tasks among staff and allowing some down time.

Closing (by Shannon Lee)
Working the closing shift at the Mark O. Hatfield Library is a very similar process to tucking a child into bed. First, we send home all of the library’s friends with the promise that they may come back tomorrow for more learning and fun. Next, though we don’t use toothbrushes, we help the library stay clean by clearing the whiteboards and picking up any stray books. We then tuck the library into bed, pushing in the chairs and making sure there is no garbage around to give the library nightmares. One simply cannot forget to read the library an exciting bedtime story about taking the final gate count and unlocking the book drop. Finally, we turn off the lights, lock the doors, and say a soft goodnight to our dearest library.

Is Google the Right Database for You?

By Gary Klein

When you are researching something for a class assignment, and have to restrict your search to only articles that were published in peer-reviewed, academic, and scholarly journals, is turning to Google the best way to find those sorts of articles? Turning to Google is certainly a quick way to find stuff, but is it a good place to find academic or scholarly research?

Google is great when you want to know what time the newest blockbuster movie starts at the mall, to locate the nearest cash machine, or to find a good recipe to make chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.

But there are a lot of academic research topics where Google just does not deliver relevant results.  The quick response time that you enjoy after hitting the “enter” key is lost when you have to scan through hundreds of results that totally miss the mark.  A mismatched search phrase can waste a lot of your time downloading, reading, and evaluating results before you reject an entry and check the next citation offered by Google.

One of the big things that Google lacks is context. For example, Google does not currently ask which type of depression you mean.  Instead, Google will offer you 122 million web pages, followed by a dictionary entry explaining only two ways that depression can be used as a noun in the English language (see example at https://tinyurl.com/y8rjgyvh).

If you turned to Wikipedia to begin your research, you will find 6 major types of depression (see example at https://tinyurl.com/lscmyg2).

6 Major Types of Depression via Wikipedia 
Biology – Physiology Reduction in a biological variable or the function of an organ.
Earth Science – Geology Land form sunken or depressed below the surrounding area.
Earth Science – Meterology Area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by rain and unstable weather.
Economics Sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.
Exercise Science Anatomical term of motion, refers to downward movement, the opposite of elevation.
Physiology State of low mood and aversion to activity.

On the other hand, by turning to a subject-oriented database that compliments a research assignment, you would save time.  You start working with a database that is focused on academic journals, which are peer-reviewed, and provide scholarly research in your field of inquiry.

Below are examples of results you might find when turning to the Hatfield Library’s website and using a library guide for Economics:


The Hatfield Library also has tools to help you find databases for specific types of documents. Did you know that we have special databases that focus primarily on book reviews, or images, or statistics?

If you tackle a research topic that does not fit well within our academic departments or document types, another route is to ask one of our librarians to help. One responsibility of librarians is to help match people with the right database. We provide instant messaging chat service on many of the library’s web pages and databases. We also provide contact options to reach subject specific librarians on all of our LibGuides.

“When you are looking for information…
Turn to a librarian first,
And it will be the last place that you go to!”

The Hatfield Library employs full-time professional librarians that you can meet with in person, talk with over the phone, chat with via instant messenger, or contact via email. Our subject librarians can schedule an appointment to meet with you, or you can get help from the librarian on duty at the Reference Desk.

With over 200 databases, we know the volume of potential resources is daunting, but we’re here to help you. And that is something that you cannot get from Google nor from Wikipedia!

“HTTPS” New Standard Explained

In case you have bookmarked websites, you may begin to noticed that more of these links are broken.  Why the sudden uptick in broken links?  The culprit is probably not a new URL or a negligent systems administrator.  Rather it is most likely due to the new standard of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or what most users recognize as the “HTTP” beginning of most URLs.

The new standard has added an “S” to “HTTP,” so you will see more and more web sites using “HTTPS” to begin their URL.  In case you are curious, the “S” stands for “Secure.” You might ask what makes this new standard more secure?

To answer this question, it helps to understand how information is sent through the standard HTTP.  Data is sent over the Internet in small packets of information that are not typically encrypted.  The data is sent from your computer browser to a website server and back in fractions of a second.  The new standard has added a layer of security through an encrypted security layer known as a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and/or Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Normally, sending info packets through a SSL or TLS slows down the process of distributing information.  However, websites can speed up the process by adding SSL or TLS certificates in their code libraries where the encoding and decoding of website info takes place.  Web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Edge, and FireFox automatically seek our the certificates and will have some indication of site security such as a lock.  Depending on the browser, web sites that don’t have SSL or TLS certificates will often have an “I” before the URL to let users view the web site’s information before visiting the site.  Often  sites Below are a few sample URLs.

If the page or site uses HTTPS, some SSL or TLS parameters are exchanged between your browser and the site’s server, and a secure connection is opened for information to be encrypted and transferred.  Web sites that use a SSL or TLS pass through their web site information through an extra layer of security and meet a higher standard of security.  This is important when sensitive information such as financial or health or personal info is transferred over the internet, but a good chunk of web sites do not necessarily need this additional layer of security.

The main take away is when you encounter these more secure sites, it may take longer to interact with them, but it is for a good cause.  Your personal information is running through additional security.  And if you can’t find your bookmarked links it might be because the site is using the new “HTTPS” standard.

For more information about this, visit: https://www.revolvy.com/topic/Secure%20Hypertext%20Transfer%20Protocol