Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Loving the Library

By Eric Benhall
Some associate libraries with shelves and shelves of antiquated volumes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here at Trident Technical College, we have access to an enormous amount of information. In addition to the materials available for physical checkout, the TTC library offers students many online avenues, too. The best place to start your academic success at Trident Tech is with the library orientation videos. They are found under the “Research Help” tab on the library’s homepage.
These videos will teach you much, but the greatest impression you will receive is how much material you have available to you. You can find the physical publications through the online catalog on the library homepage. These books can be physically checked out for two weeks with one renewal for two more weeks. Also, the physical library offers reserved books that your instructor might have requested and reference publications that can’t be checked out.
In addition, you will find gateways to other materials through this same homepage:  numerous databases, electronic books and avenues to resources at other institutions. The online library at Trident Tech is user-friendly. It has easy navigation tools and tabbed search dialog boxes to help with your research. It even has a helpful tab on the homepage that allows you access to a tremendous number of electronic databases.
Databases house various kinds of reading materials which may be viewed anywhere you have an internet connection. For example, you can create an account to check out electronic books once you locate the databases. If you are trying to locate an electronic book, just click on the “e-Book” link under the EBSCO Host e-Book collection. However, do not orient your thinking around books only. Many database articles come from reliable, trustworthy and peer-reviewed magazines, newspapers, and journals. Depending on how you approach your search settings, they can help with your research. These databases are not accessible by search engines like Google, so make those tuition dollars work for you!
TTC students can even borrow materials from other colleges and universities. The College of Charleston, MUSC, the Citadel, Charleston Southern University and Charleston School of Law offer close physical proximity and readily allow TTC students to check out books. In addition, PASCAL Delivers and Interlibrary Loan offer books from a large network of libraries to the TTC student body. PASCAL is a great resource for acquiring books across higher education institutions in South Carolina, and Interlibrary Loan is a nationwide service which provides all kinds of materials.
If all else fails, you can find help through the “Contact Us” portal on the library’s homepage. You can even “Instant Message a Librarian” from your computer or mobile phone. Still, there is one tip you should remember before growing too comfortable:  keep your student ID handy because everything you do online while off campus requires verification.
So, remember that you can put your hands on the information needed for that research paper from the comfort of your own couch. Go home, make yourself some hot Joe, saddle up to your computer and begin exploring the infinite world of knowledge that the Trident Tech online library offers. It’s just keystrokes away!


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