Libraries at IU

1524188_10103687878099589_2043119451_o

The Herman B Wells Library, as viewed from the West. Photo by Ren-Jay S.

The first time you see the Herman B Wells Library at IU, you may think, “wow, that’s awesome!” or perhaps, “what a strange looking building!”  Either way, you may or may not realize that you’re looking at a library that hosts an extraordinary Information Commons, multiple quiet and group study floors, and endless rows of stacks that contain tomes of knowledge that have been slowly accrued over the last several millenia.  So I encourage you to venture in, grab a coffee, and learn about the endless resources that are available to you through the IU Libraries.

We are fortunate here at Indiana University to have a library system that includes agreements with other libraries to grant us students and the faculty access to almost any resource in the world.  I have yet to find a book, journal, or article that is not accessible either online, in print, or through Inter-Library Loan.  So, it’s pretty easy to access scholarly resources here at IU, which makes life as a graduate student MUCH easier.  There are many satellite libraries here on campus housed within each academic department (for example, the Chemistry Library, Life Sciences Library, Law Library, etc.), so you don’t have to venture far to speak with a librarian to assist you with your studies.  Moreover, the library even offers live chatting to help you facilitate your research if you get stuck and need to ask a question right away.  A little known secret is that some of the satellite libraries even offer graduate assistantships to students that includes a fee remission, health insurance, and a stipend, just like a teaching or research student academic appointment would.  So if you’re still searching for funding, the libraries might be a good place to look if you’re running out of options.

The bottom line is that the extensive resources and expertise that are available through the IU Libraries exist to facilitate the work of graduate students and faculty, which makes life much easier for us.  So go ahead and stop in one of the libraries sometime and get to know your friendly neighborhood librarian, because they might just get you out of a bind when you’re burning the wick at both ends trying to finish up an important project.

To Go? Or Not To Go? Departmental Seminars

Let’s face it – as graduate students, we are saddled with juggling the classes we’re taking, the research we’re conducting, the classes we’re teaching, and then all the other things we’re involved in (voluntarily of course, since we are choosing to be here!).  Time is clearly a precious commodity in the life of a graduate student.  So when your home School or Department hosts a seminar, lecture, or other event, the debate is always whether or not it’s worth your time to attend.  Most students consider such things as:

1) Is the topic of direct interest to me or does it impact my area of study?

2) How long is the seminar/lecture?

3) Does it fit in my current schedule?

4) Who else will be there?  Will I be expected to be in attendance?

and most importantly 5) IS THERE FREE FOOD?!?!?!?!?

It’s kind of like betting in a poker game…

IMG_1882cr

To go, or not to go? To check, call, bet, or fold? See the analogy?

Continue reading

TEAM APRIL

2013 was a banner year for challenges.  There were losses:  first, in February, the unexpected death of the husband of one of my best friends; and second, in July, the sudden and unexpected death of my own sister.

Of course, there were the additional challenges associated with these deaths – supporting my friend as she reeled from her loss and the stress resulting from my own family’s struggle with decisions regarding the withdrawal of life support measures after my sister’s catastrophic injury.  Continue reading

…from the comfort of your home

As a graduate student, the IU library is your best friend.  Did you know that you could download journal articles directly to your computer even when you are at home?  Here’s how you do it.  First, install the IU VPN on your computer.  Then use your search engine of choice (PubMed, Ovid, Google Scholar) to search for journal articles.  When you find an article you would like to download, click on the IU-Link and you’ll be prompted to save.  This will allow you to save it directly to your computer…in your pajamas…from your apartment.

There are many other reasons why libraries are great.  Katie Birkwood, a librarian at the Royal College of Physicians in London, gives a few of them in this talk from 2011.

Grad Life Advice:Late Night Study Grind!

The late night study grind is indeed no stranger to graduate students. Most nights will be filled with tons of reading material and note taking that you need read for the next days classes. Although reading ahead of time is strongly suggested, often times you won’t have time to do so, so you must submit to the late night study grind. So here are a few tips to get you through the night! Continue reading