Possibilities of offline research

Duration: 5 minutes

How do you take advantage of library offers and how do you find printed texts in the library? What options do you have to make the best use of printed texts?

What’s most important?
  • Take advantage of library offers.
  • Look at the books next to the book of your choice on the shelf.
  • Use printed texts as tactile tools.

How do you take advantage of library offers?

You rely on physical libraries for your offline research. If you need or want to read books or journals in the library reading room, you can use the infrastructure of the library. There are advantages to this. The first advantage is obvious: you have a place to read and write in peace. If you don’t have a quiet place at home to do research for your term paper, the library may become your favorite place. The library is valued by many students as a place to study because it’s quiet and there are fewer distractions. You may be able to focus better here.

You can also team up with fellow students and go to the library together to keep each other motivated. You can take breaks together and clarify any questions about the paper directly with your peers. After all, they also have to write papers and may even cover similar topics. In that case, you can get some reading tips right away.

Another advantage of libraries is that they usually have specialized staff on site. The library staff can help you with your research and will be happy to show you where to find books and journals. They also know what research services the library has to offer. Many universities and libraries offer guided tours to help you find your way around. Some even give courses where you can learn all about researching for your academic papers. With this inside knowledge, you’ll be well equipped!

How do you find printed texts in the library?

Sometimes you need to research online to be able to research offline afterwards. This is true, for example, if you search a library’s online catalog and then order a print book or journal to take to the library’s reading room or to take home. Keep in mind that you may have to wait longer for your book or journal if all copies are on loan. In that case, you can put yourself on the waiting list or see if the book or journal is available at another library near you or digitally.

Sometimes you can also find books or journals in the online catalog that you don’t have to reserve them. You might be able to look at on site in a specific subject library or central library. Be sure to write down where you can find them, as most libraries have many subject sections. You can usually find letters and/or numbers in the catalog that tell you which shelf you can find the book or journal on. Don’t be put off by the cryptic codes, on site the sorting is usually easy to understand, and you can always ask the staff for help.

The books and journals are sorted by subject, topic, and name. If you have selected a book in the catalog that you would like to look at on site in the library, it is therefore worth looking left and right when you’re there. While browsing the collection, sometimes you find some treasure that you didn’t come across or overlooked during your catalog research.

How do you make the best use of printed texts?

Many people prefer the feeling of a printed book to a digital version of the same text. You don’t just look at a screen and scroll around in a document. Rather, you can physically flip back and forth between the relevant chapters or passages. This gives you some freedom in terms of working with the text, although you should avoid leaving permanent marks in library editions. Here are some helpful tips for your offline research with library reading materials:

Sticky notes as colorful markers

Use sticky notes for purchased and borrowed books. They are helpful to make small notes or comments without writing directly into the book. Also, you can use sticky notes as bookmarks to mark places that are important and jump back to them immediately when needed. If you work with different colors, you can think of a system. For example, pink sticky notes could mark important definitions, and orange ones could mark study results.

Highlight important passages

Use this option only if you bought the text or copied parts of it for your personal use. If this is the case, you can mark important parts of the book. Again, think of your own color system to quickly find and interpret the marked passages. Make sure that you don’t highlight the complete text as this defeats the point of marking important information.

Marginalia or notes in the margins

Again, only use this option for a text that is permanently yours. If this is not the case, it sometimes makes sense to copy important essays or chapters from a journal or book and then write your annotations on the copy. Writing notes in the text margins can be helpful. These can include a brief summary of the statements made next to them, for example, or notes such as “hypothesis,” “sample size,” or “duration of experiment” that help you find important points quickly. Figure out a suitable system for you and stick to it.

Advantages and disadvantages of offline research

– Research without internet connection or electricity– You’re limited to the library collection
– Get expert help from library staff– Long waiting times for books that are on loan
– Work with a physcial copy– You sometimes can only access texts on site
– Categorize information with your own system– You can’t leave notes or highlight passages in borrowed reading materials
– You might have to carry heavy books home
⚠ Don’ts
  • Don’t expect library texts to be available immediately
  • Don’t be too shy to ask library staff for help
  • Don’t leave notes or markings in library loans

Test yourself: Do you know how to research offline?

What is an advantage of researching in a library?

  1. It’s quiet and there are no distractions
  2. Sometimes there are celebrities
  3. You can have a chat with the librarians about the architecture of the library

   A – It’s quiet and there are no distractions.

Who can you ask questions regarding research?

  1. Your seat neighbor in the library
  2. Library staff
  3. You have to figure it out on your own

   B – The library staff can help you with your research and will be happy to show you where to find books and journals. They also know what research services the library has to offer.

What can you do if the book you need is already on loan?

  1. Cry in your pillow
  2. Write an angry email to the library
  3. Put your name on the waiting list

   C – Put your name on the waiting list to get the borrowed book as soon as possible.

How can you use sticky notes for your research?

  1. To stick them on your forehead, so you don’t forget anything anymore
  2. To stick them on other students’ backs
  3. To stick them in books to mark important passages

   C – To stick them in books to mark important passages.

How can you use a pencil for your research?

  1. To write down important notes on the tabletop
  2. To write small notes in the page margins
  3. To draw illustrations for your favorite books

   B – To write small notes in the page margins.

Did you enjoy?
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