Transform into a library expert–win prizes!

Libraries Transform.

Celebrate National Library Week with your Prairie State Librarians.

Libraries are more than just a place for books. At the Prairie State College Library, we are about the ability for the library to transform and empower our students. We do not seek to be a safeguard to knowledge but a guide on your academic and personal journey. Your PSC Librarians want you to become the experts, curators, and protectors of their own cultural, academic, and social knowledge. Whether you want to get involved in your community, find a job, start a business, or build your digital literacy skills, the PSC library is the key to your transformation.

From now until April 17, the library is running a contest in celebration of National Library Week. In this contest, we invite students to actively engage with the multitude of services our library provides.

When you complete an activity listed on the Library Expert Card (see below), you will get the box checked off by a library staff. Once you complete a row/column, you will receive an entry ticket that will put you into a drawing to win one of six prizes: 2 students will receive a $25 gift cards to the PSC Bookstore. 4 students will receive a study room for a day during finals week.

Some of the activities require using our online resources. Click some squares on the Library Expert Card to get direct access to these resources.

SWAN Recommendations Suggest Appointment Facebook Blog

Ask A Librarian: Call, Text, and Chat Your Question

The Library has added Chat Reference to make it easier for you to get a hold of us and have your questions answered.

You can find our chat reference options at the bottom of every page on the Library’s website as well as the Library’s Ask A Librarian page and OneSearch. Here are some of the new options that are available to you.




Chat: Use the Chat Box to easily ask a question from anywhere in the world. Just simply click on the box and start typing your questions and a PSC Librarian will answer you during business hours.

Library FAQs: Search through all of our commonly asked questions or use the built in email form to ask us a question when the Library is closed.

Mobile Friendly: On your mobile you can now easily call, text and email a Librarian any question you have about the Library.


We can help you avoid plagiarism as you finish those final papers!

The end of the semester is nearly here, and along with dreams of sunny days and sleeping in is the reality of final papers. Writing a research paper is HARD, and we want to make sure you get all the help you need. Because of that, one of our librarians — Matthew Root — created a subject guide to help you through the ins and outs of plagiarism.

We know that you know what plagiarism is generally: passing off someone else’s work as your own. But did you know it’s also:

  • paraphrasing without citing?
  • using a paper you wrote in another class?

Matthew created this guide to answer questions you have about making sure you’re acknowledging someone else’s work in your own. And when you’re done writing your paper, check out our citation subject guide for the details of MLA and APA style.

Last: did you know the database helps you in creating a citation? When you’re in a record, click on the “Cite” link on the right side.


Scroll through to find the appropriate style for your class (e.g. APA or MLA), copy the citation, and paste it into your Work Cited list.


*IMPORTANT* You still need to make sure the citation matches the style you need, and all of the important stuff is included, but it cuts down on a lot of the work.

Good luck! You’re almost done!

Find Magazines, Newspapers, and Journals by title or subject with Publication Finder

As great as OneSearch is for keyword searches, it’s not necessarily straightforward how you can search for a specific magazine, newspaper, or journal title. If you just throw the title into the main OneSearch search box, the results usually don’t work out the way you would expect.

I can already hear you asking, “Why would I be searching for a specific publication title anyway?” Well, for one thing, the library offers online access to some of the most popular magazines, like National Geographic, Consumer Reports, and Newsweek, which you can read by issue, and many of them in PDF form with the original photos and layout. 

The same is true for newspapers. In particular, the Chicago Tribune is available, as are the Washington Post and New York Times. Anyone who has spent much time on the websites of those newspapers is probably familiar with the paywalls constantly asking you to log in or subscribe.

Luckily, you don’t have to! All of these publications are available through the library’s database subscriptions.

To search for a specific publication, all you need to do is use Publication Finder. You can get to Publication Finder in several ways. First, you can just click on the link on the library website that says “A-Z Journal List.”

library website

Alternately, you can click on “Find” in the menu bar, then click on “A-Z Journal List. ”

library website A-Z link

Finally, if you are in OneSearch already, you can get to Publication Finder by clicking on “Publications” at the top of the screen.

OneSearch failed search for Chicago Tribune

Once your’re in Publication Finder, just put the publication name into the search box and click the “Search” button. You’ll be taken to a page that lists all the access options available for the titles matching your search request. For example, a search for Chicago Tribune has 8 results, each covering a different span of time and different historical titles used by the Tribune. Click on the result link listing the time frame you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in reading today’s issue, click on the first link which says “Chicago Tribune (ProQuest) 12/04/1996 – present.”


This will take you to a different page, where you can select today’s issue, or a different issue available for that publication.


Another great thing about Publication Finder, which can be really useful if you are doing research on a topic, is to search for publication titles by subject, or even just use the “Browse By Discipline” links to see a list of everything that is available in a particular subject area.


If you have any questions about using Publication Finder, or if you can’t find a particular publication, contact the PSC library and we’ll be happy to help!

The SWAN Catalog

slide-3-readyA library catalog is the place you go to see what books and movies a particular library has that you can check out or place a hold on. The Prairie State College Library, along with over 70 local libraries, use what is called the SWAN Catalog, which has recently gotten a new look and interface. Continue reading to find out more on using this new catalog to see what we have or to order books and movies from our partner libraries.

Your Account


Before you can sign up for a SWAN account you must make sure that you already have a library account with the Prairie State College Library. To set up your account, you will just need to bring your Student ID to the Circulation Desk.

After you set up your Library Account you can log in to SWAN by going to the Catalog ( and clicking on Log In in the top right hand corner.

log inTo log in just type in your PSC Student ID number (located at the bottom of the card) into the Library Card Number box. You PIN number will be the last 4 digits of the phone number that you signed up for your Library Account with.

After you are logged in you can check the status of your account by clicking on My Account in the top right hand corner. This area will tell you what items you have checked out, on hold (ordered from another library) and if you have any fines.

checked outSearching SWAN

To search SWAN, just begin by typing the name of the item you are looking for in the search box. The default search is ALL FIELDS. If you want a narrower search, click on the ALL FIELDS drop down menu. From there you can limit your search to author, title, subject, etc … .

searchWhen you have found the item you are looking for on the Results page, just click on the Title to see its status. If the item is not checked out, write down the Call Number and bring it to a Librarian at the Reference Desk who will be happy to show you where the item is located.

On this screen you can also place a hold on checked out items, add the item to a wish list, and check out summaries, reviews and excerpts of the item. In addition, the SWAN Catalog will produce further Suggestions that are similar to the book.

item recordPlacing a Hold

In addition to the books we have at Prairie State College, you can also search what items our partner libraries have and, if you want, have them sent to Prairie State College, by placing a hold. You can find the Search Box for all of the libraries by going here or by clicking on the Prairie State College drop down menu and selecting Everything.

everythingThen you just search the catalog for your item and when you find it, click on the Place Hold button. A librarian will then call or email you when the item is in. It will usually take 2-4 business days to arrive.

If you have any more questions about using the SWAN Catalog, stop by the Reference Desk and a Librarian will be happy to help out.

Using Research Starters

If you want to find out an overview of a topic, where do you go? Many people try Wikipedia first. It has a lot of information. Now what if you need an overview of a topic but would like one you could cite for a paper? That’s where our research starters come in. They are shorter than Wikipedia entries but can still get you started. The sources are usually from encyclopedias, as well.

For example, let’s say I go to and type adhd in the search box. I get 205,000+ results, but the top one before the numbered ones says Research Starter.

adhd reserach starter

Now I can click where it says “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” and read approximately five pages about ADHD. It comes from Magill’s Medical Guide, a quality source. At the bottom of the research starter it lists a bibliography that you can also use including sources from the DSM-5 and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

There are more than 62,000 research starters (1), so your topic has a great chance of having its own research starter. I’ve found them for microeconomics, wicca, the sinking of the Lusitania, zebras, the solar system, cloning, and more.

(1) Enis, Matt. “Industry: EDS Research Starters Debuts.” Library Journal 139.5 (2014): 22. Professional Development Collection. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.

How to search for items within the library only

Here at PSC we have a wealth of databases and thousands of peer-reviewed journals to browse and download that are available 24/7 (with your PSC email username and password). However we also have books and DVDs that you can check out from the library, everything from graphic novels to fiction to psychology and beyond!OneSearch

To locate only items within the library (like print books or DVDs), start at the same OneSearch box on the library’s homepage.

Once you have entered your title (or any other search terms) you will need to look at the left side of the page and scroll down to Catalog Only. Click the box to limit your search it our Main Collection.


Then look for the Call No. and that will tell you where the book will be on the shelf. Feel free to ask any librarians for help or visit this previous blog post to learn more about where different sections of the library are!


The History of Deadwood: Told through Library Resources


Recently I’ve been rewatching the HBO original program, Deadwood which you can order to the Library for free here. Doing so made me wonder how much of the show was true and how much was made up by the show’s creator, David Milch.  With this in mind I went to the Library’s resources with the research goal of uncovering Deadwood’s history. The first place I started was OneSearch.

When I submitted the search I found out that the Library has a bunch of eBooks on the subject, two of which are talking about the TV show, the other, Old Deadwood Days by Estelline Bennett is a first-hand account of growing up in Deadwood, which was written by the daughter of a Judge who was friends with the lead protagonist of the show, Seth Bullock.

While finding the eBooks was great, I did want to look at some actual print books in the Library, so I refined and added some new searches to the mix. The first thing I did was broaden my search to the “Black Hills which was the area that Deadwood was located in. Doing so allowed me to find The Lakotas and the Black Hills, a book on the struggle between the Sioux Native Americans and the settlers that claimed the land around Deadwood. Next I tried researching some of the historical personas that were represented to which I found an autobiography on Calamity Jane. And finally, I broaden my search even more by typing “wild west” into the search box.

Next I looked through my results list for articles. In it I found two really good articles from magazines and one from an academic journal.

Real Men of Deadwood History in Towns Deadwood, SD AJ

With these articles in addition to my books I feel that I have a firm foundation to begin to read up on the topic of Deadwood. After I finish I may want to go back and try out searches on other databases such as Harper Weekly (a weekly magazine that has articles dating back to 1857). There I will be able to find actual articles on Deadwood that were being printed during the timeline covered by the show. I may also want to venture off and try out some websites like official website for the Adam’s Museum (museum located in Deadwood dedicated to the town’s history) or some videos on YouTube.

This is an example of ways to perform research. When the time comes around to begin research on your own unique topic, stop by the Reference Desk in the Library and a Librarian will be happy to help you out.

For more research help check out these posts

Using PSC’s Subject Guides

Prairie State’s library has a great resource, our subject guides. You can find the link on the library homepage, Then click on subject guides. (To see any of the pictures below larger, just click on them, and they will open up in a new tab as a larger view).subject guide1

Then it will open up this page.

subject guide2

From here you can see information about the library on the left, guides by subject in the middle, and an alphabetical list of the guides on the right hand side.

You can also find general information about our collection such as how to start your research, books, and databases, on the top tabs.

The newest guide to go up is the psychology guide, which I created with suggestions from psych professors. Here is the welcome page to that guide subject guide3

The guides are a great way to find databases, books, and websites recommended by the librarians about your subject or class. You can start with the subject-specific databases to search for articles or check out the books to begin your research. They can also be helpful as supplemental sources or for books that are on a topic you might be interested in.

For example, the show Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson is premiering this Sunday at 8pm CST on FOX and other channels. IMDB describes it as “a documentary series that explores how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time.” Maybe you want to look up some information about astronomy beforehand to get an idea of the basics, or afterwards to understand what was talked about on the show. There are some great journals and websites listed, as well as a few basic books.

Cosmos is a follow-up to the very famous Cosmos with Carl Sagan from 1980 that is still the “most widely watched PBS series in the world” according to the linked Wikipedia page. If you haven’t seen this original series, I highly recommend it. It’s currently available on Netflix. Again, IMDB gives a good summary of what topics Sagan covered.

Subject guides are regularly updated and are a great place to begin your research, especially when you don’t have access to a librarian.