Research Services is a term you’ve probably heard tossed around about some of the library staff this year. You might be thinking, “That’ll be great if I need help with research papers.” And you’re right; we’re absolutely here to help you with your research assignments and your class projects, but that’s only part of what that title means!
There are two of us that lead the Research Services team in the library: myself, Patrick Fulton, and Denise Green. Together, we take care of a number of projects and programs in the library, some of which you’ll have encountered like our class presentations, and some you may not have encountered yet. We’re both actively performing musicians like yourselves, as well as librarians and information professionals.
Research is more than just books and articles though. We are all musicians, first and foremost, and a major part of our performing lives is finding the right recordings, scores, and editions to fit our particular needs. There’s a term used nowadays called “satisficing.” Satisfy and suffice come together to make a term that means that we might settle for the first available recording/score/information instead of looking for the BEST version to fit our needs. The internet, the library, the databases… these are all complicated information structures, and just like scaling a mountain, your Research Services Librarians are here to be your Sherpas.
As I mentioned above, research assistance is a big part of what we do. You’ve no doubt heard us speak in class about resources and the research method, citations, plagiarism, etc. But once we walk out the door, we are still very much there to assist you. Everyone hits a wall when it comes to research, and this is the perfect time to discuss your topic with another person. On our site, there is a form to request a research consultation with either Denise or myself: http://cim.edu/library/services/consultform. It might seem nuts, but we actually love discussing research topics and finding resources—it’s kind of like solving a puzzle for us. We’ll happily set aside time to sit down with you individually and tease out a thesis, find articles, talk about your ideas… Whatever you need to get you on the right track!
Maybe your question is as simple as the writing process itself (though even that is not so simple at times!). Do you need help verifying if those Chicago-style citations are formatted correctly? Confused about how to format those pesky footnotes? Not sure about your grammar or how to get around saying ‘I’ in the course of your prose? These are all things we’re happy to consult with you on as well. We can’t promise to proof your whole paper, but don’t let that deter you from asking for help! Even if we can’t do it ourselves, we will give you a whole slew of tips and tricks to produce your best paper on your own.
Moving away from papers, we’re also your local access gurus. When it comes to online resources, we want to help you get the most possible out of what we have access to. Part of this comes down to configuring your tech items as well. You may have seen us out in the lobby this past week helping folks set up their phones/computers with the CWRU VPN software (see previous blog post). Even though we’re not stationed outside, we’re always here and happy to help get you connected to all we have to offer. Maybe you’re just fighting with Microsoft Word when it comes to formatting your paper—we’ve got you covered there too!
Sometimes we even go beyond what you might consider traditional library sources. Everyone here is a professional musician with valuable performance and career experience we are happy to share with you. An important part of your career is having the right documents to represent yourself as a musician, a portfolio, if you will. This starts with your press kit (bio, photos, repertoire list, etc.) and then covers your resume and CV and goes all the way to your social media presence. We can help here too! We are happy to look over your resume, cover letters, CVs, applications to festivals/grad schools/jobs—just set up a time to meet with us so we can go over the documents with you as you did with the research consultation. A little individual time to talk over these documents can mean the difference between getting that interview and ending up at the bottom of the pile! We’ve got plenty of experience with social media management, interviewing (in person and remotely), and so much more that we want to share with you.
The moral of the story is this: Whatever you need, we are here to help you! Even if we don’t know the answer ourselves, we will work to help you find the best information possible. Our title may be research services, but think of us as your one-stop shop for answers and help. We prioritize giving individual attention to our students, faculty, and staff above all else. Satisfice no more! Ask us anything!