First Year Seminar

Reading and Writing:  Where form meets function

M. Rocks   October 15, 2008

Guide for finding sources at the George T. Potter Library
Irene Kuchta


 I. Library Homepage   Provides access to the catalog (OPAC), databases, interlibrary loan forms, etc.

  • Course Reserve  Need either Ramapo ID (R#) or barcode (provided by the library)
  • Q&A New Jersey  Reference assistance when there is no reference librarian available

II.  Avoiding Plagiarism

  •       Use Citing Sources for examples of "In-Text Citations" and "Works Cited"

III. Finding Books at the Potter Library

  • Catalog: use this to find books, journal titles NOT ARTICLES, government documents, reserve items, music and movies owned by the Library. You may limit a search by language, year(s) of publication, type of material, etc. This may take a few seconds to load.
  • Search the catalog using Keywords to find material
    • For example: search for investment and risk to locate a broad range of material and look for ideas for your project


    1. Start with broad searches. It is much easier to discard too much rather than start with too little.
    2. If you don't know the Subject Heading, use the Related Records tab located on the top of a catalog record to get to the headings. This will help you focus in on more relevant material.
    3. Can "virtually" browse the shelves by clicking on the call number in a record

IV. Electronic Resources

  • Some useful Databases for finding information:
Academic Search Premier Academic Search Premier, is a multi-disciplinary full-text database containing full-text for nearly 4,700 publications, including more than 3,600 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to the full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for all 8,176 journals in the collection
Expanded Academic ASAP Provides multidisciplinary, easy-to-use access more than 3,500 journals (of which 2,100 are peer-reviewed) in the areas of humanities, social science and science and technology.
JSTOR Complete
JSTOR complete covers archival full-text scholarly articles in the arts and sciences, biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, ecology, botany, music, business, and statistics.
Wilson Omnifile Fulltext Mega Wilson OmniFile Full Text, Mega Edition dramatically expands your periodical resources with electronic access to full text articles, page images, article abstracts, and citations from over 4,000 journals. Coverage back as early as 1982 ensures that every search is as deep as it is broad.
ProQuest Central From Database drop-down menu choose Interdisciplinary Proquest Central


  • Journal Finder : determine if a journal is available full-text online, in print in the library, or available on microfilm


  1. Always switch to the Advance Search page in a database. This will give you more control over your results.
  2. Always use Boolean Operators-AND, OR, NOT when running a search. For Example: technology and "united states" and effect and "higher education"
  3. Always check your Spelling if the database results are Zero.


 V.  Reference Material

  • The reference stacks are located on the 3rd floor (this is also the library's entrance).
  • These series cover many topics and present all sides of an issue :
Opposing Viewpoints H31 .C62
Contemporary World Issues H31 .C76
Current Controversies H31 .C97



  1. Use reference books to browse for project ideas and to get started on your research.
  2. Use the Bibliographies at the end of encyclopedia entries to find more information on your topic.





VII. Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan: allows students to borrow a book or article that the Potter library does not own. There is a link from the Journal Finder page.

Need more help? Visit or call the Reference Desk: 201.684.7574

Use QandA NJ a 24/7 virtual chat with a reference librarian.