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First Year Students: Transitioning to Higher Education

This libguide is to support incoming freshman on library services.

Your High School Library

Your High School Library:

  • The library probably was one room with one librarian, and maybe a few student assistants
  • The librarian had general knowledge of many subjects
  • Visiting the library was usually with your class and teacher
  • Help was available during high school hours
  • Opening hours were limited to the regular school hours
  • Online resources were probably limited to a small number of general subject databases
  • Google may have been your primary research source
  • High school has teachers, some with master's degree and a few with doctorate degrees
  • Your library may have had limited hours and access

The BCC Libraries:

  • BCC has libraries at all four campuses
  • There is a team of professional librarians, support staff, and student assistants
  • The opportunity to consult one-to-one with a professionial librarian who has strong knowledge and subject specialization
  • Research help is available in person or online seven days a week.
  • There are over 80 online subject specific and scholarly databases, of which almost all are available via remote access
  • If the library doesn't own a book or have an article you need, Interlibrary Loan can get this for you from another library without charge

Changes Coming Your Way include:

  • Google and Wikipedia will no longer be your main ways of researching and learning
  • You must prove that you read the sources by providing correct citations - plagerism is a serious offence in the college
  • You will be responsible for your own education -- assignments, attending class, managing studying time and effiency, keeping up with work
  • Help may not come your way unless you ask for it
  • Library research has different expectations and can be more complicated
  • Term papers won't work with only 1 source -- you'll need a sufficient number of sources to make your point believable
  • BCC instructors are professors, most with doctorate degrees, and can be addressed as "Doctor" or Professor"

Tips for Successful Research

10 Tips Every First Year Student Should Know about BCC Libraries and Research

  1. College libraries are very different from high school libraries.  They can be confusing and intimidating.  Become familiar with the library as soon as you can - both by visiting in person and online.
  2. Research is not difficult - research is detailed.  Manage the research assignment in the same way you would manage any project:  know what to do, have a plan, follow the plan, and establish a time line.
  3. Everything is not on Google.  Everything is not online.  You will have to be your own detective when you search and discover information.  The BCC Libraries have a wide selection of academic, scholarly databases to make your search rewarding.
  4. Start as soon as you get the assignment.  This is a time management skill - working on your paper every day, beginning with the day you receive the assignment, will allow you to keep going, remain focused, and very possibly finish early.
  5. Ask for help when you need it.  Ask for help even if you don't think you need help - just to be sure that you are on the right track.  The librarians and library staff are waiting for you to ask - this is why we are here.
  6. Learn and use the Research: Where Do I Begin? library guide.  Remember - research is detailed.
  7. Always get more than the minimum number of sources required.  Sometimes as you are writing the paper you may discover that sources don't work out as planned, so be prepared to have additional sources that you can use instead, rather than having to begin searching all over again.
  8. Focus on scholarly literature, not popular publications.  Peer-reviewed papers will satisfy your instructor's requirement.
  9. Learn how to cite, and know which style is required for your paper.
  10. Don't plagiarize - instructors have ways of quickly determining that papers contain plagiarized statement and sections.  An F grade is not worth the risk of using plagiarized material.