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Utilizing Online University Libraries

written by: Sarah Malburg•edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi•updated: 5/9/2011

If you are enrolled as an online student you have free access to your online university library as well as other databases. Find out how to access those sources. Included are some great, free educational research sites that to help you out.

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    There are many benefits of getting an online education, but the one great asset you have in this situation is access to online university libraries.

    Let's say you are a new online student and you are assigned your first research paper from your professor. Where do you begin to actually do the research you need to fulfill the requirements for this assignment? Do you need to physically go to a local public or university library or is there another option for you?

    Most universities that offer online programs or classes often provide library access to their students online. Access to these online university libraries is by way of the school's online learning interface such as Blackboard or Angel.

    In order to access your school's online library, you will be asked for your login information that you were given after registering for the program. After entering your student ID number and password, you will have access to your university's main online information page that contains the link for their library.

    Once you get to the library portal, you will be able to access several free research sites or databases that you would otherwise have to purchase if you were not an online student. Traditional students would have to go to their university or public library to access these databases. Many universities opt to purchase this kind of database accessibility, therefore making it convenient for you as an online student to get your information from your own home computer.

    Here are some of the most popular research sites available through online university libraries:

    • Academic Search Premier
    • WorldCat
    • LexisNexis Academic
    • JStor
    • ProQuest

    If you do not have access to an online library, you can go to these individual database websites and sign up for a free trial. After so many days, they will ask for you to subscribe, at which point you could or just go to your local library for access as well.

    Often times, new online students are not aware of the versatility that you have in doing online research. Have no fear; there are plenty of available resources at your fingertips and you don't even have to get in your car or even spend a dime.

    What are you waiting for? Now, get on with the research and finish that paper!

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    Top 10 Online Databases for General Research