HM Briggs Library Web Toolbar

October 9, 2009

Access library and other research resources quickly from your browser using the free Briggs Library Toolbar! The toolbar is compatible with Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. The toolbar is very easy to install and updates quickly with a built-in refresh option. The toolbar is also easy to uninstall if you wish to remove it from your browser. The HM Briggs Library Toolbar provides searching and one-click access to:

* Library Catalog
* Library Databases
* Journals List
* Electronic and Paper Reserves
* Google Scholar
* Archives & Special Collections
* Government Documents
* Library Research Tools such as: Interlibrary Loan, Citing & Copyright, Distance Library Services, Renew Books Online.
* The main SDSU Web Page

Try it out today:

Laura M. Wight, Associate Professor & Information Literacy Librarian



June 25, 2009

Stephen Wolfram, developer of Mathematica, has designed a new Web tool called Wolfram│Alpha.  Although its interface looks like a search engine, Wolfram│Alpha is actually a computational knowledge engine.  Search engines, like Google, search the Web and list links as results.   Wolfram│Alpha produces results by making computations from its own knowledge base. 

Clicking on the sample topics links will give you ideas of how to use this tool in areas like mathematics, engineering, dates & times, money & finance, and unit & measures.  You can enter math problems, ask for conversions, compare stocks, produce a world map with life expectancies, assess the per capita income of Brooking County, etc.  Wolfram│Alpha has a blog, a community site, and a quick video overview to help users get started.

The producers of Wolfram│Alpha plan to expand its capacities in the future.  Their ambitious “long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to anyone.”  They also see opportunities to develop other forms of their product—to provide professional and corporate applications, to work with an organization’s internal data, and to work with mobile platforms. 

If you have any questions about research please contact a SDSU librarian.  You can contact us in-person at the Information Desk, send an e-mail, a text message, or set up an appointment

 Linda Kott
Information Services Librarian

Read Sports Illustrated, Other Publications Online

August 29, 2008


The sports fans at my house love Sports Illustrated.  Recently, they have enjoyed the coverage of the Olympics and articles to help with their fantasy football leagues.  The library has Sports Illustrated in print format from 1954 to the present.  You will find the most current issues in the Popular Periodicals area on the main level.


SDSU students, staff, and faculty who can’t make it to the library can also read Sports Illustrated online, through our electronic databases.


To read Sports Illustrated via EBSCOhost, use the following directions.

·         On the library’s homepage ( use the link to EBSCOhost.  (Click here or here for information on off-campus access.)

·         Once you’ve accessed the EBSCOhost database, click on the Publications link at the top of the page.

·         Enter Sports Illustrated in the “Browsing:EBSCO MegaFILE – Publications” search field (the lower field).

·         Click on the Sports Illustrated link, then on the year you want to access.  At this point you will see links to specific issues, open one and enjoy the articles.


Not a sports fan?  Read publications on other subjects as well.  Use the same procedure to search for other titles, or search the list of publications by subject and description.  EBSCOhost is also an excellent resource for searching by topic across many titles.


Linda Kott

Information Services Librarian


Looks like you could use….

March 3, 2008

A really good topic and supportive background information for your next research assignment.  The library has just the thing……a Topic Finder.  That’s right, a web page with the singular purpose of providing you with a list of print and electronic resources where you can find hot topics.   There are so many listed there, one is sure to catch your eye.  In fact, these resources are so cool many of them will provide supportive background information and even lead you to additional resources related to the topic you choose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Now that’s exciting! 

And, remember, if you ever need research assistance, stop by/call/e-mail/or chat with the reference librarians at the information desk.  We’re here to provide you with the skills to be effective and efficient researchers (and we love doing it!).

Laura M Wight, Reference Librarian

Web of Science – An awesome information resource!

February 8, 2008

Using Web of Science, researchers can identify current and retrospective science and social sciences information from thousands of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world. Users can retrieve relevant information quickly and effectively with powerful search capabilities such as: author searching, keyword searching, publication title searching, and article title searching. 

In addition, cited reference searching provides researchers the unique ability to indentify works that have cited previously published materials relevant to their research interests.  In other words, this feature enables users to begin their search for information with a journal article pertinent to their research and to identify subsequently published articles citing the previous article, moving forward in time.  Cited reference searching not only identifies relevant sources of information about a specific topic, but also may indicate the importance of a published work through the number of times it has been cited by other researchers.  In fact, it is often used by researchers to highlight the importance of their own work by documenting the number of times their work has been cited and by whom. 

The SDSU community has access to the following Web of Science databases:Science Citation Index, 1992 – present
Social Sciences Citation Index, 2001 – present

I think you will find Web of Science to be an awesome resource.  Give it a try by clicking here or access it via Briggs Library’s Research Databases page.

– Clark Hallman, Head of Public Services and Head of Reference

What’s My Password?

August 23, 2007

When using Briggs Library, you may encounter times when you are asked for your username and password.  In a perfect world we would all be able to use the same username and password for everything.  In a really perfect world we would all be able to access all our needed resources without using any password.  However, as much as we all strive for perfection, most of us still need to remember several different username and password combinations, and it is likely that you will encounter that need when using Briggs Library. 

Off-Campus Access to Briggs Library

Briggs Library’s electronic resources (databases) are governed by license agreements which restrict their use to the members of the SDSU community.  That’s why you will be asked to enter a username and password when you click on most database links on a Briggs Library web page while using a computer from off campus.

  • SDSU employees must enter their SDSU network-login username and password.
  • SDSU students must enter their MyState Online username (the same as their WebAdvisor login ID) and their MyState Online password (this should be $ and then their student ID number–e.g.  $1234567).
  • More information is available at

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery to Distance Learners

Briggs Library recently implemented a new interlibrary loan management system, which will makes it more efficient for you to request books, journal articles, videos and other types of materials that are not owned by Briggs Library.  Likewise it provides the same efficiency to distance learners and distance staff members requesting for library materials owned by Briggs Library and interlibrary loan items from other libraries.  The new system, named ILLiad, requires each new user to complete a registration form including contact information, and library barcode, etc.  New users also choose their own username and password during the registration process.  Once registered you will not need to supply personal information each time you request an item using the service.  Having your e-mail and regular mail addresses on file enables library staff members to notify you promptly and deliver the requested materials accurately and quickly when they arrive in the library.  By specifying a username and password of your choosing, you will have secure access to information about the status of your requests. You will also be able to review a list of items you have requested in the past.  More information, including the registration form, is available at


Library Catalog

When using the library catalog you will not need a username and password to search for items.  However if you use features like My Library Card, My List, or Basket for the following functions, you will need to sign in with your library barcode number (omit the letters A and B printed before and after the barcode on back of your SDSU ID card) for your user ID and your last name for your password:

  • to see a list of all library materials you have checked out
  • to renew library materials you have checked out
  • to submit an interlibrary loan request for an item from another SD library that was identified while searching the catalog
  • to view a list of fees, which you might owe the library
  • to save a list of items found when searching the catalog

Electronic Reserve Materials

Many professors make copies of journal articles, book chapters, lecture notes, and/or links to other full-text materials available to the students using the library’s electronic reserve system.  Electronic reserve materials support specific courses and, due to copyright limitations, only students registered for the associated specific courses are permitted to access them.  Therefore, your professors must provide you with a password to access the materials they place on e-reserve. More information about electronic reserve can be found at:


Unfortunately, there are several electronic resources that require us to use specific usernames and passwords, which are supplied to us by the publisher.  When you are using the Briggs Library web site and you encounter a web page that asks for a username and password and none of those mentioned above provides access, please contact us at (605) 688-5570 or (800) 786-2038 or E-mail the SDSU Librarians.  We will check for a password or let you know if we do not have access to the desired resource. 

Clark Hallman, Head of Public Services

August is National Inventors’ Month

August 3, 2007

This month, check out the new guide on the library web page featuring both print and online research materials related to inventions, inventors, and technological innovations. 

 Laura M. Wight, Reference Librarian 

I can go anywhere from here?

May 15, 2007

No doubt library users have made use of what we refer to as “melting pot” databases during the beginning stages of research at SDSU.  EBSCOhost and ProQuest – two examples of broad, multi-disciplinary databases used to research almost any topic and find results.


However, as users transition beyond their first and second years at SDSU and into more challenging, discipline-specific coursework, resources like EBSCOhost and Proquest no longer satisfy research needs and instructors’ requirements.  Simply stated, EBSCOhost covers such a large range of topics it can barely scratch the surface of the literature in all of these fields.  Thus, it is vital for users as budding professionals in their area of expertise to learn to research using discipline-specific databases. 


Learning how to use a professional level database now not only benefits users in their remaining years of research at SDSU, but also primes for success at graduate level research and makes a more marketable job candidate.  For example, it is likely that employers of newly hired Nursing graduates expect these employees already know how to search Cinahl (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health) or Medline. 


Wondering what professional-level database is available in your area of study?  Some examples are listed below.  To access these databases, go to the main library web page at:  and click “Research Databases”.  In addition, you can check out our Research by Topic Guides for suggestions on discipline-specific resources, or E-mail a Librarian! 

Laura M. Wight~Reference Librarian

Library Databases Vs. Internet Search Engines (or, how to make Google your last stop for research).

February 22, 2007

Sure, we’ve all done it – received a research assignment and gone straight to Google to see what’s out there.  That is – we’ve all done it until receiving a less than pleasing grade on that assignment and wondering – where did I go wrong?   The first step is to consider the world of information available to you beyond Google.  Or rather, more importantly, before Google.  That’s right – authoritative, credible, current, chock-full-of-good-research things called Library Databases.  What is the difference between Library Databases and search engines and what kinds of resources does each yield? Read on for the 411… 

Library Databases 

  • Type of Information Retrieved:  Magazine, Journal, Newspaper articles; books or book chapters; conference proceedings or papers; technical publications.
  • Review Process: Information in library databases comes from publishing groups and goes through a review process before it is published in electronic or print materials. This information has been checked for accuracy and reliability by the publisher’s editors.
  • How often is it updated? Regularly!  From daily to quarterly or even annually.
  • Cost/Accessibility:  Library databases are NOT FREE. The library pays a fee for access to databases.
  • Uses:  Library Databases should be the first stop for any academic research assignment, whether you’re searching for background or biographical information, a basic overview or in-depth research coverage. A Reference Librarian can assist you in choosing the right database for your research needs.

Search Engines

  • Types of Information Retrieved: Some free personal and commercial Web pages from around the world – No search engine includes every Web page; very few free journal, magazine & newspaper articles/citations; current news and information; government information; advertisements; pornography; e-mail, chat rooms, newsgroups, listservs.
  • Review Process: Since no one owns or controls the Internet, information found using search engines does not go through a review process. Anyone can publish any opinion or idea on the Internet, regardless of their authority, education or experience in that subject area. Web pages found using search engines should be carefully evaluated for their accuracy and reliability and generally should NOT be a starting point for academic research.  Check out this page for a list of criteria to evaluate the quality of web pages.
  • How often is it updated?  Unknown; may include links to pages that no longer exist (“dead links”)
  • Cost/Accessibility: Most search engines and web pages found through search engines are free. Search engines may also retrieve links to fee-based web sites or databases that do not allow access without a username and password.
  • Uses:  Search Engines are a good place to find entertainment or leisure related information, some current news coverage, directory information (phone numbers, addresses), or basic consumer information.   

So the next time it’s you versus that 10 page research paper, stop by the Briggs Library web page and check out our amazing selection of more than 90 Research Databases. You’ll like yourself much better for the quality of work you produce using these powerful resources – and your instructors will too!

Laura M. Wight, Asst. Professor/Reference Librarian