Welcome back to the Christopher Center Library Services! Though you have graduated, there are still ways that you can utilize the information, resources and services of Library Services and the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources.
Alumni Access to Christopher Center Library Services
As an alum, you aren't able to access library resources in the same way you did when you were a student. If you visit campus, however, you can gain access to many of the same resources you had when you were enrolled.
So what can you access?
If you visit the CCLIR, you can gain Guest Access to a computer and use our electronic resources much like you did when you were a student. Guests can also gain access through a wireless device as well as guest access to a printer.
You may use any print resources in the CCLIR and search the library catalog remotely.
To apply for an Affiliated (Alumni) Borrowers Card, visit the 2nd Floor Circulation Desk.
Stop by for a program or art exhibit.
Why can't I access databases from home/work like I used to?
Most of the databases offered by the Christopher Center are covered by license agreements that restrict access to current students, faculty, staff and guest visitors to the physical Christopher Center. Databases are available to alumni only while on campus. Databases are not available to alumni from off-campus.
How can I get off-campus access to newspaper, magazine or journals?
Public libraries provide on-site and remote access to many of the same newspapers, magazines and journals that you had access to while here at VU. Contact your local public library to see what they have available.
Many state libraries provide remote access to a robust collection of electronic resources. All residents of the state of Indiana can get free remote access to the INSPIRE collection of 20+ electronic databases. All residents of Georgia can get remote access to GALILEO. Check with your state library as well as you local public branch to see what is available.
Like VU, some college and university libraries allow non-students to use their print and electronic newspapers, magazines and journals. Check with your local college or university library to see if you can visit and use their materials.
Looking for the full-text of an article that you find online? Check with your local public library to see if they can get access for you though their Interlibrary Loan program.
Looking for resources to help you with your career research? Check with your local public library and local college or university library to see if they have access to either the Reference USA or Dun & Bradstreet databases. Both are useful when creating lists of companies within a geographic area. Ask about other databases including LexisNexis Academic, Business Source Premier, Hoover's Online and Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage. Library databases are useful when preparing for interviews -- they can help with company, industry and people research.
Free Government Resources
The U.S. government provides access to some full-text articles within specialized resources like PubMed (medical/health information) and ERIC (education). Though full-text isn't always available, they are worth a look.
Some publishers will provide access to their publications via individual subscriptions and fees. JSTOR now offers the JPASS which provides access to over 1,500 journals with a set number of downloads for a reasonable fee. JSTOR also offers a "Register & Read" program that allows people will no current access to access more limited content. Other publishers provide free but limited access on their web site or through email alerts or RSS feeds. Scour your favorite journal site to see what information might be available to you.
Don't Overlook Open Access
Have you considered looking for information within open access journals? There are many free high-quality journals fully available online to the general public? Use the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to see what is out there on your topic.
Don't Overlook ValpoScholar, our Institutional Repository
ValpoScholar serves as the central exchange for outstanding scholarship and creative work from Valparaiso University faculty and students, as well as University records and campus history. In addition to student publications like The Lighter and Valpo Core Reader, ValpoScholar contains journals like Third World Legal Studies, Valparaiso Fiction Review and Valparaiso University Law Review. Check out what the folks at VU are writing about, working on and publishing via ValpoScholar!
How can I get off-campus access to electronic books?
Project Gutenberg contains "over 39,000 free e-books" including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, The Dubliners and thousands of others.
The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) provides links to over 1,000 academic peer-reviewed full-text books.
Hampshire College created a pretty thorough list of other free e-book sites.
And don't forget to check with your local public or academic library to see if you are able to access books through their systems.
What about access to other interesting online content?
The Library of Congress Historical American Newspapers from 1836-1922.
The Library of Congress American Memory Project "provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning." Very cool stuff from advertising, sports, religion and literature to african american history, native american history and women's history.
What about Google?
Can you Google it? The folks at Google realize that many users really and truly don't know how to use Google effectively so they created useful training materials including videos, handouts and lesson plans. Though going to Google school might sound like being enrolled in VU all over again, don't let the instruction materials scare you away. Learning how to use Google effectively and efficiently can save you time and energy -- so it should be well worth the effort involved!
Check out the Google "Live Trainings" webinars as well as "Lesson Plans" and other search tips.
Also consider focusing a search for information within Google Scholar instead of the much broader content searched with Google.