Archive forResearch Help

How to read a scientific abstract

The editor of Nature wrote a piece on the Huffington post recently about how to read a scientific abstract.

A well-written abstract typically provides several basic types of information about a research project in concise arrangement, facilitating the reader’s ability to quickly ascertain the context, questions asked or purpose, results & methodology, interpretation and conclusions of one particular line of experimentation. The presentation style can vary widely from publisher to publisher, but each important element can often be identified by language cues or even more simply, by the order of the sentences.

He then walks through an abstract, explaining each part. It’s a great read, check it out here.


Nobel Prize for Literature 2010

This morning, the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature was announced; the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa is this year’s recipient.

mario vargas llosa

If you would like to find out more about this acclaimed author, the Baylor Libraries have a number of great resources where you can find quality information. Remember that while we are showing you these resources searching for info about Vargas Llosa, you can use these to find info about any writer you may have to research for a paper or project.

First of all, if you would like to research Vargas Llosa’s biography and background, the electronic resource called the “Dictionary of Literary Biography” is absolutely key. If you search for Mario Vargas Llosa’s name, you will find a biographical and critical essay written about him by an expert scholar. Included are a detailed list of his works and a bibliography of further readings – all helpfully in one place!

Now that you’ve found some helpful background information, you might want to find his books – both in Spanish and English. BearCat Plus will be our next stop. If you search for “mario vargas llosa” you will find every record we have in our catalog that mentions his name.

If you look to the right side of the results, you can use three of the limiters to find specific types of books.

“Language” will let you limit the results to find books that are just in English, or just in Spanish.

“Subject (Name)” will let you limit the results to find books about the person you are searching for. You will find many books of literary criticism about Vargas Llosa here.

“Author/Contributer” will let you limit the results to the books written by the person you searched for. Used in conjunction with the Language limiter, you can find all the books written by Vargas Llosa in whatever language you want to read him in!

Lastly, on our swing through helpful resources, you might want to search in the MLA International Bibliography. Searching through this database will bring you critical articles about the author’s works, published in scholarly journals.

There you have it! A great way to find out great quality information about any author – and particularly Mario Vargas Llosa, this year’s Nobel Laureate.

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Oil Spill Disaster Information

Louisiana oil spill

On Monday, June 28th, during the Association of College and Research Libraries Science and Technology Section (ACRL-STS) program at the American Library Association conference, Doria Grimes, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Central Library (retired) urged attendees not to overlook the information resources that NOAA provides on timely topics.

If you are looking for solid factual information about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, these are great sources to use!


Zotero adds PDF storage


Zotero, the free, open-source citation management software, which many of us are fans of at Baylor announced today that they have just added free online file storage of up to 100 megabytes, and the option to purchase even more storage (1 gig is $20/year, which is not bad). They still support WebDAV storage too, which means you can store the PDFs you have downloaded into your Zotero account in BearSpace (which is 1 gig of storage for free).

For information about working with Zotero and for upcoming workshop dates, check out the Zotero research guide.


What do you “ask a librarian”?

ask a librarian

The newly redesigned Baylor University Libraries web page has our “Ask a Librarian” widget right up front, making it easy for  you to get answers to questions you might have about doing research, what we have in the Library, and how to find the right sort of articles for your class assignments.  We get questions from students studying abroad and needing to know what they can still get to while they are in Maastricht or at St. Andrew’s and from students and faculty who are at a computer terminal in the Central Libraries but can’t find what they are looking for.

The next time you need to know the difference between scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, how to choose a good paper topic, or how to best find three full-text articles for your next assignment, or where we moved the books starting with “J” call numbers to, ask us online.  It’s anonymous and we’ll get you the answer you need.

Oh, look, the widget is even on the right of this page!