Imprint sat down with Tanya Snyder, Communications Manager of UWaterloo’s Library, for a complete rundown on the various scholarly resources that UW’s libraries have to offer. So if you’re unsure of where to begin research for your next assignment or simply want to learn more about what tools you have access to as a student, look no further.
“The number one thing just for new undergraduate students is your WatCard is your library card,” Snyder stressed.
When you’re headed to a library on campus, your WatCard functions as the library card you’d use to check out books or other items. And if you’re working remotely, your WatIAM account credentials are what will grant you access to the wealth of databases on the library website. “You already have it in your pocket and that can unlock so much for you.”
Once successfully logged into the library website on your WatIAM account, you can now access the virtual databases that are particularly tailored for each discipline. Whether you’re studying history or kinesiology, there are unique research guides and E-journals with information geared to your needs. “[While] first and foremost people think of the books,” Snyder stresses that “the library is so much more than that in this day and age.”
You also have access to RefWorks, a handy citation management tool. In case you’re still feeling lost or unsure of where to begin an assignment, you can email or text UW’s online library at any time for additional remote support at firstname.lastname@example.org and (519)-900-5417, respectively. For more hands-on assistance, the library website additionally offers Ask Us, a digital chat tool with a real person on the other end who will answer your questions in real-time.
The two main libraries on campus, Dana Porter and the Davis Centre (the former geared to humanities and the latter the sciences), also offer a wide breadth of in-person resources that make them worth the visit.
Students can check out the library’s in-person book journal collection and popular archives like the Kitchener-Waterloo Record Photographic Negative Collection. For a more interactive experience, students can attend grad student workshops for inside tips on how to set up their research strategy, partake in a fun scavenger hunt, or even just chat with the library circulation staff themselves who can lead you in the right direction.
If you require individual assistance or expertise for a niche research project, subject librarians — whom Snyder described as the most underutilized tool that people don’t realize — are also available for both in-person and virtual consultations. “Everyone at the library truly loves to help students and make their lives easier.”