Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well.
- Mark Twain (though he satirically attributed it to Benjamin Franklin)
The Oxford English Dictionary defines procrastination as “the action or the habit of postponing or putting something off,” and the word itself is derived from Latin meaning “to put off for tomorrow.”* Most of us do give in to some level of procrastination; students and writers are especially predisposed (this blog author included). We all do our best to start our research early but when that does not happen the library is here to help.
Here are the top go-to research tools and resources I recommend for authoritative research when time is truly of the essence. You can immediately use each of these resources with your library card, anywhere you have internet access.
GVRL is my top recommended resource for immediate research on a variety of topics, including research in biography, business, culture, education, health information, history, religion, science and general reference. It is a collection of more than 1,400 e-books and databases from encyclopedias to biographies. Each article is available to read immediately online or can be downloaded as a PDF to be viewed as they appear in the print edition. Citations indicate the articles are from actual books or encyclopedias (digital and print) and include page numbers. You can tell your professor or teacher, “Yes these are actual books!”
Do you need access to primary resources? Are you writing a persuasive essay or on a debate team? May I strongly recommend Opposing Viewpoints in Context? This invaluable research tool provides information and discussion about current topics in the news. Importantly it includes arguments from different points of view. From police violence to drug abuse, or gun rights and gun control; Opposing Viewpoints is the place to go for all sides of an issue. The resources provided are overflowing: video and audio clips, magazine and newspaper articles, academic journals, images, and primary resources. In addition, there are original persuasive pieces called “Viewpoint essays” that clearly lay out one side of an issue and provide a list of books and periodicals for further reading.
The last resource to have at the ready when you are done procrastinating is eLibrary. This is a perfect resource for getting an overview of a topic. Having trouble deciding what to focus on? Right away eLibrary asks, “Starting a Research Paper? Find your Research Topic here” and then provides a link to a list of possible topics linked to a wide range of resources. With one search you can find information in books, journals, and the media; in print, audio, or video. Like GVRL and Opposing Viewpoints, eLibrary also provides citations . You can email yourself any of the resources you find for later review.
Would you like more assistance?
Don’t hesitate to contact an information professional (that’s us!) and we can help you navigate these or any other of our many research tools and resources. For the most immediate assistance (who knows, your homework might be due tomorrow) come see us at any of our 19 library locations, call Information services at 503.988.5234 anytime during Central Library’s business hours, or chat with a librarian 24 hours a day. You can even text us! If you have a little bit more wiggle room on your deadline (i.e. not due tomorrow) you can also send us an email or request to book a librarian for one-on-one help with your research at any library location.
No matter when or how you request it, we will be happy to help!
* - “Later,” by James Surowiecki. The New Yorker, 10/11/2010.