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Academic Foundations


Welcome to the Academic Foundations Library Guide! In this guide, you will find resources for conducting research in the library, learn how to research different careers and types of positions, and develop effective searching strategies to maximize the impact of your research. 

Why Use Library Resources?

Given the advent of Google, Wikipedia, and various other online resources, it seems like everything we want to find out already lives just a touch of a screen away. Sadly, that same ease which makes finding information a snap also contributes to its unreliability. Just as easily as you can access the newest tidbit online, someone can add new false information (sometimes intentionally, but often without any ill intent). 

So what are the perks of relying on library resources and databases over some other online tools?

  • We pay so you don't have to! That is to say, that many of the resources that USF provides are not freely available on the general web. Some of the information we provide is available, but your status as a USF student gives you access to various journals, newspapers, magazines, datasets, and scholarly resources that normally cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the general public. Take advantage of this while you're still a student!
  • We have tried to do some of the heavy lifting so you don't have to sift through millions of irrelevant results. We have categorized our resources into subject-specific guides that help you target your research and find those resources that are particularly useful to your research.
  • You are guaranteed a certain level of accuracy and authority with library resources. On the internet, there is no overlord who fact checks or reviews references to make sure that the information being transmitted is reliable. With library resources, however, we do evaluate the credibility of the source to make sure we aren't wasting money on suspect information. 
  • On a more practical level, many professors will require that the information you cite in your papers, projects, and presentations comes from a scholarly source or a trade publication rather than a popular source. Library databases let you parse down your results to make sure you are retrieving exactly what you want to find, and they show you exactly who created that information to boot.