Some of our quirks

April 22, 2015

After almost four years at the Irvine campus, I am in the process of transferring to our Los Angeles campus library. During the transition, I am spending several days a week at each campus. It has reminded me that while we have in common great students, faculty, and staff, each of our California campuses (and their libraries) has its own quirks.

For example, Irvine’s library is on the top floor of the building (and gets great sunsets!) while LA’s is below ground and reminds me fondly of my old undergraduate dorm. Here are just a quick handful of fun facts about our campus libraries:

  • A popcorn machine occasionally makes appearances in San Diegopopcorn
  • A favorite spot in Irvine for a quick break between afternoon & evening classes is the “napping couch”
  • In Los Angeles, a coffee & tea station keeps students caffeinated all day long
  • San Francisco has hosted art exhibits, allowing visitors to look at more than just books and screensartgallery
  • While studying or browsing the stacks in Fresno, you may come across a (ceramic) cat or two!
  • Sacramento students can check out children’s games, part of the campus’s new Play Therapy Collection

These odds and ends barely scratch the surface of what makes each of our California campus libraries unique. If your travels take you to a different part of the state, come visit and say hello. And let us know: what are your favorite Alliant Library fun facts?



Wait, How Do I…?

April 13, 2015

By Nicole Hughes –


The amount of information available to any person at any given moment is staggering. The amount of ways for any one person to get that information is even more staggering… Are you on your home computer browsing Netflix? On your tablet using a wifi network to check the score of the Giant’s game (hope is wasn’t last Saturday’s)? Out in the middle of nowhere on your cell phone trying to access Google Maps? Did you open Google chrome? Did you ask Siri? Did you type in the website directly?

The internet (including your library databases) can feel like a tangled knot you just aren’t going to get the comb through. Maybe you just give up. Maybe you move on to another site. Maybe you don’t get exactly the information you need. Isn’t there an expert who can guide you through these systems to find the information you need in to fastest way possible… Who would that be? Tech support? Geek Squad?

SURPRISE! As fun as it is to picture us dusting off the shelves, shushing out patrons, and romanticizing the scent of book mold (yes, that is what that distinct book smell is), your librarians are actually experts in the retrieval of information.  Sure, I’ve got my glasses, my stack of books to read and quite a collection of cardigan sweaters, but I am actually more equipped to show you how to find out who played second base for the 1992 Giants, what his batting average was and what his strikeout differential was from 1992-1993 (Robby Thompson, .260, 22), than to suggest something for your summer reading list (though many of us are great at this, too).

Your librarians are here to help you get to the information you need. Got an obscure question? Need to find something that the internet seems to have forgotten? Please bring it to us; this is our version of a treasure hunt. We’re also glad to sit down with you and show you our favorite searching strategies, and how to “think” like a search engine. You’ve got your topic, but the words you will need to use to find information on that topic will vary from Google to Google Scholar to EBSCO to ProQuest. We can help you with that; it’s what we do!

When we’re not here (weekends, 2am, etc.) you can find some of our great guides and tutorials at You can also get there from the library website:–> Research –> User Guides.

Bring us your brainteasers, we are here to help!


Batter Up: An Academic Look at America’s Pastime Through Alliant’s Books and Dissertations

April 8, 2015

Thousands of baseball fans will be turning out at stadiums around the country this week for Opening Day games along with their attendant festivities of ceremonial first pitches. If you’re a dyed in the wool fan of the nation’s pastime who finds yourself unable to attend one of these events, there’s no need to pine away or fret. We’ve got you covered with some heavy hitting immersion in all things baseball. While I can’t guarantee the same exuberance and merriment that a crowd of rabid fellow travelers might offer, our collection of baseball materials will delight in unexpected ways.

You’ll find electronic books that cover legal aspects of the game such as, Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption, by Nathaniel Grow, and those that address discrimination of Japanese Americans, whose players’ love of the game were relegated solely to amateur play as described in Samuel O. Regalado’s Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players From Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues. Segregation of African Americans is the focus of a number of titles, including, Black Baseball, Black Business: Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar, by Roberta J. Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen.

We even have a few hard copies of books geared toward the younger set, including a biography on Willie Mays and historical fiction accounts of Jackie Robinson acting as catalyst for characters’ growth in two titles, Thank you, Jackie Robinson and Bette Bao Lord’s 1984 kid lit classic page turner, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson.

Finally, there is an intriguing collection of Alliant theses and dissertations on the topic of baseball. Interested in delving into the psyche of a baby boomer little leaguer? Try this 1958 thesis, authored by Charles R. Coover of our Cal Western University legacy institution, entitled, A study in the Evaluation of Little League Baseball. Need something a little more contemporary? How about this 2015 dissertation from Alliant San Diego Student, Alix Landon, Acquisition and Effectiveness of Coping Strategies Used by Professional Baseball Players to Manage Anxiety and Attentional Control: A Qualitative Study. The study examines populations of both minor and major league players. How about one from USIU student, Greene Farmer, Jr., whose 1975 study of the segregated “Negro Leagues” is so uniquely distinct that it holds a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum library in Cooperstown, New York. Its title is Social Implications of Black Professional Baseball in the United States. The author played both professional baseball and basketball in an era of segregated teams. His study covers the years 1867-1952.

Whatever your interest in the game is, you can find more titles and resources in the library’s catalog. Type the keyword baseball in the search box. 

Greene Farmer, Jr. sources: Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia and

See the Baseball Hall of Fame catalog entry here


List of Online Journals: Explained

April 1, 2015

Ever noticed the List of Online Journals link under Research at both the top and bottom of the library’s homepage? It’s a pretty handy place to locate an article or book online or browse for journals in your subject area. The relationship between this list and the library catalog can be pretty confusing so here’s a brief explanation. The List of Online Journals is updated continuously as items are added to our online collections so it’s an up-to-date list of online journals and books to which you have access. This information is then added to the library catalog every couple weeks. So, in nearly ever instance, your item will be located in both databases and you can feel free to use whichever one you prefer for your searching.

Using the List of Online Journals is quite straightforward. Start by typing the Title, Publisher, ISSN/ISBN of the journal or book for which you’re searching (or Author if you’re searching for a book specifically).  The search results will display your item along with one or more links to publisher or vendor websites where it’s available. For journals, a date range next to the link shows the years of publication to which we have access. Your article isn’t within that date range? Look to the buttons on the right of each result – specifically the one labeled “Search for journal in paper.” Like the title says, the List of Online Journals only contains those journals (and books) to which we have web access so this button provides a quick link to search the library catalog for a print copy.

The List of Online Journals can also be used to browse for journals in your subject area. In the search results, each journal has a subject listed. Click this and your search will update to a list of all the journals with that subject. Without going into too much librarian terminology, the subjects used here are different from the one in the library catalog so browsing in both places could provide you with more journals to peruse.

Happy searching!


(Other People’s) Dissertations: A Great Research Tool

March 11, 2015

Students starting to work on literature reviews for their own dissertations regularly come to me asking for help in finding some other dissertations to read. Looking at other dissertations can help you get a sense of what approaches and topics are “hot” in your field, provide samples of how other scholars applied the methodologies or assessment tools you plan to use, and even point you in the direction of some of the scholarship that you don’t want to miss. (Remember, virtually all of those dissertations and doctoral projects include literature reviews too!)

There are several ways to find dissertations to help in your research. On simple way to look for Alliant dissertation is to search in the library catalog. Enter a search term (a topic, a methodology, even the author’s name) in the Encore search box on the homepage and then use the Facets (or Limiters) on the left-hand side of the results page to narrow down to Format: Thesis. Many of these can be viewed online, others can be requested and sent to your home campus library for checkout.

Another option for Alliant scholarship? Click on Alliant Theses/Dissertations from the library homepage. This allows you to search by committee member, methodology, or even the statistical analyses or assessment tools used. Just like in the above option, many dissertations are available online, and others can be requested and sent to your campus.

Want more? Don’t forget about ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses database in our list of databases. Here you can find tens of thousands of dissertations and theses, virtually every one published in the United States since 1997 plus many older and some international ones. You can search by keyword just as you would in article databases, or narrow down by institution, subject, and more. For more search tips, check out our guide.

Dissertation writers regularly report back that looking at other dissertations kickstarted their research, or helped when they hit a dead-end. You may have similar luck!

(And of course, once you get going on your own dissertation, check out our Dissertation Clearance guide for formatting and clearance info.)


I-Merit Discussion Groups

March 2, 2015

By Nicole Hughes

The I-Merit groups at each campus offer a variety of activities, informative panels, even food fairs! The Sacramento campus will add to this list informal discussion groups.  I-Merit welcomes suggestions for discussion group topics, as well as volunteers to lead these discussion groups. We have a few slated for this semester, but please join us every other Tuesday in room 9 from 1-2 pm, or contact Dr. Hsieh ( with any questions or ideas. Here’s what we have scheduled so far:

WEDNESDAY 3/18 1-2 pm:  Ferguson

WEDNESDAY 4/1 1-2 pm:  ISIS

***WEDNESDAY 4/15 5-7 pm: Panel- Serving Veterans, Law Enforcement, Military, and their families.

WEDNESDAY 4/22 1-2 pm: Follow up discussion about the Panel

WEDNESDAY 4/29 1-2 pm: Social Media & Diversity 

***Also, please join us for a panel discussion featuring working clinicians who serve veterans, law enforcement, military and their families on WEDNESDAY 4/15 from 5-7 pm.  Contact Dr. Hsieh with any questions (

We hope to see you there and look forward to some lively discussions!


Videos: Alliant’s Moving Images

February 25, 2015

This week’s showing of the Academy Awards got me thinking about Alliant’s extensive video collection. In addition to a multitude of videos on psychology, there is a fine collection of DVDs and VHS tapes on such varied subjects as art, biography, business, education, history, language, life/health and physical sciences, along with some good old-fashioned entertainment and a dash of kid-friendly fare.

From the library’s homepage, you can find video titles in our catalog by going to “Research” and clicking Special Collections. From there, scroll to “Video and DVD Collection by campus” and choose either your home campus or All Locations (most videos can be requested and sent to your home campus).

In keeping with the Academy awards theme, we have a host of Oscar winning films, including: The Aviator (winner of five), Boys don’t Cry (Academy Award Best Actress, Hilary Swank), Brokeback Mountain (winner of three, including Best Director), Crash (Oscar, Best Picture), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon = Wo Hu Zang Long (four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film), Defending Our Lives (Short Documentary, 1993), The Killing Fields (three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor, Haing S. Ngo), King Gimp (Best Documentary Short, 1999), The King’s Speech (several awards, including Best Picture and Actor, Colin Firth), Music by Prudence (Best Documentary, Short Subjects, 2010), and Trevor (Academy Award winner for Best Live Action Short, 1994).

Other award winning films that didn’t make the Oscar cut include: The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed movie, Amores Perros (BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, 2002); the Peabody Award winning history of the representation of gay men and lesbians in motion pictures, The Celluloid Closet (1996); and the classic multiple point of view, Rashomon (Golden Lion Award, Venice Film Festival, 1951).

For popcorn fun, romance, adventure or guilty pleasure, there are several titles to choose from, including: The Brothers Grimm, The Da Vinci Code, Finding Neverland, House of Flying Daggers, The Hunger Games, The InternationalLike Water for Chocolate, Lost in Translation, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Must Love Dogs, Napoleon Dynamite, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Though if you absolutely, positively need to view a video right now, see our database list of streaming videos. The emphasis of these leans heavily toward psychology.

Finally, if mergers and acquisitions are your thing or if strategic planning really floats your boat, then you’ll need to head on over to Business Source Complete (EBSCO) for the Harvard Business Video Collection. Once you’re in the database look at the top center of the page and click “More” for a pull down menu. Click “Images/Business Videos.” On the new page, under “Limit your results” be sure to limit your search to “Business Videos” (uncheck “Image Quick View Collection”). Type in your search term and you’re on your way to viewing pleasure.