Did you know that the MacOdrum Library has a YouTube channel? It’s easy to miss, but some of the info there is stuff everyone new to using their services should know.

You’ll find more than just time lapses of their holiday book tree being built and the staff taking on carpool karaoke—the channel is packed with educational content tailored to make your essay-writing life a little easier.

Finding Books

Finding the perfect book goes beyond just typing in a word or two. If you were never acquainted with advanced searches, your go-to should be their video on finding a book in their catalogue. They’ll go over using keywords, modifying search terms, using quotation marks, and sorting by location, language and material type.

Finding Primary and Secondary Sources

To write your essay, you’re going to need sources—sometimes even primary ones.

If you don’t know the first place to look for original documents, a library is a good place to start.

The easiest way to access primary sources is through the MacOdrum website itself. Their video will explain how to search the website for primary sources, what search terms to use to find them—oh, and what a primary source even is.

cartoon of someone thinking and the words "Primary source? Document or physical object created at the time under study" over their head.

The library has a video breaking down how you can find archival materials from Library and Archives Canada and the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec.

If instead you’re more focused on statistics, they have a three-part video series on getting stats off StatsCan that you might want to check out. Afterwards, you can look at their tracking trends series for tips on how to interpret that data—Part One deals with using Twitter, Facebook and Google to track them, while Part Two looks at other websites, like tworowtimes.com

They’ve got you covered for secondary sources too. They’ll show you how to find texts, view previews and search the library like a pro. Chances are you know how to navigate the website by now if you’ve been a student for a while, but if you’ve been avoiding the “databases” tab of the website like me then now might be the time to learn.

Citing Sources

If your professor insists on Chicago Style and you haven’t already Googled “Who would ever use Chicago Style?? Don’t they know this is Canada??” the library’s got you covered. If they insist your bibliography needs to be annotated, you can check that out here.

Just between you and me though, citing books and primary records tend to be a lot more difficult and a lot less rewarding than just finding something online. That’s why their crash course on citing e-journal articles might be something you want to check out.

And for the Chicago Stylers—they’ve got instructions for citing it too.

Of course, if all else fails, you can just watch them interview the late, great Uncle Steven for fifteen minutes—you’ll probably enjoy it more than writing the essay.

by Greg Guevara, Fourth-year Journalism, Carleton

For more articles, see CUOL’s story archive.

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