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DIY: Research Help

A continually evolving suite of research help content focused on helping you navigate the research process.

How you access an item that you found depends on two things:

  1. Is it available in one of our library collections?
  2. Is it a physical item or an online item?

No matter the answer to either question, you can usually get access to the item! 

Accessing Online Items

Accessing Physical Items Located in the Library

Due to precautions caused by COVID-19, items in the physical collections housed in the physical Library space are not currently available. For help finding online alternatives, contact a librarian.

Request Items Not in the Library's Collections

Through the Library's ILLiad Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery service, you can request items that our Library doesn't have. We will try to find a library who has the item and get an electronic copy delivered to you when possible or borrow the physical item for you use.

Due to COVID-19 and the precautionary measures in place, requests may take slightly longer to process. Physical items are currently unavailable. We will make every attempt to fill your request with an electronic version of the item where possible. If we are unable to get a specific item, contact a librarian for help in finding an alternate resource.

Video Tutorial:

Learn how to request articles using the Fitchburg State Library's interlibrary loan service. *Due to social distancing measures, we can only guarantee digital articles. Book chapter availability may be limited. No physical materials until safety restrictions are lifted.*

Understanding Citations & Using Them to Find the Original Source

if you have a citation from your professor or from a footnote or a bibliography in another source, the citation should provide all the information you need to find it, even when it is in a citation style you don't know. A citation contains nuggets of information that usually identify:

  • Author/creator
  • Title
  • Publication/production information
    • Books will include the publisher and publisher's location
    • Articles will have a journal title and volume number. They may also have an issue number and page numbers.
  • Other information included changes depending on the type of source and the citation style used.
    • For instance books might have an editor listed, articles might have a DOI number, online documents and digital images might have a web address, etc.

You can use these nuggets to quickly track it down. Here are some citation examples and tips for quickly checking to see if we have it:

Article citations - Identify the title of the Journal, then use our Journal Locator Tool to see if we have it. (Using the Journal Locator Tool). Below is an APA and an MLA citation for the same article showing where you will find the journal title and other nuggets of information.


Image of an APA article citation.

Image of an MLA article citation.

Book citations - Identify the title of the book and type it into the Library Catalog's search box or our Resource Search box on the library's home page. Below is an APA and an MLA citation for the same book showing where you will find the book title and other nuggets of information.


Image of APA book citation.

Image of MLA book citation.