Mummies, Famous Art Heists, and Pigeon Policy

The spookiest month of the year is here, and with the month of October comes crisp fall air, pumpkin spice flavored foods, and midterm papers and projects. While we hope you’re enjoying all things fall, we’d like to remind you that we’re here to help you with all things research. Just take a look at some of the intriguing topics we helped our patrons find information on lately.

  • Vegan consumerism
  • Women’s rights in India
  • Impact of exposure radiation on healthcare providers
  • British obsession with mummies
  • Synthetic marijuana use among college students
  • City of Chicago’s pigeon policy
  • Sexual harassment in workplace
  • Social networks among homeless population
  • Famous art heists of the 1990s
  • Flood mapping
  • Market research for the U.S. cookie market
  • Smart vending machine market

As evident from this varied list, there’s no topic too spooky for us to tackle at the Research Help Desk!

Here’s an in-depth look at a research question we helped one of our patrons find scholarly information about recently through our instance messaging service.

Question: I’m looking for resources, mainly research articles, to help with a presentation in my environmental science class. The topic is surrounding green building. The point of the class is looking at possible ways to reduce the impacts of global warming. Any tips?

Answer: The best place to start is our Research Guides, and more specifically our Environmental Science & Studies Research Guide where you can find a list of databases under the “Articles” link. The biggest and most useful database for your topic would be Environment Complete, but you can actually search across that database and several others at the same time.

Choosing the right keyword is important when searching a database. One phrase that you could use that resonates very well with the language the database uses is “sustainable buildings.” I’d also recommend limiting your publication dates to just a few years (e.g. since 2013), because there’s been a lot of change in this area in the last few decades.

There’s an enormous amount of literature on this topic, so you will need to narrow your search even more. One way would be to think of an additional aspect you’re interested in such as type of building (e.g. offices, commercial, retail, educational, etc.). Another aspect might be the energy efficiency of the buildings or you could look at physics and energy transfer characteristics of the building materials (e.g. solar heating, insulation, materials, glass).

Another hot topic for green/sustainable buildings is “green roofs.” This link shows you search results for green roofs: http://bit.ly/2NSa7YR I limited the results to the past five years and scholarly journal publications. The key is to experiment with your keywords and use other key terms that express the aspects of your main topic that you’re interested in the most.

Just as we enjoyed helping this patron, we would love to help with any research needs you may have as well. You don’t even have to visit us in person to get research help. Through our Ask a Librarian service, you can call, text, email, or chat with us about your research needs. You can also make one-on-one appointments with our research librarians to get in depth research help on your topic. How spooktakular is that? Thanks for reading and happy fall.

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