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Library Research Guide

How do I locate appropriate resources?


Automated Library Catalogs

Our Automated Library Catalog is available on the SGF Library Web Page and may be searched from any computer with Internet Access. Included on this page is the Senior High Catalog, WSWHE BOCES Catalog that includes the holdings of every school library and you may request any material located within this catalog by asking the Librarian or Library Staff to borrow it for you. Also included on this page is the online catalog for Crandall Library, ACC Library, the NY State Library and Cadillac that contains the holdings of all libraries in the Capitol District area.

Dewey Decimal Classification

The books in our library are arranged by the Dewey Decimal Classification System. This system places all books on the same subject together under the same numbers. Books are classified into 10 main groups as shown below:

001-099 General Works 400-499 Language 800-899 Literature
100-199 Philosophy 500-599 Pure Science 900-999 Geography & History
200-299 Religion 600-699 Technology 920 Collective Biography
300-399 Social Sciences 700-799 Arts 921 Individual Biography

Call Numbers

This is the group of numbers and letter that is assigned to each book and serves as a key to locating it on the shelves. The call number is located at the base of the spine on each book.


The call number consists of the Dewey Number and the first three letters of the author’s last name. These books are shelved by their numbers and then alphabetically by the author. If there is more than one book by the same author with the same Dewey Number then those books are alphabetical by title.

Individual Biographies all are given the Dewey Number 921 plus the first three letters of the subject’s last name. These books are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person written about in the biography.

Fiction books are given the prefix Fic and then the first three letters of the author’s last name. These books are shelved alphabetically by the author’s last name and then by title if there is more than one book published by the same author.

Reference Books have the prefix Ref before the Dewey Number and are located in the Reference section and are arranged in the same order as the nonfiction books. The Reference Books do not circulate and are located in front of the circulation desk.


The South Glens Falls High School Library currently purchases or utilizes free databases provided by the NY State Library and makes them available for all students on the library website. Magazines, Reference Books and Encyclopedias with reliable information are contained within these databases that are searchable from any computer with Internet access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Passwords and Usernames are available from the library in order to search outside of the school.

Searching the Internet

Search Engines

Google is a search engine that is created by software programs that “crawl” the Web looking for new Web pages. There are no editors selecting the pages based on quality.

Search Directories

Web sites are selected by editors and listed by subject headings. Editors often have a list of criteria for deciding which sites are good enough to be included in their directory. These contain a limited number of sites.

Meta Search Tools

These tools send your search request out to many search engines and subject directories and bring back top results from each one. The results may be merged or listed separately from each source.

Google (

Google lists results based on the number of other pages linking to it and the importance of those pages that are doing the linking.

Search features

  • The help screen may be accessed by clicking on more and then the Help Center on the left of the screen.
  • Use quotes for phrase searching. (e.g. “new york city”)
  • Searches are not case sensitive and all search terms are viewed as lower case. ( soUth hiGH would be viewed as south high)
  • Advanced Search: You can reach the advanced search page by clicking on advanced search located to the right of the text box.
  • You may search using keywords for pages that:
    • contain ALL the search terms you type in
    • contain the exact phrase you type in
    • contain at least one of the words you type in
    • do NOT contain any of the words you type in (ex. Kennedy not John)
  • You may search for specific file formats such as Excel, Word, Power Point or PDF.
  • May limit search by domain (e.g. gov, edu or com)

Google Image Search

Over 390 million images are indexed by keyword in the file names, and words near the pictures.

Google News

Google News gathers stories from more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide, and automatically arranges them to present the most relevant news first. Topics are updated every 15 minutes. You can receive updates of various sections of Google News by subscribing to RSS in your favorite feed reader.

Google Froogle

Online shopping!

Google Special Searches

Google Government

Available under the special searches heading and will return results from government sources such as Thomas, Findlaw, and all government offices.

Google University Search

Links to all colleges and universities. What a great place to send students who are college searching!

Google Earth

Great satellite views of the earth from a distance and also close up views of your home or school.

Google Blog Search

Indexes blog entries.

Google Book Search

Type the title of a book and this site will give you the information necessary to purchase the book or borrow it from a library. Snippets of the book are included when permission has been given to google by an author or publisher. Full text of a book will be available when the book is out of copyright.

Search Directories

Librarians’ Internet Index ( This is wonderful resource to use when searching for the best Internet site on almost any subject. Over 17,000 Internet resources that have been selected and reviewed by Librarians!

Internet Public Library ( A collection of reference resources arranged in broad subject categories. Includes links to dictionaries, encyclopedias and has a form that allows students to submit research questions.

Library of Congress ( This site includes a wealth of information including many of the archived collections of the library that have been digitalized and are very easily searchable on this site. It also includes links to country information and Thomas which is the web site of our federal legislature.

Artcyclopedia (http:/ Comprehensive index of every artist represented at hundreds of museum sites, image archives, and other online resources

Awesome Library ( ) Awesome Library organizes the Web with 28,000 carefully reviewed resources, including the top 5 percent in education.

Meta Search Tools

Dogpile ( It now covers the “big 4” Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and MSN.

Ixquick ( Ranks the top 10 results from the search engines it covers.

Clusty ( a metasearch for the Web that includes images, blogs, news, shopping and more


Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser.

Wikipedia ( Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia on the Internet that is written collaboratively by people from all around the world. The site is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit entries simply by clicking on the edit this page link.

Advantages: Wikipedia being webbased and having a very large number of writers and editors often provides access to subject matter that is otherwise inaccessible. It produces articles about newsworthy events within days of their occurrence. As Wikipedia is a collaborative, ongoing project, one may also ask questions of an article’s authors. Due to its extensive hyperlinks usage wiki can be an excellent guide to other related material, both on and off Wiki.

Disadvantages: Wikipedia’s openness means that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state: for example it could be in the middle of a large edit or it could have been recently vandalized. While blatant vandalism is usually easily spotted and rapidly corrected, Wikipedia is certainly more subject to vandalism than a typical reference work.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. The most obvious form of intellectual theft is copying the work of someone else in its entirety, but another type is to include portions of another’s work within your paper without giving proper credit.

You can avoid plagiarism by learning how to paraphrase, summarize and include direct quotes within your paper with proper documentation and to give credit for all the resources that you consulted by always including a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. The following pages will give you the guidelines necessary to write a paper and avoid the pitfalls of unintentional plagiarism.

How do I Paraphrase, Summarize, Quote?

It hath been stolen!
Alert owners view snatched works
To court, in lawsuit!
–Cousin Tser

A Paraphrase is…

Your rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.

One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.

A more detailed restatement rather than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.

Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because…

It is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.

It helps you control the temptation to quote too much.

The mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.

5 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.

Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a keyword or phrase to indicate the subject of your a paraphrase.

Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

Record the essential note card information.

Some examples to compare

The original passage:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2 nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

A legitimate paraphrase:

In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

A plagiarized version:

Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

A Summary is…

Your interpretation of what someone else presented.

One valid tool for borrowing from a source.

A concise way to present a breadth of knowledge.

4 Steps to Effective Summarizing

Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

Set the original aside, and write your summary on a note card.

Jot down a few words below your summary to remind you later how you envision using this material.

Record the essential note card information.

An acceptable summary:

Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

A Quote is…

Presenting exactly what is said.

Valid presentation of material.

Useful in small doses.

4 Steps to Effective Quoting

Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

Record exactly the quote on a note card.

Jot down a few words below your quote to remind you later how you envision using this material.

Record the essential note card information.

An acceptable quote:

James D. Lester claims, “students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper” (46)

Parenthetical Documentation

The South Glens Falls Central School District has adopted the MLA guidelines as the primary research format. Some of the Science and Social Science classes may use the APA Style and appropriate style sheets will be made available at that time.

When writing a paper it is assumed that you have researched your topic and have located information from several sources and have given detailed information about those sources in your Works Cited page at the end of your paper.

Even though you have written the paper in you own words the information was supplied by someone else and within your paper you must also indicated which source and on what page the information you used is located.

General guidelines to follow when using parenthetical citations:

If the information is of general knowledge (the identical information is found in several sources) and you have not quoted directly, you need not cite the source.

When using a direct quote you must use parenthetical citation.

When the information was supplied by a single source also use parenthetical citation.

Information Required In Parenthetical Documentation

The Parenthetical Citation comes at the end of a sentence or paragraph but before the final punctuation.

To acknowledge a source using the parenthetical citation method, enclose a brief note in parentheses. The note usually consists of an author’s name and a page number.

Remember that the information in your parenthetical citation must match the information in your works cited.


Basic citation – a quote:

“Food additives are an integral part of the American food chain” (McCoy 64).

Basic citation with the author’s name in the text. If the name of the author is included within the text then give only the page number.

George Will reported that in 2002 Internet gambling surpassed pornography to become the Internet’s most lucrative business (92).

Citation by an author who has more than one work listed in the Works Cited. If the list of Works Cited contains more than one work by the same author, then include the first word of the title, always dropping a, the or an if they happen to be the first word.

McDonald’s has expanded their fast food empire to more than 120 countries (Schlosser Fast 229).

Citation of a work by two or three authors. When citing a work by two or three authors, give the authors’ last names and page number.

Over the years the number of daily newspapers has steadily declined (Hamilton and Krimsky 25).

Citation of a work by more than three authors. When citing a work by more than three authors just give the last name of the first author followed by et al. and the page number.

It is believed that due to the evolutionary changes in our diet with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry has led to many of the chronic diseases of our Western World ( Cordain et al. 14).

Citation of more than one page. When citing information that was obtained from more than one page, use a hyphen to separate the numbers unless the pages are nonconsecutive.

Glaciers can be categorized into two main types, continental glaciers and valley glaciers ( Mahaney 203-205).

Citation of a long quotation. If a Quotation runs more than four lines then it needs to be set off from your text. Begin a new line, indenting one inch from the left margin, typing in double-spaced without adding quotation marks. Place the citation after the end punctuation.