ALL ABOUT USU LIBRARY- Utah State University

USU Library welcome to the Utah State University Libraries. As a regional campus, or distance education student, you have access to all the same library resources that students have in Logan. we will introduce you to some of these great resources. As USU students, you will likely be assigned research assignments where you must find articles.


As you might have found by searching for articles on Google, many journal and magazine articles are not freely available online. However, the library has a large collection of journals and articles that you can access online through our library databases. All you need to do to access these sources is to log into the library website with your A-number and banner password. Once you’ve logged in you can view articles from anywhere you have an internet connection.

If you need an article that is not available in full-text online, you can request it through inter library loan and we can email you a PDF copy of the article. Using library databases is a great place to do research for your papers because they not only include peer-reviewed articles or articles written and reviewed by experts in the field day professors are often require, but you can also find current magazine and newspaper articles and even encyclopedia entries for background information. Another resource you will probably need throughout your time at USU is books.


USU library has a large collection of ebooks which you can access by logging in with your A-number and password. You can find ebooks by searching our library catalog located at the top of the library website. The Merrill- Cazier Library, on the Logan campus, will also send you books from our physical collection to your home, free of charge, along with a prepaid return label.

All you need to do to request a book is to log into our inter library loan system and make sure you select distance ed as your campus location. We know that research assignments can be stressful and it can be overwhelming to try to locate relevant information, but as USU students, you have access to many resources that will help make this process less intimidating. On the lower left-hand side of each of your canvas courses is a research help tab. It also provides the contact information for your classes personal librarian who you can set up an appointment with to get help.

If you need quick live assistance from a librarian you can always use our chat box which you can find on the library homepage. Here, you can get help finding and evaluating information sources, integrating library resources into your paper, and more. Finally, if you need additional help, you can always reach out to myself or the distanced library, Erin. We are always happy to help you. Remember, the USU libraries are your libraries, no matter where you are located.


How can librarians at USU help you and your students? Research skills are crucial for student success, yet the majority of first-year students find their research competencies inadequate for college-level work. Our library instruction opportunities go beyond introductory English courses, and help your students across every department and major develop effective research habits, and we have subject librarians for every USU major and field of study, so students get help tailored to their discipline.

We work directly with both instructors and students. Librarians can help instructors by: Working with you to identify your students research needs, then integrating library instruction throughout the course, and by helping you design effective research assignments that align with your student learning outcomes.

Librarians can help students learn to: develop and focus their research questions and topics to find relevant resources, and to evaluate the information to ensure the sources are effective for their research needs, and effectively synthesize information within their assignments. We can also adapt and build instruction for other research goals. It doesn’t matter if your class is face to face, online, or broadcast, librarians can help.


USU library face-to-face classes encourage students to get actively involved through hands-on activities and discussions. In online courses, librarians can create and participate in discussion posts in canvas, create course and assignment specific library research guides, and embed videos and tutorials tailored to your course learning goals.

For broadcast classes we can work with you to incorporate best practices from both our face-to-face and online classes. We can also answer students specific research questions through in-depth individual consultations. No matter your course or assignment librarians are happy to help. Contact the library instruction coordinator or your subject librarian to schedule an instruction session today!


When searching in library databases the terminology you use is important. Databases are not like Google which will pull up millions of results –some of which are relevant –no matter what you search. To search effectively in library databases,you need to have a small group of specific terms or phrases to plug into the database. There are two main strategies for searching in databases –using either keywords or subject terms.

Keywords are any significant words or phrases you can use to describe your topic. This is usually the default option when searching in databases. Subject terms are the specific language or terminology determined by the database to describe a topic.


These are the terms databases use to sort and locate articles–and using them is kind of like using the index at the back of a book. So, when should you use keywords vs. subject terms? Keywords are great place to start if you are beginning searching and want to get familiar with your topic because they are more flexible searches. However, you will often get many irrelevant results. Subject terms are better if you want only relevant articles specific to your topic.

You will typically get more relevant results when using subject terms. That’s because it’s controlled vocabulary for entire topic including any synonyms in a single search.

For example, if you are researching mental illness the designated subject term in the database PsycINFO is actually “mental disorders.” While this term might seem less intuitive it is useful because it will pull up articles that may be tagged with “mental illness”or even specific instances of mental illness such as bi-polar disorder or PTSD.

USU library search

By using the designated subject terminology, you are getting ALL the results in a database related to your topic even when the language authors use vary in one search. Despite their usefulness, subject terms are not something you’ll automatically know. They are formal and differ from database to database.

So, before you begin searching by subject term you need to find the correct term. Let’s say you found an article you like and want to find the subject terms for that topic. If you are searching in an Ebsco database like Academic Search Premiere or PsycINFO you can find subject terms on an article’s record page under “subjects.” Or you can click “thesaurus” at the top of the page and search in the thesaurus to find the correct subject terms for your topic.

Once you know your subject terms you can enter them into the search bar at the top of the page, then select Subjects from the drop-down menu to the right of the search. If you have any questions about using subject terms or keywords remember you can always Ask a Librarian!

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