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First Year Experience (FYE): Getting Started

Your Library Account

Already have your Surge Card? That's your Library Card!

Your Surge Card is your passport to checking out library books at the Cincinnati State Library, or for checking out books at ANY participating OhioLINK Library. If you don't have your Surge Card yet, you'll need to go to Student Activities to obtain one. See their web page for details at www.cincinnatistate.edu/on-campus/student-activities/surge-cards.

Accessing Databases

The library gives you free access to to hundreds of databases, making it easy for you to find scholarly articles, credible news reports, online books, & more. Most can be accessed from off-campus by following the links on our site & then entering your name & 7-digit College ID. Not sure what your ID number is? Go to MYCSTATE & use the link for "Look Up Username/Reset Your Cincinnati State Password" to retrieve it. Watch our "Looking Up Your College ID" video for more instructions.

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What type of paper is this? Informative? Argumentative? Research? Creative?
  • What question are you trying to answer?
  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • When is the assignment due?
  • What citation style is required?

Brainstorm your Search Strategy

Boolean Operators

Searching with "AND"
Think of "who, what, when, where, & why" for ways to focus your topic. When you connect keywords with "AND", you will narrow your search because you will only receive results that include BOTH keywords.
Searching with "OR"
Before searching, brainstorm words or concepts that are similar in meaning and use those as search terms. When you use "OR" to connect keywords, you broaden your search because the database will give you results that include either of your keywords.
Searching with "NOT"
When you use "NOT" with your keywords, you narrow your search because your results will exclude any sources including the second keyword.
You can also TRUNCATE
Insert an asterisk (hold the Shift key & the 8 key at the same time) to get results that include all possible endings of a root word. For example:
"symbol*" will retrieve symbol, symbolizes, symbolism, etc.
"devia*" will retrieve deviates, deviant, deviance, etc.

Library News

Upcoming Workshops


COVID

Online Library Open 24/7
Although the physical library is closed, our librarians are still available for virtual help on how to search our 24/7 online resources, including articles, eBooks, & streaming videos!

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Berry Library • Room 170 Main Building • 3520 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45223-2690 • 513-569-1606