Resources on campus have shifted significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moving all classes online. The Kresge Engineering Library staff has been hard at work moving even more content online. This week on The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer we’ve invited Kresge Engineering Librarians Lisa Ngo and Anna Sackmann to tell us more about the library and what resources it offers to UC Berkeley students. Don’t think that just because you aren’t on campus you don’t have access to your librarians to ask questions, and you also have full access to their online catalog of books, articles, videos and workshops.
- UC Berkeley library
- Kresge Engineering Library
- Engineering Library Services
- Study Room Reservations
- Library Workshops
- Research Help
- Library Catalog
Laura Vogt: Hello, and thank you for tuning into this week’s (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. My name is Laura Vogt. I’m the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications in the College of Engineering, and your podcast host. Today, I’m excited to introduce two of our engineering librarians, Lisa Ngo and Anna Sackmann. Thank you both for joining us.
Lisa Ngo: Thanks for having us.
Anna Sackmann: Thank you.
Laura Vogt: So Lisa, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what your role is at UC Berkeley.
Lisa Ngo: Sure. I’m one of the engineering librarians. So I sit over at the Kresge Engineering Library and Bechtel Engineering Center. Well right now, I’m sitting at home. But normally, we’re at the library and I’m around to give support to the students and the faculty and staff in anything library research related that they have questions about.
Laura Vogt: Well thank you so much for joining me today. And Anna, your turn. Can you tell us about yourself and your role at UC Berkeley?
Anna Sackmann: Sure. I’m also with Lisa at the Engineering Library. But again, today I’m also at home and probably will be for a while. But I also provide support for students in the College of Engineering. And then I also work with our research data management program and I’m teaching students and researchers how to manage all of their data and [inaudible 00:01:15].
Laura Vogt: Well again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I wanted to talk about the resources the library has to offer our students. You both mentioned that you’re having to work from home right now. So I know during our non-COVID time on campus, the library was a fantastic place to study and have group meetings and so many more things. How has that changed? And I want to talk about how that’s changed and for students to understand that there’s still so many resources that are available in our online environment. Let’s start off with where can students go to find resources?
Lisa Ngo: So I can take that question. The best place to start for library resources is the library’s website. So that’s just lib.berkeley.edu. And we’ve got a couple of tools on that site that can help students get started. One of them is called Start your Search, and that’s like Google search for the library. So it helps you find articles, books, maps, videos, these are all in that Start your Search tool. The other thing that we have on the library website is subject specific resources. So if you’re looking for more specialized information, you can check out one of those guides and it can help you locate resources that are more specialized for your specific research topic.
Laura Vogt: Is there anything that students need to do to access the online resources?
Anna Sackmann: Yeah, I’ll address that. So we have a couple of different options. Students need to make sure that they have their CalNet ID and their username and passphrase. And they can access resources by using our VPN or the easy proxy. And we’ll provide a link to both of those modes of accessing on the podcast home page. The VPN has really explicit instructions that you need to follow in order to log in. Both are really easy to use, and they’re really fast to get up and running.
Laura Vogt: So let’s get more into what exactly is available in there. So what type of eBooks can students have access to?
Lisa Ngo: So let’s see, we’ve been buying millions of eBooks over the years and it’s paying off now that everything’s online. So for popular titles, like popular fiction, nonfiction, we have this product called OverDrive and some students might be familiar with it already with their local public library. But we have OverDrive now, so that’s a good place to look for popular titles. We also have a lot of books in all disciplines. So some textbooks as well as a lot of online books for learning new programming languages, software, hardware. So a lot of resources for students if they want to learn something new and dig into something that they’ve never had a chance to experience before.
Laura Vogt: And what support is there for anyone that’s doing research?
Anna Sackmann: Well any student can meet with us this fall, either over video, or we do a lot of help over email, just getting started with the research process. We also have online chat reference that students can utilize as well. We can talk through topics with you, help you get searches up and running and make sure that you’re finding a lot of the resources that you need. We also provide some support with writing. So if you need to write a paper or a lab report in LaTeX, we have a platform called Overleaf that you can use. And then we also provide support with a number of different citation managers like Zotero or Mendeley, so that you can keep all of your resources well-organized.
Laura Vogt: Oh, I didn’t realize that it could help with writing. That’s awesome.
Anna Sackmann: Yeah.
Laura Vogt: When you were talking about the things that students can access online, is it their online streaming media that through any of the college accounts?
Lisa Ngo: Yeah. So we don’t just buy books. The library collects a lot of other things as well that can help support students with their research and learning. So we have access to LinkedIn Learning, which is a platform that provides a lot of videos for learning about all things like leadership, management, you can check it out. Intro to Excel, it’s got almost everything if you want to learn something new. We also have access to a product called Kanopy, which has a lot of popular movies, it has world cinema, documentaries, BBC documentaries I think as well, PBS documentaries. It has a lot of content in there. And that’s just streaming video. We also get the Journal of Visualized Experiments. So you can see what happens in the lab in real time on the screen. And also ASCE has gotten free student accounts for all Berkeley students with your Berkeley email address to use the New York Times online, and Wall Street Journal online. So you can get unlimited access to those resources as well. So we get lots of things in addition to books.
Laura Vogt: Oh, that’s great. Is there a way for any students to access any articles or textbooks that might not be found online?
Anna Sackmann: That’s a really good question. So right now, we are planning a curbside pickup service for students who are able to visit campus. And [inaudible 00:06:33] that might change as local conditions change. But if you have questions about any specific resource, please feel free to reach out to one of the librarians.
Laura Vogt: You’ve talked a couple of times that they could reach out to librarians for any of their research questions and support, and even for these meetings. How do they do that?
Lisa Ngo: Yeah, we’re always here to help you. You can reach out through email, you can make an appointment with us through the website and we’ll include a link for that so you can get to that appointment page. And we can also connect you to other specialists as necessary. So if it turns out we can’t help you with your particular question, we can definitely connect you with somebody else, either in the library or on campus who might be able to work that out with you.
Laura Vogt: I know librarians are awesome at finding answers, whether they’re the ones that have it, or if somebody else does.
Lisa Ngo: That’s true.
Anna Sackmann: We try hard.
Laura Vogt: And do you have any plans to offer workshops online this semester?
Anna Sackmann: Yeah, we do. So this semester, we’re planning on offering an intro to LaTeX so you can learn the syntax and how to write papers and other documents in LaTeX. We’ll also be offering a workshop on citation management and how to select this offer that’s going to work best for you. And then we’re also planning a new series called Data Analysis Competencies for undergraduates in the College of Engineering who want to get started with some basic data analysis and programming skills. So we have quite a lot going on this semester, but we encourage you to sign up for the library workshops newsletter to stay up to date on all the library workshops that are being offered around campus for undergraduates, and we’ll provide a link for that.
Laura Vogt: So you mentioned the newsletter. Is there any other place that students should go to get the most up to date information about the library services?
Lisa Ngo: The library has what we’re calling the COVID Portal, which is the website that has the most up to date information. So you can find out things about when locations are scheduled to be open or the curbside pickup services. Those will all be posted on that COVID site.
Laura Vogt: And is there anything that I haven’t asked that you want to add about your library services?
Lisa Ngo: I think that hopefully once we’re open again, we’re hoping that students, they’ll come and check out our physical spaces. We’ve always been really the love space on campus for students to gather and meet with their friends and make those social connections. And that’s hard to do online, but we’re hoping that once we’re open again in person, that people will come and visit us.
Anna Sackmann: And I’ll just add that our job is to help you. So don’t feel like you’re bugging us if you send us an email or schedule a meeting with us.
Laura Vogt: Excellent. Well thank you both so much for coming on the podcast today.
Lisa Ngo: Thanks.
Anna Sackmann: Thank you.
Laura Vogt: And I know this semester is going to look so incredibly different than what we’ve known before. And my hope is that students realize the resources and support that we still have here for them and that everyone wants them to be successful. And so we’re going out of our way and trying to come up with ways to do that. And thank you everyone for tuning in to the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. I look forward to podcasting with you next week. Bye.