Who is your librarian?

I am! My name is Ryan Clement, and I am the Data Services Librarian at Middlebury. I’m the librarian for the Economics, Geography, Sociology/Anthropology, and Philosophy departments. I also help people from across the college in working with data, whether it is finding, acquiring, managing, interpreting, analyzing, or visualizing it. I am also the Government Documents librarian and can help with finding and acquiring materials from the US Government.

How can you find your librarian?

You can make an appointment with me by going to http://go.middlebury.edu/ryan/ and clicking ‘Schedule appointment.’ That tool syncs with my calendar, so you don’t have to worry about my availability. All of my other contact info is also on that page.

Where should I look for economic literature?

The top places I would recommend to start looking for economics literature are:

Searching full text in EconLit

Searching full text in EconLit

How do I search these things effectively?

Library catalogs and databases want to balance precision with recall. They want to get you either the exact thing your searching for, or everything on the topic your searching for. Google just wants to get you a good enough answer. Because of this, you can’t search these two things in the same way. While you can type a question into Google, or use misspelled words, or not worry about synonyms, you can’t do these things with library tools.

You need to:

  1. Break your research question/topic into ‘concepts’
  2. Brainstorm keywords for each of these concepts (think about synonyms, and how economists talk about these concepts)
  3. Try out a search, maybe find some papers, read them
  4. Adjust your concepts and your keywords lists
  5. Try another search

As you can see, searching is an iterative process. You will make changes and adjustments and search the literature a number of times. So it is important to keep track of what you’re doing. Keep it in a Word/Google doc, or a text file, or even in a handwritten notebook. Just keep track of it!

Library tools use boolean logic to combine keywords. You can use AND, OR, and NOT (typing them in caps helps the tool know that you’re using them as a boolean operator, not a word).

How do I deal with all of the stuff I find?

In the library, we recommend and support Zotero for citation and research management. You can find information on how to get started and use Zotero in our Research Guide at http://go.middlebury.edu/zotero. You can also contact me for help with using Zotero.