to Other Libraries
The Reference Desk is the place to begin when you need assistance
in using the Library or in locating material for your research
or information needs. The reference staff can help you master
the complexities of the electronic and print resources which serve
as guides to the library's collections. Whether your need is for
specific information or for advice in developing a term paper,
the staff can assist you in making the fullest use of available
The Reference Desk in the Rockefeller
Library is located on Level 1, straight ahead from the
Library entrance. The Rockefeller Library houses most of the circulating
collections in the humanities and social sciences. The Sciences
Reference Desk is on Level A of the Sciences
Library, one level down from the lobby. The focus of the
Sciences Library is on the physical, biological,and medical sciences.
More specialized reference collections and services are also offered
in the John
Hay Library, the OrwigMusic
Library, the Art
Slide Library, the Demography
Library, and the John
Carter Brown Library. Unless your need for information
is in the sciences, you should begin yoursearch in the Rockefeller
Literature display racks near the public service desks in all
library buildings provide brochures with more detailed information
about the library's facilities, services, and collections. The
publications in these racks are available without charge.
Terminals for accessing
the Brown University Library Online Catalog,
are located near the reference desks of all Brown libraries. Josiah
contains information on over 95% of library holdings. In May,
1989, the Library ceased filing cards in the card catalog, and
Josiah became the primary source of information about newly acquired
library materials. Since neither Josiah nor the card catalog is
complete, you may need to become familiar with both in order to
locate library materials. The card catalog is located on Level
A in the Rockefeller Library Humanities Reading Room.The Reference
Department can provide assistance in using these resources or
in utilizing national databases such as OCLC (Worldcat
) to verify bibliographic citations and to determine which libraries
in the country have added these materials to their collections.
Guide - Sciences Library
Guide - Rockefeller Library
A full-range of electronic services are available to members
of the Brown community. By searching Electronic
Resources, you can find out how to access numerous abstracting
and indexing services provided by the University Library, such
as Medline, PAIS, MLA, OCLC (FirstSearch) databases, Britannica
Online, Oxford English Dictionary, Electronic Journals and Newspapers,
user guides to the databases, news, weather, and much more.
Beyond Brown provides access to internet search services,
library catalogs (U.S. and worldwide), WWW servers, online resources
by subject, Rhode Island internet resources, and links to associations
such as the Boston Library Consortium and Center for Research Libraries.
The reference areas at Rockefeller and Sciences contain most
of the dictionaries, encyclopedias, periodical indexes, abstracting
services, directories, manuals and bibliographies which serve
as guides to the library's resources or which provide factual
answers to commonly asked questions. In both libraries, some of
the most frequently used reference books are adjacent to the desks
and are designated as Reference Desk in the online catalog.
For information on Government Documents at Brown please see our
to Government Documents .
Teaching library users about library research methods and about
the resources available is a major reference responsibility. Reference
librarians are also available for classroom instruction in library
research techniques and resources. Such presentations may include
a library orientation and may be tailored to the particular course;
they are best done as part of a class exercise or assignment.
General orientations and other special needs can be accommodated
by contacting the reference staff.
If you are starting a project, term paper, senior thesis, or
dissertation, and need help, the Reference department offers individualized,
research consultations to work with you to determine what information
the library has about your topic. Techniques about how to think
critically and evaluate information sources, especially electronic
materials, will also be offered. For more information, contact
the Reference department at (401) 863-2167 or email
your question. The library also offers a number of workshops during
the academic year.
Arrangements for borrowing materials not owned by the Brown University
Library may be made by completing an electronic Interlibrary
Loan Request Form.
Items requested should be described as completely and accurately
as possible. Interlibrary loan materials usually require a minimum
of two weeks to arrive at Brown from the lending institution.
More information is available in the Guide
to Interlibrary Loan Services.
Brown University Library belongs to the Boston
Library Consortium. The Consortium was founded in 1970.
Other members include Boston College, the Boston Public Library,
Boston University, Brandeis University, the Marine Biology Library/Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institute, MIT, Northeastern University, the
State Library of Massachusetts, Tufts University, UMass Amherst,
UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, the UMass Medical
Center, and Wellesley College. Brown's membership entitles users
to on-site use of most member libraries and borrowing privileges
for qualified researchers.
Similar resource sharing agreements have been established with
the Rhode Island School of Design. Academic
libraries in Rhode Island allow Brown University students
and faculty on-site access to their facilities with a letter of
referral. Letters of referral for on-site access (not borrowing)
can also be issued for other libraries, such as Harvard. Ask at
the Reference desk in either the Rockefeller or Sciences Library
if you wish to visit these or other institutions.