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Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library

This guide discusses understanding information sources, formulating a topic and search phrase, where and how to search the library for information, how to evaluate sources, how to cite sources, and more.

Ask a Librarian


The Wolak Learning Center (Campus) or Academic Support Center (Online) provides tutoring services to SNHU students:

Wolak Learning Center

The Wolak Learning Center provides campus students with a variety of services including peer tutoring and walk-in tutoring. Visit them on the second floor of the Wolak Library Learning Commons or contact them at 603.645.9606 or

Online Writing Center 

All SNHU students, including online and evening students, enrolled in a writing intensive class may use SmarThinking--a free online tutoring service. COCE students can also access the Academic Support Center (OWC) for a number of writing resources. Contact them at

Glossary of Library Terms

Use this glossary of common library terms to familiarize yourself with some of the words and phrases you may hear or see while searching in library resources or speaking with a librarian. For a more extensive glossary, check out Library Lingo from Colorado State University.

Glossary of Library Terms
Boolean Operators Words like AND, OR, and NOT which are used in database searches to help narrow down or broaden search results. For more information on Boolean Operators and Boolean Searching (that is, searching using Boolean Operators),see: FAQ: What is boolean searching and how can I use it?
Call Number A series of numbers and letters that are assigned to each library material. Call numbers are used to organize and categorize library materials so that materials on similar topics will be found near each other on the shelves. FAQ: What is a call number?
Citation The basic information about a material such as title, author, publisher, etc.
Database A collection of sources available and search-able online. Databases can include journals, ebooks, reviews, government documents, and more. Some databases are very subject specific (they only include sources about one or two subjects) while others can be very broad (they include sources about a number or all subjects). A-Z Database List.
Full Text The entire article or material.
Interlibrary Loan A service whereby patrons can request books, articles, and other materials from other libraries. For more information, check out the Interlibrary Loan page.
Journal A periodical which is usually more scholarly than a magazine. Journals may or may not be peer-reviewed.
Magazine periodical which is less scholarly than a journal.
Online Book Catalog Shapiro Library's online system for helping patrons find books and other library materials. Specifically, the online book catalog helps patron's find materials that are physically owned by the library, but some electronic resources can be found using the online book catalog as well. Online Library Catalog to view the Online Library Catalog.
Peer Reviewed Journals or other materials which have gone through a rigorous editorial process by subject experts. Journals or other materials which are peer-reviewed are scholarly. FAQ: What is a peer reviewed journal?
Primary Source An original material or first-hand account. FAQ: What is a primary source?
Secondary Source A material which is once-removed from a primary source; a second-hand account or critique of an event or topic. FAQ: What is a secondary source?
Stacks The main bookshelves in the library.

Adapted from:
Lederer, N. (2013, July 23). Glossary of Library Terms. Colorado State University Libraries. Retrieved January 18, 2014, from​

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a free cooperative service between libraries that provides current SNHU students, staff, faculty, and faculty emeritus access to books, articles, and other materials that Shapiro Library does not own.

Please follow these steps to request a book, book chapter, or article the library does not own through Interlibrary Loan:

  1. Log in to your Interlibrary Loan account using your MySNHU username and password.
  2. In the Interlibrary Loan Main Menu, choose the type of item you want to request: book, article or book chapter, or other.
  3. Fill out the request form with a clear citation. The more accurate the information you provide, the faster you will receive your item!
  4. Click "Submit Request." You're done! You will receive an email when your item arrives.

For more information, please view our Policies and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Improving Your Reading Strategies/Skills

There are several ways you can improve your reading skills or strategy. The following list is some example ways you can improve your reading:

  • Take notes while reading
  • Try reading aloud
  • Re-read books and other materials to gain fluency
  • Try breaking your reading into small chunks
  • Connecting what you're reading to your real life
  • Get help from a tutor, peer, or adviser

One popular way to increase your reading comprehension and retention is by using the SQ4R strategy. S4R stands for: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review, & Reflect.

This strategy involves readers Surveying the text, turning what you've read into Questions, Reading the answers to your questions, Reciting what you've read aloud, Reviewing what you've read, and Reflecting on what you've learned.

Troubleshooting & Accessibility

Are you having trouble accessing library resources? Try one of the following resources to help you troubleshoot the problem and get assistance:

Career Resources

The library provides access to a number of books, databases, and other resources to assist you in finding a career. Check out the links below or visit our Career Resources guide for more information.

Tools for Taking Notes

Tools for taking notes can help you record, organize and manage notes for class and projects. Try one of the following tools for taking notes:

Flash Card Makers

Flash card makers can help you organize and keep track of notes or presentation topics, study vocabulary, math, etc. and more. Try one of the following flash card makers:

Assignment Calculators

Assignment calculators can help you organize and keep track of your assignments. Try one of the following calculators:

More Tools

Shapiro Library has a list of popular tools on the Technology Tools page.

The intention of this page is to help SNHU students, faculty, and staff find tools and resources to help them in presentations, group projects, etc. Most tools and resources provided here have not been thoroughly tested or evaluated by a librarian--it is up to the student, faculty, or staff member to determine if tools and resources provided here are appropriate for academic use.