Ask a Librarian

For further help, please contact the library's Reference Department. You may:

* Call 413-755-4549 during library hours.

* Ask a librarian by e-mail. If possible, use your name@student.stcc.edu email, so we can back to you as quickly as possible. Our goal is to respond within 48 hours.



Subject Guide

Ruth Alcabes
Springfield Technical Community College Library
PO Box 9000, Suite 1
Springfield, MA 01102-9000
Building 27, 1st floor
(413)755-4550 (office)
(413)755-4549 (reference desk)


This guide offers a set of pages, accessed on the left, so that you can:

  • Find information for a course assignment.
  • Figure out how to use different types of research materials.

PLEASE let us know if you have questions. Find us by using the contact information in the box at the lower left. All of the Reference Librarians here at STCC are waiting to help you. Good Luck!

Types of Sources

Springfield Technical Community College Library - Types of Resources





Reference Sources







  • Facts
  • Definitions
  • Dates
  • Details
  • Summaries

Not read cover-to-cover

Refer to them for background information and facts on your topic

Helpful when narrowing, broadening or analyzing a topic

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Webster’s Dictionary
  • Maps/Atlases
  • World Almanac









  • Cover almost any topic
  • Fiction or Non-Fiction
  • Found using library Catalog
  • Print or electronic

Gather a lot of information on a topic

Find historical info

Find information you need within a book using the index.


  • First in their hearts: A biography of George Washington by Thomas J. Fleming
  • Gone Girl  by Gillian Flynn

Academic Journals






  • Contain articles written by experts or scholars
  • Peer-reviewed
  • Cover specific topics

Use to find scholarly information

Find out what research has been done on your topic

Read studies or case reports

  • New England Journal of Medicine
  • Journal of the American Ceramics Society
  • Journal of Communication








  • Articles and pictures
  •  Popular topics and current events
  • Written mostly by journalists and sometimes scholars

To find broad information and opinions

Gather timely info on current events and popular culture

  • Time
  • Psychology Today
  • Sports Illustrated
  • People
  • National Geographic








  • Articles written by journalists about current events
  • Typically published daily

National and international info

Local info and events

Editorials and commentaries



  • New York Times
  • Springfield Republican
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Hartford Courant

Web Sources





  • Current
  • Written by anyone
  • Link to related info
  • Sounds, images, video
  • Must be evaluated!

Find government and corporate information


Expert and popular opinions

  • Wikipedia
  • mass.gov
  • hcc.edu
  • oldnavy.com


STCC Library – Spring 2015 – Adapted from Virginia Tech University Libraries

Use the Catalog!

Use your STCC catalog to find the following types of research materials from the STCC collection:

  • books,
  • audiovisual materials (cds, dvds, vhs, etc.)
  • reference books
  • e-materials including films!


Can borrow material from over 100 libraries through the C/W MARS (Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing) system.

If WE don't have an item you want, check other libraries  to get an item shipped here within approximately 4 business days.  AND, there's no charge to you! PLEASE LEAVE ENOUGH TIME TO GET MATERIAL THAT YOU NEED FROM OTHER LIBRARIES.

SEARCH EXAMPLE: Your research topic is  Richie Valens. Use the catalog to find books, CDS and possibly a movie, on him

Start: try a key word search under Richie Valens. 

Use the box below to do a simple keyword search in the STCC catalog (see left sidebar):


When you see something you want, click on the blue text.  This provides information that includes SUBJECT HEADINGS.  These appear at the bottom of the book's information in blue letters and underlined. Ciick on that subject heading for a list of related subject headings, and you can choose the heading you want to see all items in that category.