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Conjoined responses here.
>In the old days, when the local library had 'special interest' magazines, the
>staff were popular. Nowadays, with interlibrary loans, even books have become
>unavailable. Oh, there are sightings occasionally, and a few calls will find
>someone who once held the book in their hands. S/he is able to remember the
>experience pretty clearly, unless it was a different book with a similar
>I recommend used book stores; some professor has made any interesting book
>(often his/her own) required reading, and the available copies are usually in
>mint condition. (Even the exceptions are worthwile because they show why your
>predecessor with the book did not do well in the course. People who do well
>keep the book.)
>Anyway, with a university library, a friendly staff member will let you know
>when the faculty is finished and you can intercept it. Just don't let other
>students see you, or you will be befriended yourself.
Generally, when what I need is gone, I politely ask if I can borrow it long
enough to copy what I want. Such requests are almost always honored,
provided (a) the borrower isn't in the middle of using it right then and
there, and (b) you plan to go straight to the copier with it. (I have no
doubt that someone will respond with the memory of a negative experience -
Dr. X just wouldn't let me see it, no matter how much I begged on my hands
and knees. There are greedy people in all walks of life, and academia is
no exception. But as a rule, when resources are limited and requests are
not unreasonable, compromise is the rule and not the exception.)
This can be more difficult with books than with journal articles, but I've
usually been able to come up with a compromise when a real need arises.
Moreover, nearly all academic libraries have strict policies against
letting new books and journals circulate outside the library, as long as
they're on the new book shelf. This period will vary from one library to
the next. This is why knowing the date of new journal addition is valuable
knowledge indeed. And if more than one person wants a copy of the article,
we sometimes join forces and make multiple copies on the spot - saves time.
In this sense, "being befriended" is not a bad thing at all.
>Go to university library or museum library. And know what you want, or you'll
I respectfully disagree. Some of my most valuable discoveries have come
from blindly flipping through journals in a library.
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605