St. Bonaventure University

Library Guide for Graduate Online Learners

Start your research by using the Library's home page: 

Welcome!  This guide will provide you with an overview of the library resources and services that are available to you. Everything you will need to know to get started is on the page, so you can bookmark or print it for future reference as needed.   

Assistance When & Where You Need It

Ask Us 24/7 Virtual Reference Logo


The #1 library fact that we hope you will always remember is that the library is here to help you.  Any time you have a question, please ask us!  There are many ways to contact the library:

  • Ask Us 24/7--an online chat service, staffed by librarians from SBU and partner libraries so that it can be available 24/7.  You can receive assistance with searching, simple log-in issues, and more through this service.
  • Call the SBU Reference Desk at 716-375-2164.  If you need to leave voice mail, someone will call you back within two hours when the library is open, up through 10:00 p.m. 
  • E-mail an SBU Reference Librarian at  Someone will e-mail you back within two hours when the library is open, up through 10:00 p.m. If you contact us in the middle of the night, we will e-mail you back right away the next morning.
  • Visit the library--you are always welcome to visit our beautiful facility whenever you are in the area.


Research Services Overview

In the middle of the library's home page, you can find the research menu that you will use throughout your program. An image of this menu is shown below. Each of the tools is then explained beneath the image. [Please note that this is an image of the menu--the links are not active in this image.]

Image of library research tool links


SBU Discovery Tool

The SBU Discovery Tool is a great resource when you want to get a quick overview of the literature for a given topic.  It searches multiple library databases* in one search, including the library's online catalog and its e-book collection.

As a graduate student who usually will need more in-depth searching, you will also want to utilize the databases in your field, in addition to the Discovery Tool.


Articles and Databases

As an undergraduate, you no doubt utilized the databases at your library.  You will find that our library has databases that you might already be familiar with, as well as some that will be new to you.  All databases work in generally the same manner--there is a search box where you type in the keywords for the information you need.  If you are having difficulty generating keywords, a librarian can assist you.

Databases also have advanced search screens, and many have a subject index or thesaurus that can be useful in locating materials by subject.  Even if you have never used a particular database before, you have the skills from using other databases to give it a try.  

To use any of the library's databases, click on the link entitled "Articles and Databases."

Databases that students in business and integrated marketing communications fields find most useful include the following:

  • Academic Search Complete--a general database that covers just about every field. With your research, you often need information from fields other than your own as well.  This database has an abundance of scholarly articles, many in full-text.
  • ProQuest Central Research Library--another general database with coverage for many fields.  The databases in this resource also have additional newspaper and trade journal content that you will find useful for market research studies. The ProQuest Central Research Library includes the ABI/Inform Dateline, Global, and Trade & Industry databases, as well as Hoover's Company Records.
  • Business Source Complete--an excellent database for business and communications research.  Many of the most important scholarly business journals are included in this database, which contains articles from as far back as 1886.  You can also find company information, such as MarketLine reports, in this database (under the "More" tab--"Company Profiles.")
  • Business Insights:  Essentials--contains content formerly found in the Business & Company Resource Center database, including information on companies, industries, news, statistical data, and in-depth reports.
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic--a multi-purpose database with excellent news coverage dating back to 1981, company information including 10K reports, legal searching, and more.
  • Morningstar Library Edition--this database is an excellent choice for researching stocks, companies, and industries
  • JSTOR--this database began as a journal storage database (hence the name JSTOR). It contains back issues of many quality journals in business, communication, and other fields.  In general, you will find full-text content that is within three to five years old, because publishers deposit journals for online storage on a rolling schedule.  This database now also has the ability to alert you to newer articles in the journals that it covers, although full-text content will not be available.
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete--this database incorporates the content of CommSearch and Mass Media Articles Index, along with numerous other journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study.


Remote Access

The majority of the library's databases can be used from anywhere you are.  The few databases that do not allow for remote use are clearly indicated on the Articles & Databases page.

Remote access is accomplished through a proxy server.  You will be prompted to log in once you choose a database.  Your login is your SBU username without the part.  Your password is your last name, which should be capitalized when you enter it.


Find Electronic & Print Journal Titles

Sometimes you have a specific article citation and you need to know if you can obtain the full-text through the library. The Find Electronic & Print Journal Titles tool allows you to type in the name of a journal, and it will let you know if the library has access to that title online or in print (print holdings are included for more current subscriptions).  


Book Catalog

The Book Catalog will help you find materials that the library physically owns.  It lists all types of materials--books, audio-visual materials, kits, etc.  If you find something that you need in the catalog that is physically in the library, but you do not live near the library, we can mail the item to you.  We can also scan an individual chapter and e-mail it to you.  



WorldCat is another catalog tool to help you find books and other research materials, including selected articles.  WorldCat will show content that our library owns first, and then shows materials that are owned by other libraries.  You can use WorldCat to help you find out what has been published on a topic, and just about anything you find in WorldCat can be borrowed by the library for your use, at no cost to you, through our Inter-library Loan service.  


Citation Format Tool

You will be using the APA citation style in your writing during your degree program.  Whatever citation style you used in the past will have given you a good foundation in the elements of citations.  The library recommends the online guide produced by the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University for general information about APA formatting (which includes a sample paper).

The library provides access to Noodletools, an easy-to-use and accurate citation manager. Noodletools does not create your references automatically--you still need to have the bibliographic information to enter into the forms it provides.  What it does do is help you to create accurate citations, by guiding you every step of the way, as you fill out a form based on the type of resource you are citing.  Noodletools will also help you to create an annotated bibliography, and determine what to use for an in-text, or parenthetical, citation in your writing.

Please consult the following videos for assistance with using Noodletools:

NOTE:  Noodletools will undergo an upgrade during the Summer of 2016, which will change some of the screen views.  

Inter-Library Loan

Inter-library loan is a service that helps you obtain materials that are unavailable in our library.  The library will obtain the material that you need, at no cost to you, and will electronically deliver them to you, or in the case of physical items, will ship them to you.  The library is currently working on new procedures to best serve remote users, so additional information on this topic will be added to this page soon.

Please allow at least two weeks for materials to be received, since another library needs to retrieve and send or scan an item.  


Library Hours

You can find out the current hours for the library by checking the info on the left-hand side of the home page. You might want to know when the library is open if you want to call and speak with a reference librarian in person, for example.


Library Staff Directory

You can find a listing of library staff members and their contact information by using the Library Staff Directory link.


Library Workshops

Every semester, the library conducts selected workshops that cover how to most effectively use library databases and the citation management tool.  The citation workshop also includes word processing hints.

We will be glad to schedule an online workshop at any time for interested online graduate students, upon request.  Any online workshops will be recorded and posted for later viewing.  To request an online workshop, please contact Ann Tenglund at  

Library workshops can also be presented to a class, during a synchronous, scheduled meeting time for the class, or at a convenient time for class members.  If you would like to arrange a library presentation for your class, please ask your professor to contact Ann Tenglund in the library (, who coordinates the library's instruction and workshop programs.


Evaluating Content

You will be using a variety of resources for your projects and papers, including material accessed via the open Internet. As you know, you need to be careful when utilizing materials found online.  It would be very embarrassing to be making a presentation to your colleagues in class or at work and find that you had relied on an Internet hoax site to prepare your presentation.

You have heard this warning many times in the past, but it is not always easy to remember what to check for.  An easy-to-remember acronym is found within the CRAAP test, which can help you determine if the information you want to use is worthy.

  • Currency:  When was it published or posted?  Has it been revised or updated?  Do you require current information, or will older sources work?
  • Relevance:  Does it relate to your topic or answer your question?  Who is the intended audience?  Is the information at an appropriate level for your needs?  Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
  • Authority:  Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?  What are his/her/their credentials or organizational affiliations (universities, corporations, etc.)?  Is the author qualified to write on the topic?  Is there contact information?
  • Accuracy:  Where does the information come from?  Is the information supported by evidence?  Has it been reviewed or refereed?  Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Purpose:  What is the purpose of the information--to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?  Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?  Is the information a fact, an opinion, or propaganda?  Does the point of view appear to be objective and impartial?

                 Adapted from Evaluating Information--Applying the CRAAP Test from the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico


Have a Suggestion?

If you have a suggestion for us, please let us know.  We want to hear from you if you have an idea that would make your work more efficient. Please send any comments or suggestions to Ann Tenglund at 

We are looking forward to working with you!  Please be in touch whenever we can be of assistance.  Best of luck with your degree program!