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What is a call number?


Having trouble understanding call numbers, or how to find a book in the library tower? This video will help you find the book you want!

Please contact the library if you would like this video in an alternate format

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What is a reserve reading and how do I get one?


Course reserves are items set aside for a specific course. Often they are used for seminars and labs. Most library reserves circulate for 3 hours only - that's because so many students need to access them. You will usually be given a list of reserve readings on the syllabus for your course. Search for Reserves at 

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Can I use Google Scholar for my research?


Please contact the library if you'd like this video in an alternate format

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What is RACER interlibrary loan?


Interlibrary loan systems allow you to request books or journal articles that Brock doesn't own. The system we use is called RACER. You can get more info, like how to sign up for the service (it's free!) on the Interlibrary Loan web page. Here's a video on how to set up a RACER account and request an item: 


If you would like this video in an alternate format, please contact the library.


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How do I print in the Library?


Printing in the Library 

To print using the all-in-one printer/copier/scanner units in the James A. Gibson Library / Matheson Learning Commons:An online print/copy account is required and already set up for Brock students, faculty and staff. If you are a guest and not affiliated with Brock University, please see Desk staff.

Adding funds to your print/copy account

Using Cash:
You may add funds to your account with cash by using the self-serve cash machine located near the all in one units. This machine is exactly like the machine in the ITS labs on campus and adds the cash funds directly to your print account.

Using Debit/Credit:
You may also purchase print/copy vouchers to add funds to your account using debit/credit or cash. Vouchers are available in 1,5,10, & 20 dollar denominations. 

Once a voucher has been purchases, visit and login with your portal account. Click Redeem Card and enter the PIN that is on your card. You are now ready to print.

Printing Jobs

  1. Login to one of the Library's computers.
  2. Print your document by clicking the PRINT button in the software you are using. You can now release your print job at any of the all-in-one copier/printer/scanner units on the main floor.

At the all-in-one copier/printer/scanner:

  1. Swipe your Brock card in the card reader on the side of the machine or enter your Brock portal information by touching "alternative login" on the copier touch screen.
  2. Touch USE COPIER.
  4. Select the job(s) from the list and touch PRINT.
  5. Logout by swiping your card again or touch the LOG OUT button.

Web Printing:
Brock students, faculty and staff may use Web Print to send jobs from your laptop or other mobile device directly to the various print queues on campus. Full instructions can be found here.

Colour Printing:
Available through the all-in-one units on the main floor. The system will default to black and white. If you would like to print in colour, you will need to specify colour in the print dialog box BEFORE you release your print job(s) at the all-in-one-units.

DOWNLOAD (instead of using an all-in-one unit):

Some databases and journal publishers allow you to download your search and/or journal article. 

  1. Click FILE in the upper left hand corner of your screen.
  2. Scroll down to SAVE AS and click. 
  3. When the SAVE AS box appears on your screen, name your file. 
  4. To save to disk or memory device:
  • Go to the top of the Pop-Up menu. Using the down arrow, choose the appropriate drive. 
  • Click on SAVE. Be sure to remove your disc or memory device when you are done.

If you need more information about Printing and Copying in the Library (including pricing, and other services available), please see this page.


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Can I have the same online access to the Library when I'm at home?


The Library subscribes to a large number of journals and bibliographic databases in electronic format. Use of these electronic resources is restricted to currently registered Brock students, faculty and staff, as required by license agreements signed with vendors. The following instructions will allow easy access to these resources. If you have any questions or problems, please email:

Brock students, faculty and staff will use their portal username and password to:

  • Access electronic resources from off campus
  • Access My Library Account
  • Renew items on loan
  • Place holds on material checked out

If you have problems accessing your library account, or library resources from off campus using your email/portal username and password, follow the step below:

  • Please be aware that your username is typically the first part of your Brock email address up to but not including the @ symbol
  • Go to the Brock Portal and log in using your campus username and password.
  • If you can log onto the portal above then you shouldn't have any problems accessing library resources.
  • If you cannot log into the Brock portal above, you should follow the help procedures listed on this web page or contact the ITS department to have your account activated.
  • Once your portal account has been activated above, verify that you can log into My Library Account successfully using the same username/password as above..
  • If you have activated your Brock portal account, but still cannot access My Library Account please email, or call the Circulation Desk at (905) 688-5550 ext. 4583 during library open hours.
  • When contacting us by email or telephone, please provide your full name, Brock ID# and campus username to assist us with troubleshooting.

The following library users will continue to use their Library PIN to access library services appliable to them.

  • Alumni
  • Retired Faculty and Staff
  • Community and other Special Borrowers

If you have a problem with your Library PIN, please email, or call the Circulation Desk at (905) 688-5550 ext. 4583 during library open hours.

The library system has certain criteria for acceptable PINs. Please make sure you select a PIN which follows this criteria:

  • PIN must be between 6 and 30 characters
  • Use alpha / numeric characters only
  • Special characters such as $, *, ! etc. are not acceptable.
  • Do not use repetetive strings such as ababab or 123123123

For additional help on selecting or setting up a PIN, you may refer to our PIN FAQ.


If your question is not answered above, please Gibson Library Research Information Desk, Circulation Desk, or email

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How do I sign out library books?


 Any library user with a valid Brock University Identification Card, Alumni Card, Extramural Borrowers' Card, or a valid card from a Canadian University Library with an account in good standing, may borrow materials.

Full details on borrowing privileges for visitors can be viewed here:


  • Self-Check station located at the Circulation Services Desk is available if you are a registered user. Staff will be happy to assist you.
  • Circulation Services staff may sign books out for you.
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How can I tell if the article I have is scholarly or peer reviewed?


Please contact the library if you would like this video in an alternate format

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I used the Get It button. Brock has access to the article, but it's not there when I click on it


Watch this video about some common roadblocks Brock students face with the Get It button:

If you would like this video in an alternate format, please contact the library.

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How far in advance can I book a group study room?


Book a group study room up to two weeks in advance here.
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How do I write an annotated bibliography?


The Library has several resources available to students writing annotated bibliographies. Here are a few:
  • Annotated Bibliography: A guide that includes purpose, content, format and style with several examples
  • How to Prepare an Annotate d Bibliography (Cornell University): A short guide with sample entry.
  • Reference sources on annotated bibliographies at Brock's Gibson Library (on 24-hour reserve):
Eula, Michael J. and Janet Maden
Compiling the Annotated Bibliography: A guide
Reserves Main Floor: LB 2369 E94 1995

Harner, James L.
On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography
Reserves Main Floor: LB 2369 H33 2000
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Where and how do I pay library fees/fines?


 You can pay outstanding library fees at the circulation desk on the main floor of the Library. Accepted payment methods are:
  • Cash
  • Debit
  • Credit

The library also accepts cheques as a form of payment. Cheques can be made payable to James A. Gibson Library and your student ID number should be noted in the MEMO field of the cheque

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How do I search for books in the Library?


You can search for books using SuperSearch from the Library's homepage. When you enter your search terms, limit your search to "Books." Watch this video for more information:



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How do I return library books or materials?


  • Reserve materials & equipment for loan (e.g. laptops) must be returned to the reserve return bin located at the end of the Circulation Services Desk during the Library's open hours. When the Library is closed, reserves may be returned to the regular library book return bins as noted below.
  • Regular library items should be returned through the library book return slots.  There are two (2) return slot locations: one is on the wall outside the East Entrance (tower entrance) to the Learning Commons and the other is inside the Learning Commons on the way to the library elevators.
  • DVD/CD materials should be dropped in the specific drop boxes above the regular return drop boxes which are labeled "Audio Visual" materials.
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Is there a way I can get newspaper articles online for free?


We have an extensive collection of newspaper databases. With these resources you should never have to pay for an article. 

Select the Research tab. Click on Databases. Scroll down the subject listing to News.  We have 13 subscriptions to newspapers from today and back in history.
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What is a DOI?


A DOI (Digitial Object Identifier) is used to describe an electronic document and provide a persistent link to it. You will often see them as part of the citation of a journal article. The DOI system dates back to 2000. So if you have an older article it may not have a DOI assigned to it. Currently there are over 84 million DOIs in use worldwide.  Here's an example:

Ricchetti-Masterson K, Horney J. Social Factors as Modifiers of Hurricane Irene Evacuation Behavior in Beaufort County, NC. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2013 Jun 5. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.620b6c2ec4408c217788bb1c091ef919.  
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What's the difference between magazines and scholarly journals?


Please contact the library if you would like this video in an alternate format

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How do I use RefWorks?


 RefWorks is available to students via the library website. You can find everything you need to know about RefWorks (from how to set up your free account, to how to generate a bibliography) in the RefWorks Guide
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I watched your Get It help video, and I still can't get the article I need.


Sometimes the Get It button isn't as easy to use as we wish it could be. Here is a follow-up video to the first Get It help video that offers suggestions for how to get around the most common barriers we face when using Get It. 


Please contact the library if you would like this video in an alternate format


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Where can I find information about patents?


You can find information about patents, government information, and legal information on the Government and Legal Information web page on the library's web site (under Collections). 
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