Biological Sciences Scholars

Resources for the Biological Science Honors Students

Decisions about databases and searching...

How can I:

- search for peer-reviewed/scholarly/academic material?

- choose between different sources/databases? 

- efficiently sort through results?

- navigate the different databases?

- find the best results?

- find what resources are even available?

The first answer: The main Biology Guides! There are four main biology guides that list all the resources that are useful. Its categories can help you choose between different databases, making you more efficient and yielding better results. 

The second answer: develop a search strategy to meet your needs. Use the filters and terms to limit your searches. Keep track of your searches and use a management system for your results (like Zotero) prevents duplication of work! 

Specific Questions

What type of information does OSU Libraries have?  We have over 5.8 million volumes and subscriptions to thousands of journals, as well as over a quarter of a million items in our special collections. We also provide access to almost all of the items at academic institutions in Ohio and the Big Ten schools. In short, if you have a curiosity, we probably have information about it - just ask! We can help you navigate this very large system and let you know about additional support programs too!!

How can I borrow a book and/or get it delivered? For access to print information, you can search our catalog here: Alternatively, you can search the OHIOLink catalog and get the item shipped to an OSU library ( Bear in mind that only a few million of our print volumes are on-campus, as we store most of our materials at remote locations. You just click on the 'request an item' link and then send it to whichever location you select for pick-up!

Do we have access to ebooks (not just textbooks, but also fictional/fun books) through the OSU libraries? How to check out normal, casual-read books?  Yes! Did you know you can get a Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) card with your BuckID at Thompson Library and get those books sent there too? You may even be able to apply on-line and get a card mailed to you (! After getting your CML card, you can download their app, called CML Mobile, browse their catalog, request items and select "CML OSU Thompson" for delivery. Also, you can download the app Libby, enter your CML credentials, and get eBooks and audiobooks. The due dates will be determined by which library it was borrowed from, typically 2-3 weeks. Happy reading!

The most efficient way to find data on on research or developments at OSU? If you follow OSU or OSU Office of Research on social media, you will see many of the press releases related to research and development and the OSU Office of Research often announces awards that researchers win here: As well, individual colleges or departments will have research award websites and social media presences that announce research developments.  

What to do if we want to use a book in a different language? You can use our classic library catalog search to find books in different languages. Start here: and use the filters to select the language you want! If you want to see all our books in a given language, you can put an asterisk in the search box, select the language you want and hit 'submit'. 

How to find out which library has the information you need? Because almost all our material is either stored off-site or is on-line, and you can get any regular library item shipped to any of our locations, it's more important to be able to navigate the libraries digitally than physically. I recommend starting at the homepage and select either the 'books' or the 'articles' tab to start exploring our materials.

I am curious how the library keeps track of all books returned and if there is an all time list of who has had each book. Most of the libraries in Ohio all use the same professional library management system to track all of the books (and other materials) because this lets us lend each other items easily. However, most libraries delete circulations records as soon as the items are returned, so there is no list of who has checked out any given item. This is because the Patriot Act of 2001 allows the federal government to monitor information activities of libraries, and this threatens the library principles of information privacy and intellectual freedom. More on this topic can be found here: Therefor, most libraries only keep the records necessary to run the library, and delete individual records on a timely basis. However, please be aware that publishers often keep individual records, particularly if you provide them with your email. 

What events are at the library? Most events are captured here:

I'm curious if there are people who have previously taken the course that I can work with? There probably are, but it would be probably be a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for any educator at OSU to reveal that information. You may ask the instructor if they have a suggestion for a study group or other peer resource that can provide support.

Are there microwaves for student use on campus? Once you have selected a major, you may find that your department has a student lounge, which may have a microwave (and be a good study spot!). However, there is also a commuter student lounge in the Union and you can visit their office to get swipe-card access ( 

Best way to keep my life organized. I may not be able to help organize your whole life, but I can tell you how to organize your academic information! Zotero is a great place to organize the websites, eBooks, and articles you use, and a good file naming convention can go a long way to organizing the rest of your digital files. For more on organizing your electronic records, check out these tips! Also, check out the 'Life Organization' box in this guide for books on the topic.

I’m curious about finding free one-on-one tutoring/What other resources are on campus to help with studying?​ Check out the Younkin Success Center - they offer some tutoring, and will know of further resources! Also check out the resources under the 'Tips, Tricks, and Help' tab. 

How accessible are the libraries throughout the day? Check our locations and hours to find out which libraries are open and if they have a group study room reservation system (

Are there resources available to OSU students that we may not know about? There are so many resources at OSU it's hard for any one person to know about them all! We try to keep most resources and programs on our webpages, but navigation can be difficult. I recommend both browsing, and if you have a specific need, do a domain search (i.e. search term followed by in google) or reach out to our chat service. It never hurts to ask!

What resources are there for evaluating whether or not a source is credible or valid? I've provided some resources in this guide, but always reach out if you are unsure. There is big money in fake science, so it can look really legit but still be misinformation! You can always contact your friendly librarian!

How to get paid for lab work either for credit or for tuition grants/scholarships. I am curious about more research opportunities that OSU has to offer and what events I can attend to broaden my interest in the field of science. What resources are available to me in terms of finding job, internship, and/or research positions on campus and in Columbus? Both the job pages ( and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Enquiry ( are good sources, as well as searching for individual grants and financial aid. 

The best way to log activities and how to make sure you do not forget what you did. Time management and schedules are difficult! I recommend checking out some information on the topic and finding what works best for you. I use a calendar and a running list of tasks, but also like tracking charts for routine things.

What free e- Books/magazines/newspapers are available to students? The OSU Libraries offers a number of free resources, such as subscriptions to the Columbus Dispatch and the New York Times. There are also items available via the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) system. Any OSU student can get a CML card. 

What resources the library has that are specific to students pursuing science, engineering, medicine, etc.? We have specific science subject librarians ( and databases devoted to specific areas of science (! There is a whole library (with librarians) devoted solely to the health sciences as well ( 

What is the emptiest spot to study on campus? I'm not sure about on campus, but definitely in the libraries it's either the Biological Sciences and Pharmacy Library or the Architecture Library. They are both small and a bit harder to find, so tend to be low use!

Resources on research paper structure and formatting? The Writing Center has one-on-one consultations and resources ( 

Organize and cite your information

Some want to know:

- how to keep your bookmarked or downloaded articles together and make citing easier?

I don't recommend storing searches in databases, as database composition tends to change quite a bit, and you have to create a separate personal account in each one. Instead, I recommend using a citation management software, like Zotero, that allows you to easily save your articles and webpages in one place, as well as create a reference list from them. It's also easy to de-duplicate when you collect the same article from different databases, making it easier to sift through results. However, I do encourage keeping track of your searches with a table or spreadsheet. This prevents you from searching the same database over and over again with the same terms.