Sep 13, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
Article by Autumn Siebold
Free design and research tools. Eight floors of study space. Free classes on anything from patents to Photoshop. Sure, you can study in any building on campus — but, the resources in the newly remodeled Library might make it the best place to set up shop.
“I like to work in the Library when my lab gets too busy,” said Eva Kallou, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. “It’s nice, because it has fewer distractions, and I get to sit in a building all day that actually has windows.”
In addition to the computer labs and comfy chairs, the space in Crosland Tower offers several resources to help you check work off of your to-do list. Read on for seven all grad students should know about.
- Visit the Grad Student Community. One of the newest resources is half a floor just for grad student use. The sixth floor is home to the Grad Student Community (GSC), which is accessible with your BuzzCard. “The idea wasn’t just to have a pretty area,” said Liz Holdsworth, the Library’s STEM librarian. “We wanted to improve our resources and help graduate students in ways we hadn’t been before.” With individual study tables, six breakout rooms, and long-term lockers, the GSC is a great place for any study session. And if you want to bring a snack for your study break, there’s also a kitchen area. (Just note that the GSC is intended for quiet study.)
- See your data in a new light. In the Library’s last survey of students's needs, the biggest request was more resources for data visualization. The response? The Data Visualization Lab. The lab offers Tableau, Python, D3, Arc GIS, R Studio, and other software options for students. Training sessions on how to use the software are also available throughout the year. (Check out this schedule for the latest information.) Questions? Stop by and meet with Data Visualization Librarian Ximin Mi, who is available Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Take your multimedia work to the next level. Located on the fourth floor of Crosland Tower, the Multimedia Studio has resources for everything from writing to website needs. Each computer in the studio has access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, and other design software. (If you need help using the software, student experts are available every weekday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) The black-and-white printer and scanners are available with your BuzzCard’s free printing balance. And if you need a full poster, try the plotter. It’s $2.50 for a 24-inch poster, $2.75 for 36 inches, and $3 for 42 inches.
- Discover the right place for your data. With all the formats, databases, software updates, and archiving policies, data management can be confusing. “The Library’s website provides access to hundreds of different databases and data management tools,” Holdsworth said. “If you need a data management plan for a research proposal, we have librarians who can help you write one.” One resource offered is the Library’s main data management option, DMPTool. It assists with archiving your files and can help you make a data management plan to submit with grant requests. Even if you’re just saving your data for later use, the subject and form of measurement can influence how you save it. So, the General Guidance page on the website can help you figure out where to store your data and for how long. Lastly, check out the website for data management training options that will keep you informed on what databases to save your data in and why.
- Try a research guide. If you are trying to research a general subject but can’t find an article to cite, the Library’s online research guides can point you in the right direction. SAGE Research Methods, available through the Library’s website, is a guide to databases on hundreds of subjects from agriculture to zoology. If you need to brush up on a certain subject or are just looking for a specific article, these research guides can point you to free sources with just a few clicks.
- Stop worrying about formatting. If you know more about coding than formatting a paper, you’re in luck. Georgia Tech now provides free access to Overleaf Professional, a collaborative, online LaTeX editor for all faculty and students. Overleaf formats your papers for you — just pick one of the project templates, put in your content, and let it set up the format. “Students can use Overleaf to more easily write documents with a lot of mathematical and chemical equations,” said Isabel Altamirano, the Library’s engineering and chemistry librarian. “And the professional accounts allow you to collaborate on one document with many authors.” Overleaf also offers real-time track changes, unlimited collaborators, and full document history. Check out this link for more about the software and to access your free account.
- Ask a librarian. As much time as you spend on your research, there may still be a relevant article that you’re missing. Luckily, there are specialized librarians who know where to look. “This is one of the few libraries I’ve worked at where many of the librarians have an engineering degree, so we have expertise in the subjects students are writing about,” Holdsworth said. “We can help students with describing the specific science of their projects and explaining things in grant proposals or reports.” Even if you don’t need subject-specific help, librarians can help with writing proposals, tips on how to conduct more thorough research, and poster design. You can email them to set up an appointment or just drop in to ask for help.
For more information about these resources and the Library, visit library.gatech.edu.