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Research

The library offers many valuable resources to assist you in your studies, whether you are doing family genealogy, a middle school science project, a college research paper, starting a small business, or just looking into a personal interest.

1. Choose Your Topic

Depending on what your area of interest is, different types of library materials and resources will be most useful. Encyclopedias will provide a brief overview of a topic, which is often a very good place to start if you are unfamiliar with the terminology or main concepts. For some subjects, we may have specialized dictionaries which will explain words that are used in a particular field (such as in the medical field), but may not be included in an ordinary dictionary.

Books will provide an in-depth study of a broad topic, but because the publishing process is relatively slow, the information may not be as current as what is published in periodicals (magazines, journals, and newspapers). So, if you are seeking information on something historical or well-studied (for instance, Greek mythology), you may wish to focus on encyclopedias, almanacs, and books. If your topic is newer, or still being studied (such as a medical topic), you may wish to focus on scholarly journal articles available through the online databases.

2. Subject Guides

The library has put together 'Subject Guides' on many popular topics (genealogy, starting a small business, job hunting, mythology, African American history, preparing for college, etc.) that list relevant books, web sites, and online research databases. If you are lucky, we will have a subject guide related to your topic of interest that can help you get started. Go to the list of Subject Guides.

3. Books

Most of the library's books (as well as the books available to you from other PINES network libraries) are listed in the PINES catalog. Some books are also available in electronic format through various online collections that cover a wide range of topics. Learn how to search the PINES Catalog and access the online books.

4. Databases and Other Online Resources

The library provides access to over 100 research databases and online services that provide content that is not freely available on the web. To access these resources, you will need a Clayton County-issued library card and/or the current GALILEO password. Read more about the Library Databases.

5. Contact the Library for Assistance

We understand that there is so much information available in print, on the web, and in the online databases, that it can be difficult to know where to start looking and whether or not the information you are finding is current and reliable. You may contact us during business hours at any of our branches, or through the online Contact Us form at any time and we will do our best to assist you.