Category Archives: Reference Spotlight

Reference Spotlight — WorldCat

Written by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

WorldCat is the world’s largest bibliographic database, containing the contents of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. On May 2, 2013, the 2,000,000,000th (two billionth) record was added to the WorldCat.

What can such an enormous database do for you?

Online Students

What do you do when you need a book in a hurry to complete an assignment? Although the Library’s InterLibrary Loan service will ship any book in our collection to you at no charge, sometimes in a fast-paced course, you may not have a week to wait.

When you are in a time crunch or the Library does not have the book you need in e-book form, WorldCat is just what you need. Input your zip code and WorldCat will search the catalog of most every public and academic library in your area.

Nearly all college and seminary libraries allow visitors to use their collections in-house. But even better, most academic libraries offer an “associate membership” for users not affiliated with the institution. If you live near a library with a useful collection for your research, the Regent Library will reimburse you up to $100 per year for an associate membership.

On-Campus Students

Sometimes you want to expand your research: perhaps your topic is obscure and resources are hard to come by, or maybe you just want to see what other materials are out there and available. If you find something you want to take a look at, simply click the ILLiad link provided in the record of the item you wish to request. WorldCat links directly to ILLiad, our InterLibrary Loan system, and even fills out the request form automatically.

If you don’t have time to wait for InterLibrary Loan, WorldCat will let you know if a resource is available locally. With a consortium card, available free from the Circulation Desk, you can check out materials at nineteen (19) Virginia Tidewater Consortium libraries.

Important Tip for Regent users

When using WorldCat, I recommend searching the web-based version optimized for Regent users at, which automatically lets you know whether an item is in the Regent Library, and if not, includes a link to our ILLiad system. If you are doing very sophisticated research, you might also want to use the Library’s subscription version of WorldCat, but most users will find the web-based version more intuitive and user-friendly.

Online reference databases

Written by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

This column has already featured two of the Library’s electronic encyclopedia and dictionary collections: CredoReference and Oxford Reference Online. Online reference databases such as these are quick and easy to use, allowing you to search hundreds of encyclopedias at once. They are essential resources for distance students who may not have quick access to a traditional reference collection.

The Library has several other great reference collections available, and they are all housed in a handy list for your benefit. You can find the list on our databases page under “Browse by Category.” We want you to know where to find these collections so that you can take advantage of all their useful content.

Here are a few other resources you will find on the list:

Reference Spotlight — Oxford Reference Online is new & improved!

Written by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

Oxford University Press has just released a new turbocharged version of Oxford Reference Online. In place of the dull look of the previous version, Oxford has created a dynamic and intuitive interface that invites exploration. Check this video for an overview:


An upgraded interface is not the only new feature of the database. Oxford has vastly increased the quantity and quality of the content. The previous short-entry dictionaries remain, but joining them are long-entry resources like the Companion to American Law, and the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford has also added many bilingual dictionaries. In all, the database provides full-text access to 238 Oxford reference titles, encompassing nearly 1.75 million entries. Other nice features include options to create a personal account, share entries on social media sites, and generate a citation in APA, Chicago, or MLA style. With top-of-the-line reference databases like CredoReference and Oxford Reference Online there is simply no excuse for citing Wikipedia in your work!

To begin using Oxford Reference Online, click here. First-time users may also wish to view this instructional video:


Reference Spotlight—FMG Films on Demand

Written by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

FMG Films on Demand

With more than 7,500 educational videos, FMG Films on Demand is a great place to start any research project. These videos come from sources such as PBS, Frontline, Ken Burns, Nova, Wide Angle, BBC, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and Channel 4 (United Kingdom).

Covering all academic disciplines, FMG is the world’s largest collection of online educational videos. You can search by subjects like business, communication, criminal justice, earth science, education, history, religion, and psychology, to name a few. They even have over 200 videos related to acting: performances, playwriting, interviews, and instruction. Whatever you are studying, there is something for you.

Each FMG video is broken into segments, and each segment has its own title, description, URL, and embedding code. FMG even provides citations for each segment in APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.* Final word: The next time you want to enhance a PowerPoint by embedding a film, check out FMG before going to YouTube.

Click here to begin using FMG Films on Demand.


*Editor’s note: As of this writing (November 15), FMG is working on a technical glitch that is blocking citations in APA and Chicago. We will update this article as soon as they fix the problem.

Reference Spotlight—CredoReference

Written by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian


With hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and biographical resources, CredoReference is an excellent place to get a handle on your topic. Find out about the key figures and thinkers, the main ideas, a brief history, and other important aspects of your topic as you begin the research process. Many of the texts in Credo will contain a list of sources at the end of an entry. These can be valuable for gaining a list of possible books and articles relevant to your topic.

Credo offers a citation for every bit of information you’ll find there, even for the images. Properly citing images is a great way to enhance the professional presentation of your paper. Citation information is at the bottom of each page in APA, MLA, and Chicago formats.

You can search all entries at once, or by subject, or within just one publication. Credo is a powerful reference tool and is strong across all disciplines. Areas of particular depth include biography, business, communications, government and politics, history, literature, philosophy, psychology, and science. The database also includes an extensive list of foreign language dictionaries.

A Library Journal poll of reference librarians around the country ranked CredoReference as “best overall” reference database in 2011.* Click here to begin using this terrific resource!



*Alec Sonsteby, et al. “BEST DATABASES.” Library Journal (November 16, 2011): 6-12. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost.