FAQs - Reference Enquiries

1. What is a Reference Desk?
It is a service counter where professional librarians provide library users with directions to library materials, advice on library collections and services, and expertise on multiple kinds of information from multiple sources.

2. Where is the Reference Desk?
The Reference Desk is located near the loan counter in all UTAR libraries.
1. How do I find a book that is on my reading list?
Your reading list may include a variety of materials like books, conference proceedings, book chapters and journal articles. A reference to a book is typically looks like this:
Jennings, Marianne M. (2003). Business ethics: case studies and selected readings. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South - Western West.
The easiest way to find this book is do a keyword search in the OPAC. You need only type in the author's surname, which is the first word in the reference and then type one or two significant words from the title.
Having found the OPAC entry for the book, you should:
1. Check to see whether there are copies available for loan.
2. You need to note down the call number

If you cannot find the book you are looking for in the right place on the shelf, please inform the Reference Librarian and they will help you further.

If the book is on loan you could consider placing a request to reserve the book for you after the borrower has returned the book.

2. How can I find articles on my essay topic?
If you wish to find articles on a particular topic, there are several approaches you can take. You will find it useful to consult any reading lists you have been given, for guidance on specific articles. In essence the choices you might make are to:
Browse hard copies of known journal titles.
Search individual electronic journals.
Search the online databases relevant for your subject


The library has the electronic version of the journal but I cannot get the full-text for the issue/year that I want, why is this so?
The Library's collection of electronic journals is largely based on subscription, and may not cover all years or subjects. However, you may approach our reference librarians and we will do a thorough search for you.

4. How do I find out what databases there are for my subject area?
Please refer to the list of electronic databases available at the Library Online Databases.

5. What types of reference materials are available?
Types of reference materials available in the Library are: almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, handbooks, indexes, manuals and yearbooks.

6. What are "journals / periodicals / magazines / serials"?
Journals or periodicals are the academic 'magazines' in which new ideas and research are published. They are published at regular intervals.
The term magazine is more appropriate for the consumer publications found on newsagent's shelves. There are also professional journals, some of which, such as Nursing Times, may be found in larger newsagents, but which generally are supplied to members of professional bodies, or sold on subscription. Academic journals (sometimes referred as peer-reviewed journals) are sold by subscription, and may be in print form, electronic, or both.
Serials are publications, which are intended to continue indefinitely (in a series). This includes periodicals such as magazines, journals, newspapers and books which are published and distributed every year.

7. Where can I find past exam papers?
Past exam papers are held in a searchable Exam Papers Database on the Student Intranet. You may access using your own user id and password.

What newspapers do you have?
We have the following local newspapers: The Star, New Straits Times, Oriental Daily News, Guang Ming, Nanyang Siang Pau, Sin Chew Daily, China Press, Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, Malaysia Nanban Tamil
1. What is the UTAR Library catalogue?
The library catalogue is UTAR’s online catalogue. It provides all the materials available in all the UTAR libraries, namely:
1. Main Library (Kampar campus)
2. Mary KUOK Pick Hoo Library (Sungai Long Campus)

How do I use the UTAR Library catalogue?
Please refer to the guide on “How to use the UTAR library catalogue


What should I do if the OPAC shows that the book is available in the Library but it's not on the shelf?
If an item is shown as 'not on loan' on the OPAC but cannot be found on the shelves, there are several reasons:
1. You may not be checking the correct shelves
2. Book is shelved wrongly

You may have noted down the wrong call number. Please check the library catalogue again for the call number
4. Book is being used by another person
5. Book is left on the tables or at the sorting shelves
6. Book has just been returned and could be at Circulation Counter while waiting for re-shelving
7. Book could be on display in the “New arrivals” section
Please check with the library staff who will try to locate the book for you.


I have found a book that I am interested from the OPAC but without item information, what does this mean?
The record without item information means the book has been ordered but not yet arrived.


The OPAC shows that the item that I want is in Red-spot, what are Red-spot books?
Red-spot books are those books in high demand and served as compulsory reading materials given by the lecturers. They can only be borrowed for 2 hours or overnight.
Overnight borrowing shall be after 4.00 pm during weekdays and the book must be returned on the following working day before 10:00 am.

6. What is a Call Number? How do I use a Call Number to locate a book?
A Call Number is used to locate the item on the shelves in the library. Please click here for further details.
1. How are books in the Library organized?
Please see guide on “Arrangement of Books on Shelves by Call Number”.
1. Why should I acknowledge my sources?
Citations reflect the careful and thorough work you have put into locating and exploring your sources. By citing sources, you demonstrate your integrity and allows your reader to locate your sources of information. Failure to provide adequate citations constitutes plagiarism.

2. Why use APA?
These are the most common format for documenting sources. It is widely used for course papers and journal articles in psychology and also in the social sciences, education, engineering and business.

3. Where can I get a hardcopy of APA?
For APA - Copies of the Publication Manual of the APA are available in Main Library (Kampar campus) and Mary KUOK Pick Hoo Library (Sungai Long campus).
The call number is BF76.7.P83 2010

4. Does the Library provide assistance on APA?
The Library conducts tutorials or individual consultation for the APA / Harvard citation styles upon request. Please see the Reference Librarian in the main Library or at your faculty libraries.


Are there any citation manager softwares to store and manage my bibliographic references like books, journal articles, etc?
Yes. You may use the EndNote Web or Mendeley. Please see your librarian for further information.


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