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Reference Services


Reference Services is located on the first floor at the information desk. This is where you can get help with research, find out about library services and materials, and ask questions.

Reference hours change depending on the time of the year. To check current reference hours, go to the Library Hours and Maps link in the quick links at the left side of the page.


What is Reference?

Reference assistants can help guide you to resources, explain how to best use them, and suggest tips or ideas. THEY CANNOT DO THE RESEARCH FOR YOU. You will need to come to the library prepared by having a general understanding of your topic and having all related materials with you. If you need special reference help, please make an appointment at the information desk.


What is Outreach Reference?

Reference assistants provide reference services in ECE, ARMS and LWSN throughout the week. If you are unable to get to the engineering library, check out our service. The schedule is posted in the box to the left.


Helpful Reference Information

The key to productive research is to understand your topic as well as your tools. Databases and indexes are the best way to locate journal articles and conference papers and will usually have the most current information. The libraries catalog can help you locate books and reports about your topic. Each different research tool has its own special little rules, but there are some basic rules that can make finding information easier.


The Libraries Catalog

Catalog searching is pretty easy, but there are a few tricks. While all of our books, journals, and government documents are in the catalog, only some of our technical reports are. If you need to find a technical report, please ask at the information desk and we will be happy to help you look for it.

The libraries have electronic access to many journals and conferences listed in the catalog. The journals may be found by searching the catalog for the journal title.
Conference proceedings, however, are often more difficult to locate. A good way to search is to use a keyword search on the major words in the conference title. If you are having trouble finding a conference, please ask at the reference desk.


Interlibrary Loan

If the Purdue Libraries doesn't have the material you need you may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) by filling out the ILL request form. This service is only available to Purdue faculty, staff, and students. Most requests take 1 to 3 weeks. The length of time you may keep an ILL material is decided by the lending library, not Purdue.

Asking for Help

Reference assistants are here to help you get the most out of using the library. If you are having difficulty finding information or just curious about where things are and how they work, please ask.