Building a Total Information Network: The Beginnings

 

The purpose of this assignment is to begin building an information network consisting of a multitude of learning resources designed to facilitate a successful academic career.  It is important to note, an information network is as broad or narrow as necessary for the endeavor necessitating the information.  Therefore, my exploration of potential resources concentrated on appropriate academic resources for a doctoral candidate in Psychology.  Additionally, as a full-time employee, mother and online student, there are additional constraints at play in discerning resource feasibility, including travel time and hours of operation.

Local Resources

My local resources are limited.  The legal office where I work does not offer any academic resources.  In exploring local City, County, and academic library resources, I determined each offered significantly different selections of databases, materials, and accessibility.  Therefore, the most efficient method of utilizing local libraries requires first determining which facility has the target resource prior to embarking on a physical visit.  The electronic Worldcat database (http://www.worldcat.org) easily provides this information for no charge.  I practiced using the database and results were provided for books and articles at the following local libraries:

  1. OC public library system (http://egov.ocgov.com/ocgo).  This is a countywide library system.  The closest local library is in the city of Brea, California.  A library card is required to use the library’s services.  The libraries offer online electronic access and interlibrary loan services.  Although the interlibrary loan service is free, it is time consuming.  It can take up to four weeks to receive a resource from another facility.  Another limitation of these libraries is that they have limited hours of operation.  Due to my work schedule, it may not be feasible to utilize this facility.
  2. Fullerton public library (www.fullertonlibrary.org) and Placentia public library (www.placentialibrary.org).  Both of these libraries are city-based libraries offering services to the public free of charge.  A library card is required.  These libraries also provide online access and interlibrary loan services.  Again, although free of charge interlibrary loans take up to four weeks to receive target resources.  Additionally, as with the County library system, the City libraries offer limited hours of operation.  In fact, the Placentia library is not even open on Sundays.
  3. Pollak Library Cal State Fullerton (www.library.fullerton.edu).  This academic library does not offer library services to the public.  I can obtain special access as an alumnus; however, alumni are not provided electronic access privileges or interlibrary services (fee based or otherwise).  Advantages of this facility include my familiarity with the library as an alumnus, and extended operating hours.
  4. University of California Irvine (www.lib.uci.edu).  UCI does offer services to the public for a small fee.  However, this fee does not provide for electronic access or interlibrary loan services.  An advantage of this library includes extended operating hours.  A significant disadvantage is the distance from my home.

Walden University Resources and Services

Walden University Library.  Walden’s University Library is a full service library with a variety of research databases, electronic resources, extensive journal collection, theses, dissertation, and conference related resources.  On occasions where I need information from unavailable sources, Walden offers interlibrary loan services and document delivery services.  The interlibrary loan service can take up to two weeks, but if free to the student.  The document delivery service (DDS) is free to the doctoral student; however, it does have a few restrictions.  There is a $55.00 cap on each document retrieved.  Additionally, there is a 10-item cap per month, with a 30-item lifetime cap.  The approximate delivery time is 7-10 days.  There is additional information regarding suggestions, points to remember, and other specifics related to utilizing the service.

Walden Writing Center.  Walden’s Writing Center provides numerous writing resources to assist in academic success.  There is a virtual book’s worth of information in the writing section alone, including prewriting, paraphrasing, outlining, structure, formatting, active versus passive voice, plagiarism, citations, and more.  There is also a grammar section, tutorial section and APA style section.  I have spent many hours in the Writing Center taking advantage of the guidance available.

Walden Research Center.  Admittedly, I have not had occasion to utilize the Walden Research Center as of yet.  However, after exploring the site I wish had visited it during my Research course in my Master’s program.  There are some wonderful resources regarding all aspects of research including the literature review, methods, examples qualitative or quantitative designs, as well as tutorials.

 

People.  One of the benefits of attending Walden University is participation in a learning community.  Each individual provides invaluable insight, perspective, and often, unique resources targeted to our common academic interests.  These persons include instructors, advisors, and cohorts.  There is a significant advantage to participating in a learning community because it is nearly impossible for one person to find every resource, database, and/or link relevant to their field of interest.  However, a cohort of 30 individuals will experience far greater success in rooting out an unknown academic gem that proves to be useful to many others.

Online Resources

There are extensive online learning resources available as evidenced in this week’s discussion forum.  Additionally, there are academic and topical blogs, online research studies, academic wiki collaboration projects, and self-published articles.  One particular online resource is invaluable in finding other relevant online resources.  During my Master’s program, my Research Instructor, Dr. Rosemary Dawson, referred me to an annotated database compilation (Zillman, 2012).  When I originally downloaded the database in 2011, it was only 38 pages in length and current through 2006.  The author recently released a current update on September 17, 2012 that consists of 60 pages ensuring the links are current, accurate, and accessible.

Professional Associations and Membership Resources

There are a variety of professional organizations offering resources to members.  Some of the organizations related to my field of interest include the following:

  1. American Psychological Association (www.apa.org).  Membership is not required for access and this organization offers the largest selection of resources (both broad and specific in subject).  Moreover, APA provides a database of additional potentially relevant associations.  The following are organizations most relevant to my interests:
    1. American Psychological Society (http://www.psychologicalscience.org);
    2. APA Division 15, Educational Psychology (http://apadiv15.org);
    3. Association for Humanistic Psychology (www.ahpweb.org);
    4. International Association of Applied Psychology (http://www.iaapsy.org);
    5. Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (http://www.spssi.org);
    6. Society for Experimental Social Psychology (http://www.sesp.org);
    7. The Society for Community Research and Action (http://www.scra27.org).
    8. Social Psychological Network (www.socialpsychology.org).  This organization offers a variety of resources with or without membership.
    9. Society of Personality and Social Psychology (www.spsp.org).  This organization only offers limited resources to paid members.

Conclusion

Building an information network takes time, patience, and research.  This paper includes the most relevant resources discovered over the past two years while attending Walden University.  I fully anticipate that my learning network will continue to grow in both depth and breadth as I continue in my doctoral program.

 

 

References

Padilla, A., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2007). The toxic triangle: Destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments. The Leadership Quarterly, 18, 176-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2007.03.001

Zillman, M. P. (2012).  Academic and scholar search engines and resources: Internet annotated link database compilation.  Retrieved September 22, 2012, from http://www.ScholarSearchEngines.com

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One thought on “Building a Total Information Network: The Beginnings

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