Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

GCL 129: Sustainable Design and the Public Realm in India: FAQ's

This is a course guide designed to help students enrolled in GCL 129 "Sustainable Design and the Public Realm in India" with their research assignments.

Common Questions- Answered!

How to be motivated enough to use the library when it is easier to just find information on the internet?

  • Just remember that it's easy to find massive quantities of information on the internet, but it's not necessarily quality information or acceptable to use in scholarly papers. Furthermore, even when using Google Scholar you may end up having to backtrack and go back through the library website to get full text access to an article or book chapter. If you start at the library you may end up saving yourself some extra steps later. Plus, once you practice using library databases you'll find that the features they offer to help you narrow down your search actually make it easier to find good, quality sources.

What's the best way to get information from a book without reading the whole book?

  •    Check out the table of contents or index to go straight to chapters that are directly relevant to your topic.

Is looking for books worth it or should I just use the online databases?

  • It depends on the topic. If the topic is really, really new there may not be books about it yet. Your topics probably aren't "new" so there should be information about your topics in books. That said, you shouldn't have to read any books cover-to-cover (you're only writing a few pages after all!), instead you may want to read selected chapters from books on your topic. It's worth it to look for books though because they can be a good source of quality information.

How do I find current articles?

  • If you are searching in one of the library's databases you can often sort the results by date or even use some of the facets (remember we talked about those and how they are often on the sidebar) to narrow your results by a particular date range.

How do I verify or make sure a particular source is reliable?

  • Here's a link to some tips to help you evaluate resources:

If you can't find what you're looking for in databases, what are other options?

  • First look back over your keywords, try synonyms and make sure you have tried any spelling variations there might be for your place. If you're confident of your keywords and still aren't finding anything, try Google Scholar ( If you're still not finding anything, ask a librarian for help.

What is the difference between books found in the Main Stacks vs. those found in the UGL? Are they categorized?

  • The UGL is meant to serve the research needs and interests of undergraduates and they purchase books accordingly. There are also some specialized collections in the UGL such as the media collection and graphic novel collection. In terms of this project, however, the location doesn't effect whether you can or should use a particular book, what matters is the credibility of the book itself-- who's the author, was it published by a university press, publication date, scope of the book, etc.

Where can you find books related to our project? Is there a certain library where these can be found?

Which is the main library building?

  • The Main Library's address is 1408 W. Gregory Dr. It is actually connected to the Undergraduate Library via an underground tunnel. If you'd like to print out a map of library locations, visit this webpage:

Where is the South Asian Library?

  • The South Asian Library is now part of the International and Area Studies Library, which is on the third floor in rm. 321 in the Main Library Building.

How useful is it to physically go the the South Asian Library?

  • It's very useful if you need reference resources on South Asia or would like research assistance from the South Asian Librarian. We also have some nice chairs and study space if you need a quiet place to work on your project.

What numbering system do they use in the library?

  • Books in the Main Stacks are mostly organized using the Dewey Decimal System, but some departmental libraries use the Library of Congress call number system. The best thing to do is write the call number down and which library/location the book is in and then check the directory/map at that specific location.

What do I do if I'm 100% sure that the library has the book but it's not showing up in the online system?

  • This would be a good time to get help from a librarian. You can use the chat widget on this page, send an email to, call (217)333-2290 or stop by the Main Info Desk on the second floor of the Main Library.

What search engines can I use to find academic and credible sources and articles?

  • If you prefer search engines to library databases, then you should use Google Scholar instead of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. for this project. It will search for scholarly or peer-reviewed books and articles and, if you're on campus, will search the library's resources to help you access the books and articles it finds. 

How do I use electronic/online books?

  • There is an entire LibGuide devoted to that subject! Check it out at

Where is the exact location of the library and what are the hours of operation?

  • See above for the library's location. Here's a link to a page with the library hours for the Main Library as well as all the departmental libraries:

Ask a Librarian