Getting Started in the Libraries: Just the FAQs
How do I borrow something from the library?
It's all in the Borrowing section.
What if the item is checked out or not in the catalog?
The ULS has over 5 million books, journals, CDs, videos, and other materials that you can use and check out of the libraries. However, occasionally you may find the book you want is checked out, or the library may not have that book. If this is so, you have several options:
You could request the book be returned for your use. You can do this by clicking on the gold Request button at the top of the PITTCat screen, and filling out the Web form. This process may take a week to ten days, because the library contacts the person who currently has the item, and asks the person to return the item for your use. When the item is returned to the library, the library will contact you to come pick the item up.
If you need the book or item sooner, you can go to Other Libraries to search for a copy in a local library like Carnegie Public Library or the Carnegie Mellon libraries. As a Pitt student, you can borrow items from both of these libraries.
If you can wait a little while for the book, you can search E-ZBorrow to get the book form another library in the state.
If E-ZBorrow doesn't have the book, you will have to go to Requests From Other Libraries office to order the book from another library in the United States. This might take two weeks or more, so if you need to get an item through Requests From Other Libraries, order the item early to give yourself plenty of time.
How do I make photocopies?
See the Photocopying and Printing page for details.
My professor said no Web pages, but the article is on the Web!
The ULS has purchased subscriptions to thousands of electronic journals and indexes, and is constantly adding more. An electronic subscription is just the same as the print counterpart, only delivered via the World Wide Web. Before the ULS purchases a subscription, it is evaluated by a librarian to make sure the material is valid and reliable for research.
However, there's a big difference between a valid journal article which is delivered via the Web, and a Web page that you found by searching the Web. When you search the Web for information, you have to evaluate Web material to make sure you don't use incorrect or misleading information in your assignments.
Aren't all indexes full-text?
Not all newspapers or journals are available electronically. Also, sometimes the cost of purchasing the full text rights to journals is too expensive, so some indexes purchase only the rights to major publications. Remember, even if the article isn't full-text online, it may be available in print in the library.
I'm hungry, why can't I eat in the library?!
Drinks in covered cups or containers are allowed in all libraries on campus, but sorry, food isn't allowed in the libraries. We're not trying to be jerks or control freaks, it's just that the crumbs and tiny leftovers that eating food leaves attract vermin, bugs, rodents, and other icky things, which eat and destroy books and materials, and just make thing generally disgusting. We restrict eating in the library because we want to preserve the books and materials in the libraries.However, Hillman Library does offer an eating area on the ground floor in the Cup and Chaucer coffee café'. You can get a latte, pastries and sandwiches at the Coffee bar, and there are vending machines for snacks and soft drinks. The Cup and Chaucer also offers a great collection of popular reading and bestsellers you can borrow, and email kiosks to check your email.