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Online, Distance, & Dual-Credit Students: Use the Library Remotely

So, you're not on campus for this class! What can you do?

What's a Database?

In its most basic sense, a database (marked on these guides by the padlock icon Padlock icon - LSC library barcode code needed for access) is just a selection of information designed for you to search and retrieve stuff from it.

Amazon is a database you're probably familiar with: it's limited (only contains things you can buy through them) and retrievable (you can search and filter your results to find what you're looking for).

The library databases contain reputable, reliable sources of information to support researchers like you! This means everything from digital encyclopedias, e-books, scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, streaming videos, statistics, and more.

Accessing the Databases

Access online library materials through the library databases!

Student ID BadgeBrowse by subject area

To access the databases locked icon (same icon that displays by the LSC-limited access resources) from off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your 14-digit library barcode.

Don't have one yet? Request a barcode number online.

While you certainly have the Internet at your fingertips, grabbing a few likely webpages from your first page of Google search results isn't really what your professors mean when they ask you to do research.

How To Think About a Research Prompt

First, you need to get a clear idea of your topic: you don't want to be too broad (impossible to do in a relatively short paper or presentation) or too narrow (making it hard to find supporting evidence).

Then, when you're actually looking for sources, you want to be gathering the right type of info at the right stage of your research. There's a lot of factors here: getting credible, reliable info; making sure you're meeting your assignment guidelines; and finding info of the appropriate level of complexity for what you need it to do.

Related Guides:

A Few Starter Databases

Related Guide:

Requesting Books & Articles

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Maybe you found an article through Google that's behind a paywall. Maybe you forgot to filter your database results to "full text only." Either way, you want something that isn't apparently available from Lone Star College.

Fortunately, you can an interlibrary loan (or ILL) request for that article online.

(You can also borrow books or other physical media this way, though obviously they take longer to get to you, and you'll have to physically go to a library to pick them up once they arrive.)

Requesting Books

If there a book, DVD, or other item that's inconveniently at a far-away library, just click "place hold" in the library catalog.

The library will send that item to a location of your choosing (LSC campus, or HCPL or MCMLS branch) -- free!


If you're very remote -- taking classes from another city or state -- check out your own local public library offerings for similar service.


There are three main style guides your professor might ask you to follow:

  • MLA (most common),
  • APA (most likely in psychology, sociology, or speech classes), or
  • Chicago (probably only history class).

If you're not sure which style to follow, double-check both your assignment instructions and your professor's syllabus (which will be posted in your course. If it doesn't say, send your professor an email to confirm what they want you to use!


Online Citation Guides:

Each of these guides contains a pre-formatted Word doc for you to download, as well as instructions and examples for how to document your sources in each style.

Managing Your Research