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I am a distance learning student in the Master's degree program in Environmental Management at the Extension School. How do I get library materials?

Last Updated: Mar 01, 2012  |  253 Views

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Distance learning does present some difficulties in that regard, but I think with some strategies, you can get ahold of what you need.  If I mention resources below, please find links to them on Environment at a Glance http://guides.hcl.harvard.edu/enviro , unless otherwise mentioned.

"Get It" describes the process of getting materials for students on campus, and for articles or book _chapters_, the same options apply for off-campus students:  Electronic journals using e-resources and e-journals.  For these relatively short materials (not whole books), if not available through Harvard online, they can usually be scanned and available for download from any internet connection using "Scan & Deliver," (if at Harvard) or Interlibrary Loan (if not).  I'm not entirely sure if all of these services are available to non-degree candidates--you should check with Grossman Library if you run into trouble if that applies to you. 

Books are a different story.  There is no way to deliver books to distance learning students from Harvard, so if you need more than a chapter, you will need to find another way.  WorldCat is one option.  You can use it to identify libraries near you that may have a particular title.  This may be even easier for distance students using Open WorldCat rather than the subscription version linked to from "Environment at a Glance."   The free online resource, http://www.worldcat.org/ , is easily adaptable to your locality by entering a location or postal code.  WorldCat will tell you if there are nearby libraries that own the book that you need.  You should check with those libraries to see if you may have access to look at the book onsite.

Also, many public libraries (perhaps especially in the US and Canada) will borrow books on your behalf from other libraries through interlibrary loan.  So check with your local public library.  Many academic libraries will have arrangements that at can be made, particularly but not necessarily exclusively for alumni, that will allow you to have access to or to borrow books from them, sometimes for a fee. 

Finally, US Federal Depository Libraries provide a free access point to government publications and research help, including environmental topics and publications of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, The Forest Service, and so on, and help finding publications such as Environmental Impact Statements across the Federal bureaucracy.  To find a Federal Depository Library near you (if you are in the United States), see this map: http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp .

Please do feel free to contact "Ask a Librarian" at Harvard, or to email a specific Harvard librarian if despite trying the options above, you are still having trouble locating the material that you need. 

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