`Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can
find information upon it.'
(Dr. Johnson, Boswell's Life of Johnson, p.365, 18 April, 1775).
Use the University library - learn how to find information and to look up references in the
catalogue. You should learn how to access the computer and search for information by subject,
author, and title. You also need to discover where the call-numbers are physically located in the
library. There is a mass of information waiting for you, but it will not come to you, you have to
go to it. It can be a fairly daunting prospect at first. The University provides an introduction to
library use - you should attend this and make careful notes.
The Library contains books and periodicals, but also has few other things worth knowing about.
The government publications' section can prove valuable and there are various data basis
available for electronic search. The Business Periodicals on Disc programme allows you to read
articles, and if you wish you can print up any of interest (at a price). This is often a good place to
find information that is not yet in textbooks, and sometimes never will be.
Do not ignore the reference section either, which contains masses of information. You might
find it useful to make a note of a few shelf call numbers of interest to your subjects, so that you
can check easily in the future if seeking information.
When in the library, keep silent and allow others to study in peace.
Do not mark or write in library books, it is annoying to others. You can, and many argue should,
write in your own books. Do not hide books in obscure places for your own use and please do
not steal them or tear out chapters or articles from books and journals. This is not only very
antisocial, but the punishments are severe. Try to get your library books back on time - you can
renew by telephone. If you are late, you accumulate points and eventually will be banned from
borrowing books or fined. Until you pay off the fines, you cannot receive a degree. It helps if
you write in your diary or wall calendar when they are due back. You can also keep them
physically separate on the shelf from books you own, so that you do not `lose' a book and not
realise it is a library book and overdue.
Remember that there are other libraries in Brisbane, including not only public lending libraries,
but also the State Reference Library. These can sometimes provide an alternate source of
information. It is not normally worth wasting time going round several public libraries to see
what is on offer, but it may be worth checking out the nearest one to where you live. The
University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology both have excellent
libraries and you can request books on the Inter Campus Loan system. Most of your main books
and journals should be in Griffith University Library and that is the one that you will probably
use the most.
One of the most useful skills you can learn at university is how to use a library to your best
advantage. After you have graduated and found a job, it is probable that many of you will have
to find information quickly for a boss, or write a report on something you know little or nothing
about when you are given the task. If you can get into a library and pull out masses of relevant
and recent information quickly, this will be of great advantage to you. You will also have your
own interests in life, be it surfboard designing or bee-keeping, and again there is usually a lot
more information available than you would think, if you know where and how to look. It is a
total waste of time to reinvent the wheel, and others may even suffer if you try. The highly
intelligent and famous Germaine Greer recounted in a newspaper article how she started to keep
chickens in her rural English garden and how they fought and suffered quite badly. She did not
know what to do. It was clear that she had not done sufficient, if any, homework, as letters
telling her what seemed to be standard information on how to avoid the problems immediately
came in. The message is clear: you can look up much of the information you will need and do
not need to start experimenting all over again.