Services for Distance Learners

View a brief video welcome to Penfield Library (5 min.)
Books for Distance Learners
To Search for Useful Books: Library Catalog
To Receive Books From Penfield Library: Book Delivery
To Receive Books From Other Libraries: ILL through your local public library
Journal Articles for Distance Learners
To Search for Useful Journal Articles: Research Guides by Subject
To Receive Articles From Penfield Library: E-Journals and Article Delivery
To Receive Articles From Other Libraries: ILL through Penfield or through your local public library

Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego offers a wide variety of services and resources for students and faculty coming to our doors through the World Wide Web. Our address on the web is: You may want to take a moment right now to add this address to the list of bookmarks or favorite sites you maintain.

If at some time you can visit us, location and parking information is available at "Driving Directions."

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About This Page

This page is intended to orient SUNY Oswego distance students and faculty to library services and resources available to them. Distance learners may be taking or teaching classes through the SUNY Learning Network or at off-campus locations. Many of our distance learners cannot easily travel to the Oswego campus, and so may have difficulty accessing campus library resources. Even if you are enrolled at a distance, however, you have access to numerous services and resources from this website, including the online full text of over 40,000 journals. We hope the material presented here will help you get the most out of your courses at Oswego. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact our Distance Learning Librarian.

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Activate Your Oswego Campus Technology Services (CTS) Account

Many of the resources we feature on the next few pages are not available to you on the Internet other than at our website, and you must have a SUNY Oswego CTS (Campus Technology Services) computer account to access them. This username, now called LakerNetID, and password is used for SLN Angel access and Oswego email as well as database access.

Please go to our Web Site Technical Information and Help page to learn how to activate your account. This page also provides information concerning access issues relating to various library resources.

Other IDs and Account Numbers You May Need

We do not as yet have a single registration or account that serves all the systems we want to make available to you. The following items may prove valuable to you.

Electronic Reserves: Your instructor may place materials onto our Electronic Reserves system for your course.  You will log in with your Laker NetID but will need the passcode supplied by your professor to access the folder for your course.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): Log in with your Laker NetID.

Library Number: You will need this to check out books from Penfield or to receive books through Book Delivery. If you have an Oswego University ID card, your Library Number is printed on that. If you do not have a University ID card, we will issue a number to you when you make your first request for Book Delivery. To login on the library catalog you can uses either your library number or your Laker NetID.

Some of our online database suppliers, such as EBSCO and OCLC, can provide extra services to you if you register with them for a free account. These services may include "saved" items and research alerts for new items.

MyOswego: Web-based class registration and other services from the SUNY Oswego administration are available from this service. Login with your Laker NetID.

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Starting Your Research: Background Information

A wide range of online encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, and other reference sources are available from our "Reference Resources" link on the library home page. Additional sources for background information are listed in the Research Guides, found on the library home page. You should also become familiar with the Reference Room collections and services of your local libraries. We can help you identify and locate useful reference works.

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Your Local Library Resources

Although you have a substantial amount of material available to you electronically, you will miss an important part of your education if you do not become familiar with libraries as physical and social spaces. We urge you to visit the libraries in your local area and establish connections with them.

Most college and university libraries welcome community patrons. They are likely to allow you to use their databases, books and journals on-site as a guest. They might also allow you limited borrowing privileges. All SUNY campuses take part in the Open Access program and allow borrowing privileges to students from other SUNY campuses. Other academic libraries may charge you a fee for borrowing privileges. A phone call or a visit to their website should get you the details for any particular library. Or we can help you make arrangements.

Public libraries serve virtually everyone in the United States. These are usually smaller libraries with collections that are very different from those of academic libraries. However, they will have helpful Reference Room collections and services, and can provide Interlibrary Loan services. More and more public libraries also have their own access to online databases. Contact us if you have any trouble using your local public library.

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Tutorial for Basic Information Literacy

If you have not used a college or university library for a while and feel rusty in your library skills, then you may be interested in the Lake Effect Research Challenge. It is designed to help you with all the library and information know-how that you need to succeed in writing a basic research paper. You are welcome to use any parts that seem helpful to you.

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You can ask us for help via email, phone, text or chat by visiting our Ask a Librarian page. You can also schedule a Skype Xtreme Research appointment for one-on-one research assistance.