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Procrastinating your research paper? You may be missing out on online inter-library opportunities
DeAnn Reed
Antelope Staff
Photo by DeAnn Reed
John Ritterbush sits at the reference desk waiting to answer questions from students. He is in charge of the online electronic sources at the UNK library.

It’s the night before, and it’s crunch time. The research paper assigned three weeks ago is now due. You panic and run to the library to do some research and realize the library is closed.

Sound familiar? According to John Ritterbush, head of the electronic resources at the on-campus library, the biggest mistake students make is waiting until the last moment.

“If you give yourself even a week’s worth of lead time, you will do yourself much benefit in terms of the type of results you will get in your research and being able to get materials through inter-library loans,” Ritterbush said.

These inter-library articles only take a few days to acquire. Those few days could make a student’s paper easier to write, Ritterbush said.

But if waiting until the last minute to write a research paper is still the staple of a student’s research habits, one thing is definitely changing at the library: what students will have access to.

Many journal articles are increasingly going to an online only format, Ritterbush said. “Scholarly journals articles are no longer going to be in print format.”

Students who are used to walking up to the shelf and grabbing a journal article will be jolted into reality because “those days are quickly changing,” Ritterbush said. The cost to the school remains the same, but the way resources will be accessed will change.

Students are often surprised by what is actually available to them. The phenomenon is not just confined to UNK’s campus. “We’ve got a real challenge before us as librarians to help our users be aware of the wonderful resources that are really only available through library databases that we subscribe to and for which students are already paying for through their library enhancement fee,” Ritterbush said. Students are really leaving money on the table when they don’t take advantage of what the school is providing for them. These databases are the only place where you can find full text for scholarly journals, magazines or certain newspapers.

“To just do a search on Google or Wikipedia is leaving out a huge reservoir of information,” Ritterbush said. The library really tries hard to help students succeed in their academic endeavors. Research help is available online through Question Point. Assistance is advertised at Ask Us 24/7 through a chat widget.

Librarians are available 12 hours a day. If someone is not at the library to answer students' questions, they can e-mail for assistance.

For more information, go to and click on the “Current Students” tab. The library resources are located under the resource tab.

Video by DeAnn Reed

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