- The primary mission of the Ask Us service is to assist UCF students, faculty and staff via telephone, instant messaging, chat, email and text messaging. Ask Us staff will also assist non-affiliated patrons with routine ready reference questions.
- Some examples of how we can help include: checking the online catalog for book titles, assisting with locating full-text articles, recommending appropriate databases, and giving basic citation format information. Most questions are answered within 15 minutes. If more in-depth research assistance is needed, Ask Us staff may refer students or staff to a librarian for a research consultation.
- Some examples of what Ask Us staff cannot do include: answering specific homework assignments, editing research papers, or providing in-depth technical support for computers, software, or webcourses.
For policies on in-person assistance, see our Research Assistance policies.
The Libraries is committed to ensuring that its services and programs are accessible to all patrons. Please refer to our Accessibility Services page for more information.
Legal Research Assistance
UCF Libraries staff is available to answer basic questions and locate materials in the library’s legal resources, including Patents & Trademarks. For individuals without experience in legal research, library staff may direct users to legal encyclopedias and to online/print guides which explain how to conduct legal research. Library staff cannot provide services that might be interpreted as the unauthorized practice of law, such as locating relevant cases, interpreting statutes, recommending a research strategy for a specific legal situation, or giving legal advice. This policy is not only for the protection of our users, but also providing such advice violates the rules and laws governing the practice of law.
UCF Libraries instruction sessions are customized presentations, with hands-on training when possible, specifically tailored to a class’s assigned research. As such, it is recommended that faculty schedule the session at least two weeks in advance. Further, it is expected that faculty attend with their students. The faculty member’s presence emphasizes the importance of research in higher education and ensures that the instruction meets the needs of the class. For exceptions, special arrangements must be made with the librarian assigned to your class.
The Research and Information Services department at the John C. Hitt Library is dedicated to providing research assistance to the UCF community and area residents. One of the main points of contact for these services is the Research and Information Desk. To provide the best service possible, three tiers of service have been identified:
- Tier One questions are basic and directional questions that should take less than five minutes and are handled at the Research & Information Desk.
- Tier Two questions are mid-level questions that require a basic understanding of the UCF Libraries website, services, holdings, and databases. These questions should take no more than twenty minutes and should be handled at the Research & Information Desk. The librarian serving at this desk should introduce the individual to the library and its services.
- Tier Three questions are in-depth research inquiries. These questions should be directed to a librarian for a Research Consultation. The Research & Information Desk librarian may also introduce the individual to appropriate research guides and databases if time allows.
- In addition, services that cannot be provided at the Research & Information Services Desk include: software training, analysis of data using SPSS and other statistical or interpretive software, interpreting legal statutes, proofreading students’ essays, signing-off on student assignments, performing repairs, virus scans, software installations, or modifications of patrons’ laptops, and leaving the desk to help patrons find books when we’re only at single staff coverage.
For policies on research assistance via telephone, email, chat, and text, see our Ask Us policies.
A Research Consultation is a one-on-one appointment with a librarian for extensive, in-depth research assistance. Consultations are generally conducted face-to-face, but distance learners may be accommodated via telephone, online chat, or email. Please allow at least 48 hours for requests to be processed. Also, due to time and staffing constraints, the Libraries cannot accommodate entire classes signing up for Research Consultation appointments.