Research Services and Instruction
Library faculty work with instructional and research faculty and students in specific academic programs and departments to promote new resources, consult with faculty about acquiring specific scholarly resources, assist graduate students with thesis or dissertation research, and conduct instructional and training sessions for all levels of library users—students, faculty and staff.
The University Libraries provides a variety of instructional services tailored to the curricular and academic programs of the university's schools and colleges. Library instruction offered ranges from workshops to classes, and is aligned with and embedded in the university's undergraduate and graduate curricula. Technology-rich instructional venues are available in all of the libraries.
Research & Consultation Services
Academic, special collections, and other functional staff provide research and consultative assistance to students, faculty and staff. Research projects can range from class assignments to lengthier research assignments, to capstone course and graduate degree requirements (i.e., thesis or dissertation), to research and scholarship leading to publication and related scholarly communications. For help in a specific discipline, consult the website.
Library research materials in various formats are housed on the Fairfax Campus at the Charles Rogers Fenwick Library and the Gateway Library in the Johnson Center; on the Arlington Campus at the Arlington Campus Library; and on the Science and Technology Campus at the Mercer Library. The Antonin Scalia Law School Library, on the Arlington Campus, is administered separately, but maintains close programmatic and service coordination with all of Mason's libraries. Combined holdings, including the law library, total more than 1.4 million print books and bound journal volumes; 1.6 million e-books; 170,000 online journals and proceedings; 158,000 online audiovisual items; 56,000 multimedia materials; 2.7 million microform units; 309,000 print government documents (U.S., Virginia, and European Union); 214,000 maps; 792 electronic databases; and significant holdings of manuscripts, special collections, and archives.
Mason's integrated library information system and its discovery layer interface access an online catalog, circulation records and print course-reserves information. The information system can be used in any of the libraries from campus locations on the network or via the web. Electronic course reserves are provided through Blackboard (Bb), the university's learning management system. The Libraries' website, offers access to a variety of networked digital resources and electronically mediated services, including a virtual reference service.
Current affiliations include the following:
- The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) Program, a Virginia funded electronic and resource-sharing program for public higher-education institutions;
- The Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), whose membership includes American, Catholic, Gallaudet, Georgetown, George Washington, Howard, Marymount, and District of Columbia universities, provide resource sharing services;
- The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, which includes the 36 largest university libraries in a 10-state region;
- The Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network, a Chicago-based research library for research, along with its affiliate Linda Hall Library of Engineering and Technology (Kansas City, MO), whose multimillion volume holdings comprise specialized and uniquely held materials in North America and;
- The international Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), whose extensive computerized system and network facilitate national and international library resource-sharing activities and shared cataloging of scholarly material worldwide.
An intercampus delivery service is available for students and faculty requesting materials held at any Mason campus library. Materials not held by Mason can be obtained by direct borrowing from WRLC institution libraries via the Consortium Loan Service, and other research libraries via interlibrary loan, or, when required, commercial delivery services.
Expanded academic support services also include the following:
Digital Scholarship Center
The Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) is the library's most sophisticated response to the interdisciplinary research, teaching and learning needs of our digital researchers. Our focus is supporting scholarly or academic activities that are conducted or enhanced through the use of data and digital technologies. DiSC staff and affiliates deliver a cluster of digital research services and the center itself offers a technology-rich location where discovery, exploration, collaboration and ultimately learning occur.
Data Services & GIS
An integrated service supporting faculty and students engaged in data-centric research (e.g., social science data sets, polling, census, geospatial data, and data archives). This includes consultation services, training and assistance with finding and using data, conducting data collection and analysis, utilizing statistical and qualitative software packages, and geographic information systems (GIS). Other help offered includes advice on creating funder-mandated data management plans, research data repository services and access to government information and maps.
Digital Projects Lab
One of two labs in the Digital Scholarship Center, the Digital Projects Lab is designed, configured and equipped to support and encourage collaborative work on digital projects.
This service provides a virtual, real-time, reference service which allows staff to provide reference service to students, faculty and staff remotely.
The Mason Publishing Group provides support and resources to the George Mason University community for creating, curating, and disseminating scholarly, creative, and educational works. Mason Publishing includes a cluster of publishing-related activities such as the George Mason University Press, scholarly communication and copyright, University Dissertation & Thesis Services, Mason's institutional repository (MARS), electronic journal hosting and publishing, and data publication.
George Mason University Press
A component of Mason Publishing, the George Mason University Press publishes in a variety of disciplines ranging from literature to public policy. The Press seeks to promote access to scholarly works that concern the university, other area institutions, and the history, politics and culture of the local area.
Mason Archival Repository Service
As part of Mason Publishing, the Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) serves as an institutional repository and provides a stable digital archive for scholarly and research materials of lasting value held notably by Special Collections Research Center or produced by Mason faculty, students, and staff. The institutional repository librarian provides expert advice on archiving these materials, file formats, copyright issues, long-term management of archived materials, and issues pertaining to scholarly communication.
Scholarly Communications and Copyright Resources
Phone: 703-993-2544 or 2427
Integrated within Mason Publishing, this functional service provides guidance, assistance, and education on copyright, open access, and scholarly communications issues. More specifically, this office provides assistance with the application of fair use of proprietary content used in classroom teaching, electronic course reserves, online education; student assignments; open access and university publishing and support; and promoting faculty scholarship and collaborations. Workshops and class instruction on these topics and other are available year-round, upon request.
University Dissertation and Thesis Services
A component of Mason Publishing, the University Dissertation and Thesis Service (UDTS) assists students and academic units in the dissertation, thesis, and graduate-level project process by helping students meet all university requirements and deadlines for submission of work. The UDTS web site provides useful tools such as the university's Thesis, Dissertation, or Project Guide, containing downloadable templates of necessary elements, forms required for the submission process, and links to related web sites. UDTS also assists graduate students through individual consultation and informational workshops.
Special Collections Research Center
Housed in the recently expanded Fenwick Library in a new state-of-the-art space, this unit acquires, documents, preserves, and provides access to primary research collections and documents. SCRC's services, collections and programs support the teaching and research activities of George Mason University and also serve the community at large. With unique print and digitized collections that offer outstanding opportunities for research with original sources, its holdings focus on Mason's academic areas of strength, as well as document the development of the Washington-Northern Virginia metro area. The collections – in large part, rare and exceptional materials – are categorized by broad areas such as: humanities and social sciences; Northern Virginia and regional history; oral histories; politics and government; prints and photographs; Reston, Virginia; science and technology; theater and performing arts; transportation and planning; university archives and history. SCRC houses the university's records management program; and, through its oral history program, undertakes the creation of audiovisual documentary resources.
University Records Management
A part of the Special Collections Research Center, this services assists university academic and administrative departments with the retention and disposition of institutional records, both print/physical and digital, and in accordance with Virginia state laws, policies, and guidelines. University Records Management offers a variety of online guidance, as well as in-person workshops, instruction sessions, and records evaluations to assist faculty and staff. University Records Management maintains an on-site records center where inactive paper records may be stored and university records are properly disposed.
Beckman, Bell, Bowdoin, Bushallow, Butler, Byrd, Calcagno, Carter, Clark, Coniglio, Cowan, Eaton, Edwards, English, Euliano, Evans, Fairclough, Ferrance, Gerber, Griesinger, Grimm, Henson, Hoffman, Holland, Kelly, Kermer, Kirker, Lam, Landry, Lee, Mackenzie, Mann, Mattson, McManus, Melville, Noh, Oberle, Oberlies, O'Gara, Polchow, Ramos, Roszkowski, A. Stevens, J. Stevens, Suh, Sullivan, Vay, Warren, West
Kehoe, Osterman, Stockwell
Designed to LEED silver standards, the newly renovated Fenwick Library, George Mason University's main research library, has greatly expanded services, learning spaces, and digital technology and resources for the Mason Community. The modern, bright facility, with furniture that can accommodate individual study as well as group collaboration, includes many new and expanded features. The majority of the University Libraries' 1.4 million volumes are located in Fenwick Library. General circulating materials are available on floors three through five, with periodicals and government documents on the first floor. Compact shelving on the first, third, and fourth floors allow for increased capacity of the Libraries' print collection, freeing up space for students to do research and to study. Fenwick Library houses the state-of-the-art Special Collections Research Center on the second floor.
Located on the first floor, the Information Desk is a unified full-service assistance desk, providing a single point of contact for research questions and access to collections in Fenwick Library. It is located in the Atrium as you enter the library. An express checkout station allows the Mason community to scan their own items to borrow. Laptops are available for checkout from a dispenser. The addition provides 30 new group study rooms, each equipped with white boards and monitors. A handful of MediaScape collaboration study rooms allow up to 4 students to share their laptop screens simultaneously. Also, two presentation practice rooms are designed to allow students a space to practice and revise oral presentations.
Fenwick Library has expanded the number of instructional spaces and created new seminar spaces. The first floor rooms can be combined to accommodate up to 80 students, and the fourth floor instruction space is a sandbox for exploring innovative classroom technology. Two exhibition and gallery spaces showcase student and faculty art, as well as items from the Special Collections Research Center.
The second floor houses the Research Commons, a space designed to bring together much of the research activity in the Libraries in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment. The Research Commons includes a large open area for group study and collaboration, the Special Collections Research Center, the Digital Scholarship Center, the Music Library, University Dissertation and Thesis Services, tutoring space for the Writing Center, and the offices of most of the University Libraries' subject specialist librarians. In addition, the modern Main Reading Room, with seating for 75, provides a space for quiet reflection and study on the second floor.
The fifth floor is the graduate study zone which includes Graduate Study Carrels and the Dissertations Writers' Room, quiet spaces designed to give graduate students a place to pursue their research and writing, and a faculty collaborative room which provides a place for Mason faculty to work on projects.
Assistive technologies are available onsite for individuals with disabilities.
The Gateway Library is part of the George W. Johnson Center integrated learning environment and provides large open study areas and schedulable group study rooms that offer an invigorating alternative study environment. Access to all electronic scholarly information held by the University Libraries is available, in addition to media collections and a circulating book collection that supports the university's undergraduate curriculum. While the library provides reference services, its focus is on instructional services that are designed to improve and enhance undergraduate education fluency and competency with library research skills. The Gateway Library is the center for media collections and services for the university library system, and provides course support through reserve materials (electronic, print, and media) for students and faculty on the Fairfax Campus, as well as management of the electronic reserves service for the entire library system. Assistive technologies available onsite include screen-reading software, text-enlargement software, and special hardware for individuals with disabilities.
Arlington Campus Library
This library is a full-service research facility supporting the teaching and research needs of Mason faculty, students, and staff on the Arlington Campus. Consistent with this campus' distinct areas of academic specialization at the graduate level, the library's collection emphasizes public policy, international commerce, economics, management of nonprofit organizations, conflict resolution and arts management. The library has significant research materials holding and is a depository of European Union documents. Intercampus delivery of circulating materials from other library sites is available. Library staff can provide research assistance and instruction for students, faculty, and staff in identifying and using research resources, which continue to grow in breadth and depth. Assistive technologies are available for people with disabilities.
Mercer Library (Science and Technology Campus)
This library supports Mason faculty, students, and staff in the programs and courses offered on the Science and Technology Campus, including applied information technology; biotechnology, bioinformatics, and biodefense; education; environmental sciences and policy; Governor's School @ Innovation Park; health, fitness and recreation resources; molecular and microbiology; tourism; and visual and performing arts. This library also supports faculty and students in the Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation on the Front Royal Campus.
The library provides access to university-wide electronic resources, with an emphasis on instruction and assistance with information resources and research. The library fosters partnerships to provide information services to the rapidly expanding corporate and technology presence in Prince William County. Assistive technologies for people with disabilities are available.
Antonin Scalia Law School Library (Hazel Hall, Arlington Campus)
Phone: 703-993-8120 (circulation desk)
Deborah M. Keene, Associate Dean, Library and Technology
The law library supports the Antonin Scalia Law School and has a collection of over 476,000 print and microfiche volumes with an emphasis on law and economics, intellectual property, corporate and securities law, regulatory law, and Virginia law. The library also provides access to electronic law resources including LexisNexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, Index to Legal Periodicals, Bloomberg Law and BNA Premier and is a selective depository for U.S. Government documents. The law library is open to all members of the university community. Most of the collection does not circulate, but many of the books in the treatise collection are available for checkout by all faculty, students, and staff.