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, develop and maintain research guides, support online courses, collaborate in offering research programs and scholarly events, and conduct instructional and training sessions for all levels of library users—students, faculty and staff.
The libraries provide a variety of instructional services tailored to the curricular and academic programs of the university's schools and colleges. Library instruction 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
Expert library faculty provide research and consultative assistance to students, faculty and staff at any stage of the research process. Research support ranges from class assignments to lengthier research projects, to capstone course and graduate degree requirements (i.e., thesis or dissertation), to digital humanities data and GIS support, 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 Fenwick Library; on the Arlington Campus at the Arlington Campus Library (Van Metre Hall); and on the Science and Technology Campus at the Mercer Library (Colgan Hall). The Antonin Scalia Law School Library, on the Arlington Campus (Hazel Hall), is administered separately, but maintains close programmatic and service coordination with all of Mason's libraries. Combined holdings, including the law library, include: print books and bound journal volumes; e-books; online journals and proceedings; online audiovisual items; multimedia materials; microform units; print government documents (U.S., Virginia, and European Union); maps; 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, and course-reserves information. The 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.
George Mason University libraries' resources are significantly supplemented by the following current affiliations:
- 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 other members include American, Catholic, Gallaudet, Georgetown, George Washington, Howard, Marymount, and District of Columbia universities, provides 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, 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;
- HathiTrust Digital Library, a partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world; and
- The international Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) 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. The 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 digital research services, and the center itself offers a technology-rich environment 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). Services include consultations, training and assistance with finding and using data, conducting data collection and analysis, using statistical and qualitative software packages, and geographic information systems (GIS). Other assistance offered includes advice on creating funder-mandated data management plans, research data repository services and access to government information and maps.
The field of digital humanities is a broad one, encompassing multiple disciplines within the humanities. At a basic level, digital humanities simply refers to the use of digital tools and methods to further scholarship. At its more complex, digital humanities involves re-imagining the way we approach original textual sources, electronic texts and data, research, narrative, and the publication and interpretation of scholarship.
To support digital scholarship in the field of digital humanities, the Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) provides a variety of services; offering workshops, providing one-on-one consultations and in-classroom instruction sessions on digital humanities platforms, software, and skills. DiSC provide support for Omeka users. The computer lab offers access to requisite hardware, such as scanners and a HoverCam, as well as software, including Gephi, Palladio, Voyant, and GIS. DiSC also has access to content from selected full text primary source databases in a form that can be used for text mining and analysis.
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 research 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, Open Educational Resources, 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.
Scholarly Communications and Copyright Resources
Phone: 703-993-2544 or 2427
Integrated within Mason Publishing, this service provides guidance, assistance, and education on copyright, open access, and scholarly communications issues. 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.
Open Educational Resources (OER)
Through the Mason Publishing program, the libraries provide a "one-stop-shop" for university faculty interested in understanding the purpose of OER, finding and using OER, and assistance finding resources to develop OER for teaching university classes on their own terms.
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.
Mason Archival Repository Service
Another facet 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 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.
Special Collections Research Center
Housed in the Fenwick Library in a state-of-the-art space, this unit acquires, documents, preserves, and provides access to primary research collections and documents. Special Collections Research Center's (SCRC) 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, holdings focus on Mason's academic areas of strength, as well as the development of the Washington-Northern Virginia metro area. The collections – in large part, rare and exceptional materials – encompass 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 service assists university academic and administrative departments with retention and disposition of institutional records, both print/physical and digital, in accordance with Virginia state laws, policies, and guidelines. University Records Management offers 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, Blinstrub, Bopp, Bowdoin, Bushallow, Butler, Calcagno, Carter, Clark, Coniglio, Darnell, Ding, Eaton, Edwards, Evans, Fahringer, Gerber, Grimm, Henson, Heilbrun, Hoffman, Hunter, Kermer, Kierig, Kim, Kirker, Lam, Landry, Leak, Lee, Lemmons, Lewis, Mackenzie, MacVaugh, Magee, Mann, Mattson, McManus, Melville, Oberle, O'Gara, Rondeau, Roszkowski, Rouner, Schubel, Spitler, A. Stevens, J. Stevens, Suh, Sullivan, Vay, Watkins, Westcott
Kehoe, Osterman, Stockwell
Designed to LEED silver standards, the Fenwick Library, George Mason University's main research library, provides services, learning spaces, digital technology and resources for the Mason community. The modern, bright facility accommodates individual study as well as group collaboration. The majority of the University Libraries' 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. The state-of-the-art Special Collections Research Center is located on the second floor. Compact shelving on the first, third, and fourth floors allow for increased capacity of the Libraries' print collection, freeing up space for research, study, and collaboration.
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. Laptops are available for checkout from a dispenser. The addition provides 30 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 offers a number of both instructional and 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.
The fifth floor graduate study zone includes Graduate Study Carrels and the Dissertations Writers' reserved spaces; quiet spots designed to give graduate students a place to pursue their research and writing. A graduate student silent reading room is also available on the fifth floor.
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 group study rooms that can be scheduled, offering an invigorating alternative study environment. While this space in the Johnson Center is transitioning in terms of services offered, access is available to all electronic scholarly information held and provided by the University Libraries. This library also partners with a number of academic and academic support units such as: Honors College, Communications department, the Writing Center, INTO Mason, and the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) - in designing and delivering related services in support of students' academic success.
Arlington Campus Library
This library, located on the second and third floors of Van Metre Hall, 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.
This library, located on the first floor of Colgan Hall, 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
Phone: 703-993-8120 (circulation desk)
Deborah M. Keene, Associate Dean, Library and Technology
The law library, located in Hazel Hall, 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.