My Duke Library: Elizabeth Smithwick’s Perspective

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Smithwick and I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. I am a senior at Duke studying chemistry. My undergraduate thesis focuses on calculating the redox potentials of iron-sulfur proteins. After graduation, I will be pursuing my Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Outside of school I enjoy hiking, painting, and reading science fiction. My favorite book currently is The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin.


How has the library impacted your Duke experience?  

For me, the libraries have always been a place to connect with other people while also tackling my courses at Duke. In contrast to being in my room studying all the time, I feel a sense of camaraderie with my peers in the library that I don’t always feel in other spaces at Duke. I am reminded that everyone here at Duke is working hard to do their very best.

Duke senior Elizabeth Smithwick

What’s something you’ve discovered in the library? 

My sophomore year I was enrolled in an Italian Renaissance art history class and as a research project, we were assigned to investigate an obscure Italian painter. For the painter I received, Marco Basaiti, the amount of information online was sparse, and I was unsure where to go next. Thankfully I was able to find a few physical books on art in the Renaissance that made brief mention to Marco Basaiti in the collection at Lilly library which opened a few more avenues of investigation. Specifically it was a book of drawings by old masters that led me to a few of his more well-known contemporaries that allowed me to find more material on Basaiti himself. Most of the research I had done in the past had mainly been in the form of online journal articles so exploring the stacks in Lilly was a novel experience and gave me a much greater appreciation for the large collection Duke already possesses.

What’s a favorite space or service? And why?

My favorite service of the library is the Document Delivery Service. The ability to access almost any scientific article reasonably quickly and easily is an extremely powerful tool and one I wouldn’t know what to do without.

Elizabeth’s library pro tip: 

Reach out to the librarians for research help with class projects and independent studies. Odds are they know of something that will help make research easier or more efficient. I know my life was forever changed as soon as I learned about EndNote which is a way to manage references for papers.

My Duke Library is a project of the Research and Instructional Services department.

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