The tutorial is designed for students of the SMC Life Sciences Department's biology classes, and prepares them for doing required library research assignments. The exercises of the tutorial assume that the students are at the beginning level of library research. Some questions and concepts are repeated several times, therefore, to optimize opportunity for students to absorb and remember their import.

The tutorial also assumes that the students have basic skills in using computers, and that they will principally be using the library materials and content resources of the Santa Monica College Library, both on and off campus. Students are also required by their department to use the resources of the UCLA Biomedical Library as appropriate. 

The tutorial is divided into several parts, starting with sections that introduce general and fundamental concepts of library organization and use, and progressing to use of site-specific resources at, or made available through, both Santa Monica College Library and the Biomedical Library. 

A primary goal of the tutorial is to empower students to fulfill their biology research assignments as independently and efficiently as possible. If students follow the tutorial instructions and work in sequence, they should acquire skills that will help them throughout their school careers.


  1. Please read the sections of the tutorial in sequential order.
  2. Please take the quizzes in sequential order, usually after reading and reviewing a major section or set of sections.

  3. Follow guidelines and timelines suggested by your biology instructor.


  1. The readings contain links to quizzes, Santa Monica College websites, SMC Library websites, UCLA websites, other Internet sites, or simply to other sections of the tutorial. Except for links to quizzes or other exercises, several of the other connections are provided mainly for your later review, information, and convenience.

  2. Use the links as minimally as necessary to complete the quizzes and exercises or get needed information. Then, proceed with the rest of the tutorial. Though it might be tempting to explore, keep in mind that you want to finish the tutorial in a timely manner.

  3. Come back to those tempting links as time permits after you have finished the tutorial quizzes.

  4. Helpful hint: Before setting out on your journey to UCLA, print out and take with you a hard copy of appropriate links marked with an asterisk (*) below.


  1. Please make an earnest effort to complete the exercises on your own before seeking help.

  2. Read the readings and instructions thoroughly. Then, if you still have questions, feel free to address them with the appropriate contact: an SMC librarian or your biology instructor.

  3. Consult with SMC reference librarians if you need help with the library aspects of the tutorial. They will be happy to assist you in any way they can regarding the use of library resources for the tutorial.

  4. SMC librarians cannot interpret or rule on the content or correctness of your departmental assignments. Please ask your instructor for help in such cases.

  5. At UCLA, the Biomedical Library staff members are highly impacted and have the primary job of helping UCLA-affiliated users. Try to get the information and help you need from your instructor or from SMC librarians, as appropriate, prior to your trip to the Biomedical Library.

  6. Your instructor is the arbiter of all course-related aspects of your assignment. If you have questions or concerns, please consult with them.


  1. Quizzes occur in each of the four sections of the tutorial.

  2. Scoring and grading weight, if any, is determined by your biology instructor.

  3. Information and feedback on quiz scores and results will be provided by your biology instructor, and not by the SMC librarians.

  4. Please consult with your instructor if you have any questions.

Further useful information

At the SMC Library, you will need
  • proof of current and valid SMC enrollment, such as a student identification card, in order to use some services and to check out some materials of the SMC Library

  • an SMC student e-mail account, user name and/or password for both on- and off-campus access to appropriate SMC Library online services and resources.  When on-campus, students may use computer workstations in all available campus computer labs and in the SMC Library to work on the tutorial. When off-campus, students may use their home (or any available) Internet-equipped computer.

  • SMC Library's web address for off-campus access:

  • an SMC debit copy/print card to print documents from SMC computers. You may purchase the card from vending machines near the SMC Library circulation desk and at other points on campus. Coins are not accepted in these machines

  • IBM pre-formatted 3½" floppy disks if you wish to download available documents from SMC online sources. You may purchase the disk from vending machines near the SMC Library circulation desk or from the SMC bookstore.

Here is more information on how to use your SMC student account for remote access and other services, or you can ask an SMC reference librarian.

At the Biomedical Library, you will need
  • proof of current, valid SMC enrollment on hand, such as a student identification card, if you wish to purchase a limited-privileges UCLA library card. Generally, SMC student ID is NOT needed just to visit the library or to access materials not calling for UC affiliation. The UCLA library card that SMC students can purchase is made available, for a fee, to non-UC, currently-enrolled students of other California colleges. Check with the library card staff at the Biomedical, Powell, or Research library for current cost.

  • The Biomedical Library's web address, for access when away from the UCLA campus:

  • A UCLA debit copy/print card to print available online documents from Biomedical Library computers. You may purchase the card from vending machines near the Biomedical Library entrance and at other points on UCLA's campus. Coins are not accepted in debit card machines.

  • 3½" floppy disks pre-formatted for IBM/PCs, if you wish to download available documents from UCLA online sources.