Getting to Know U: Tarek

By Robert Lisiecki

The librarians, students, and faculty at Gale U need solutions that produce results. It’s not simply a matter of having something for the sake of having it. No, they have real needs and need resources to fulfill these needs.

With that, it’s time for another edition of Getting to Know U. Today, Tarek, a Senior Political Science student in the Undergraduate Library, is the focus of conversation.


As with all majors, Political Science students have different goals and ambitions. Tarek is the motivated, driven type. He’s the type of person that wants to be the critical thinker of today and the difference maker of tomorrow.

Growing up, Tarek dreamt about one day becoming the President of the United States. While he doesn’t know if that’s still a plausible goal, Tarek is keeping his aims high. So, he is really focused on practicality and utility.

Some students enjoy taking a variety of classes and learning about different subjects. Tarek is an avid learner, not some who is looking for “fun” courses. Instead, he wants to make sure his education translates into getting a real-world job.

One of his needs, then, is resources that provide him with real-world knowledge.

As an active Political Science major, Tarek organizes campaigns and volunteers in between working and going to classes. Again, he’s a practical and ambitious guy. Thus, he likes to be informed.

Tarek isn’t just looking to get involved, he wants to get involved with purpose. He likes to research and understand certain political issues before deciding whether to lend his support. He needs solid, and hopefully unbiased, information about hot, current issues.

Gale supplies Tarek with the resources he needs to ensure he’s ready to take the next step in his personal evolution. Today, we’ll focus on two resources that fit his needs.

The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2010

To be fair, the two challenges or needs that Tarek has can be simplified to useful, everyday knowledge. The phrasing “real-world knowledge” can be a little ambiguous, though.

Let’s try to clarify what that really means. Many textbooks offer stock examples and definitions about problems or situations one would address. For a Political Science major, a textbook would be able to help the student learn about terminology and usage examples. However, such an approach wouldn’t necessarily help Tarek understand the application.

He needs to know about the history of politics as it happen and is happening so he can apply to his daily practices. Textbook knowledge will only take him so far in his career. Learning about political situations that have happened will afford him a better understanding of his political scope.

To gain some “real-world knowledge,” Tarek trusts The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2010.

The Economist has reported on the world’s political, business, scientific, technological, and cultural developments as well as the connections between them for years. Having access to every issue at a moment’s notice though the resource allows Tarek to gain the real-world knowledge he desires.

He can learn about key political issues and see how they were reported and how they progressed. The resource gives him the option to browse issues by date or to simply search for particular topics of interest.

While it’s not going to give him all of the information he needs, as it’s only one perspective, this resource gives Tarek the type of information that he won’t find simply by going to class (since a class can only cover so much). It also allows his professors to pull issues or articles for class assignments.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2010 and other similar resources give Tarek some nice everyday insight into the happenings of the world over time. While this information is great, he also needs solid and timely information about today’s hot topics to help him with his campaigns.

For this need, Tarek utilizes Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

The simple, yet informative interface of Opposing Viewpoints in Context is appeasing to Tarek, because it intuitively delivers the information he needs.

Tarek takes solace in the fact that the resource is updated monthly with new topics, and updated daily with new information.

For instance, he can find a portal page on “Minimum Wage” that offers the latest articles and news from top-level publications. So, he knows he can speak about this issue with confidence (instead of having to rely on blogs or unaccredited media outlets).

Tarek’s favorite aspect of Opposing Viewpoints in Context is the fact that it isn’t leading. He is a critical thinker and takes pride in making informative decisions. He doesn’t, on the other hand, appreciate being told what is right or wrong. He’d rather formulate his own opinion.

The resource offers Features Viewpoints and Viewpoints that highlight arguments for both sides of an issue. Doing so allows Tarek to see the full picture and determine his stance from there. It doesn’t label the viewpoints as pro or con–instead, it helps him see the pros and cons of both sides of an issue.

These are two examples of resources that are going to equip Tarek with the knowledge he needs to shape the political world today and tomorrow.

Learn more about Tarek, and then check out some other folks at Gale U. Come back next week for an in-depth look into another Gale U member.


photoAbout the Author

Robert is a left-handed person living in a right-handed world. He is showing English majors that it is possible to get a job in the “real world” with an English degree. He likes giant carrots.




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