Becoming a Professional III: Additional Ways
to Stay Current


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What if I find an information source that is behind a paywall?

What if someone sends you a link to an article, but you can't access it freely?  Depending on where you are, you may have a few options available to you to get it at little or no cost.

No cost

If you are near a land-grant or state university, you are able to use that institution's library resources by going in to the physical building and using one of their computers.  As the library's collections are supported by public dollars, you have the right to go to that library and use the materials at that location. 

Keep in mind, that even though they are publicly funded, access to specific libraries may require additional permissions to access (e.g. a visitor's pass is required for non-Vet Med personnel to enter the Vet Med building to get to the Vet Med Library).

Some cost

Check with your public library to see how much they charge to request materials through their Interlibrary Loan service (there is usually a fee).  If the provider (e.g. Elsevier) states $35.95 on their site to pay for access, check with your local public library, as they might be able to get that same article for $25.00.

How to stay current

In addition to joining an association(s), there are several ways to stay current in maintaining best practices as you progress through your career.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Interview others

As you meet with faculty and other practitioners, find out what methods they employ to stay current/up-to-date.  You might find some really good ideas and maybe some apps/technologies to help you stay current and organized.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Virginia Tech offers a Continuing Education program that lists upcoming lectures, events, conferences, etc. that you can partake in (check out the nearest veterinary school to your practice once you graduate if you're not near Tech!)

Join an online Veterinary Group:
Clinical trials,  know what's going on:

Virginia Tech conducts clinical trials - look in on these periodically so you stay aware of what some of the latest studies are.  And if you have a patient that might fit one of the trials, you can become involved with contributing to the scientific body of knowledge (and see the results of the study published in the future!)

Tools and technology to stay organized

There are several tools and technologies to help stay organized. This section focuses on using Bibliographic/Citation Managers. 

Usually these tools are used for adding citations into research papers/projects, but you can also use them to manage reading lists and organizing your sources of information together as you see fit using folders (bonus, one citation can be in multiple folders!).  They allow you to store and annotate PDFs, 

The three citation managers we provide support for are:

Need help deciding which to use: See our Choosing a citation manager guide for a quick overview of the above three managers.