RHETOR 1B: Collateral Language: Alibis We Kill By

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  • John Kupersmith
  • Photo of John Kupersmith

  • Office Location: 302 Moffitt Library
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About this Guide

Library research guide for Eric Morales-Franceschini's class.

First, a few basics ...

Access all of our resources through the library website.

For off-campus access to library databases, e-books, and e-journals, set up your web browser to use our proxy server.

Get a map of the campus libraries.

Each library has its own hours - click on "Calendar" for each library to view a month at a time.

Looking for original letters, diaries, etc.?  Learn how to find Historical Primary Sources.

Let us know what you think!  After you've used this guide, please take a moment to give us your comments

Reference sources

These online sources may be useful for finding background information on your topic, and for checking facts as you write your paper.  For printed encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books, check OskiCat or ask the librarians for help.

Analyze your topic

Write down your topic.  Identify and mark the most important keywords (the ones you would definitely want to include in a search).

What is the role of euphemisms in public discourse about war?

For each keyword, see if you can think of synonyms or closely related concepts that you might also want to search.

war or military

Build and refine your search

Library catalogs and article databases offer several ways to narrow or broaden, or otherwise control your search.  Below are common methods; if they don't work, look for a "Help" link!

Most default to a quick keyword search (somewhat like Google) that assumes you want items containing all the words you type.

euphemisms war

Most let you truncate a word with a wildcard symbol (usually * ) to get plurals and other variant forms.

gets euphemism, euphemisms, euphemistic

Most offer an Advanced Search with more options, such as searching on an author's name, or words in a title.

If your search retrieves too many items, use more specific terms, or put in additional keywords.

euphemis* iraq war
gets fewer items than euphemis* war

If your search gets too few items, use more general terms or remove some keywords.

You can also combine terms with OR to get more items.

war OR military
gets items containing either term.

In library catalogs and most article databases, click on the title of an interesting item and look in the detailed display for links (blue underlined text).  These may include the author's name, "Subjects" or "Subject headings".  Clicking on one of these links will do a search for items tagged the same way.

Many catalogs and databases allow you to save items to a list/folder/etc. and e-mail, print or download the citation.  Some will allow you to output citations in a particular citation style (ex:  MLA or Chicago).

Evaluate what you find

Most books and articles you find through the library website are suitable as sources for your paper - but some are not!

Examine each source carefully to see whether it's "scholarly".  Scholarly publications include footnotes and bibliographies documenting their sources, list the author's credentials, and in most cases have been validated through a peer review process.

For guidelines, see our Critical Evaluation of Resources page, or watch this 5-minute silent video.

If you're using web pages found through Google or other search engines, evaluation is especially important, since these tools have no built-in validation of the content.  For help, see our guide to Evaluating Web Pages.

Library Catalogs

OskiCat lists books, journal titles (but not individual articles), videos, and other materials in the UC Berkeley libraries.  You can also log into "My OskiCat" to renew or request items.  You can now send book locations and call numbers directly to your cell phone [here's how].

Melvyl covers all the UC campus libraries, and shows which libraries worldwide have an item.  It also lists some journal articles.

For more information, see our Guide to Library Catalogs.

Do a quick search

For more options to make your search more precise, use the links at left.

"I found a book - now what?"

You can check out books from most libraries on campus with your Cal 1 Card.  Here's information on borrowing, renewing, returning, overdue materials, etc.

Specialized Databases

These databases are likely to have articles on your topic.  We also offer a larger selection of databases in many subject areas.

Interdisciplinary Databases

Getting full text articles online

Some databases include the full text of articles.  Look for links labeled Full text or PDF.

In addition, many databases include UC-eLinks, a system that will often connect to the full text of an article, or at least let you quickly find the printed journal in the library.  Look for this button next to each item in your search results:
UC-eLinks button

Research help

For quick answers to relatively simple questions, use the 24/7 chat box at right.

For email answers to more complex questions, use our Ask a Reference Question form.

For a free half-hour consultation with an expert researcher, sign up for Research Advisory Service.

To learn more on your own, try the interactive online Library Workshop or our other tutorials and guides.


Ask a Librarian 24/7

Citing your sources

Our guide to Citing Your Sources tells how to establish your paper's credibility and avoid plagiarism, and provides links to detailed examples of MLA and other citation formats.

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