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The Right Tool for the Job
Choosing the "right" resource means choosing a database that finds you the kind of materials you need.
Encyclopedias: Brief background information on your topic.
Books & articles: You're likely to need the UCB Library catalog (OskiCat) and an article database for your assignment. Which one you use, depends on what you already know and the kind of materials sought.
If you already have a citation for an item or you want to find books on your topic, you can start with the catalog
If you want to isolate articles or essays on a topic, you'll need to use an "article" database
identify where articles on a topic were published (in what publications)
sometimes include more than articles (chapters in books, etc.)
results do not equal what UCB owns
sometimes results link to article content online
use UC-eLinks if full text option is not provided for a result
see Where Is It ? tab for information on UC-eLinks
Encyclopedias are often a good place to begin when you don't know much about a topic. They provide basic background information, the knowledge of which helps when searching for other materials: identify people, events, issues, etc. Entries may also have an associated bibliography that identifies other materials related to a topic.
This free encyclopedia is publicly editable and not a scholarly resource. Because anyone can write or add to an entry, the information may be innacurate or untrue. Through the very structure of its creation, it has dependability issues. Yet, it can still be a useful tool, if used wisely.
Like other encyclopedias, it can be helpful in obtaining background, and entries often list sources for further reading which you can see if UCB has in its collections. Use Wikipedia as a starting point for information you will verify in the course of your research via scholarlysources.
What's here ?
These notes contain additional suggestions about how you might proceed to best use the resources outlined in this class guide. They presume familiarity with the general concepts and information addressed in the other tabbed pages of the guide.
find books on your topic
find periodicals identified as having article content on your topic
find encyclopedias to get background information
see search tips section on this page
SUBJECT article databases
identify article and essay content on your topic
results from resources in chosen discipline
see search tips section on this page
subjects: Literature, Philosophy, Music, History, etc.
MLA is a recommended database for literature
citation only (e.g. no full text)
use UC-eLinks locate article text
GENERAL article databases (interdisciplinary)
many have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly
In many article databases you will encounter UC-eLinks. When a result is not available online, this feature allows you to check the UC-wide collections and see if it's available elsewhere.
A good rule of thumb: when you see the icon click on it to view your access options. Depending on what's available for a given result, options can range from online access, to checking for print copy in a UC library, to requesting an interlibrary loan.
Properly citing sources is an important part of your research. It allows you to avoid plagiarism and highlights your engagement with related scholarship.
In a nutshell: "Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work...."
The above extract is taken from the Library's guide on citing sources. It provides an overview of this topic and links to formatting rules for the major citation styles [including theMLA style(via Purdue University)].
*SHORTCUT: Many databases allow you to export citations in a given citation style (MLA, APA, etc.) . When provided, this functionality is often in a database's email options. *
Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)