A library research guide for students in Hentyle Yapp's section of TDPS R1B.
Beyond the Web
"It's all free on the Internet, right? Why should I go through the library's website to find sources for my paper?"
The Web is a great source for free, publicly available information. However, the Library pays for thousands of electronic books, journals, and other information resources that are available only to the campus community. Through the Library website, you can access hundreds of different licensed databases containing journal articles, electronic books, maps, images, government and legal information, current and historical newspapers, digitized primary sources, and more.
You access these resources through the Internet, using a browser like Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer -- but these databases are not part of the free, public Web. Resources like Lexis-Nexis, Web of Science, Academic Search Complete, and ARTstor are "invisible" to Google. You will not see results from most library databases in the results of a Google search.
Before you can access Library resources from off campus make sure you have configured your computer with proxy server settings.
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource.
Campus Library Map
Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.
You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. For library contact information and building addresses, visit our directory.
The Research Process
Choose a topic. It's OK if it's vague, or too broad; you can get more specific later.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including:
Names of people, organizations, companies, time period you are interested in, places of interest (countries, regions, cities, etc.)
Fill in the gaps in your knowlege: get background information from encyclopedias (online or in print) or other secondary sources. Wikipedia can be good here.
Select the best search tools to find information on your topic. Look under the Finding Articles tab of this guide for article database suggestions, or click here to see all the article databases available for your subject. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine your topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
For more ideas, take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research!
How to Narrow Your Topic
"I'm writing a paper on World War II."
Often students start their research with a very general topic, even though they may realize the topic is too large to deal with in a 10-15 page paper. Faculty and librarians tell them, "You have to narrow this down." But how do you narrow a topic?
What discipline am I working in? If you are in a sociology class, ask a sociological question about World War II, like "How did WWII affect women?" If it's a political science class, your question might be something like "How did WWII affect presidential elections in the US?"
What are some subsets or aspects of your topic. Some good aspects are:
by place, such as a country or region
by time period, such as a century, decade or year
by population, such as men, women, ethnic group, youth, children or elderly
You can combine these ideas, "What were the major impacts of WWII on women in France, in the decade after the war?"
Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own.
Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide. You can use the Request button to request an item from another library, if we don't own it.
Using Melvyl (but not OskiCat) you can find articles as well as books, easily format a citation for copying into a bibliography, and see images of book covers, when available. Melvyl will also show you the location and availablity of items that we own.
Google Books contains millions of scanned books, from libraries and publishers worldwide. You can search the entire text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books that are still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright (pre-1923) books. Want to read the entire text of an in-copyright book? Use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.
Why use Google Books?
Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.). Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information. Try it now:
ebrary = ebooks
ebrary is our largest collection of full text ebooks, with nearly 50,000 titles on a wide range of subjects. Find them in the UCB catalog, OskiCat (keyword: ebrary or limit to "Available Online"), or search the ebrary site directly:
You do allow embedded content.
OskiCat Search Terms
Here are some terms you can use in OskiCat or Melvyl that may help you find books on your topic. Remember, these search engines only let you search brief information about the books - you're not searching in the full text of the books themselves! If you're not getting enough results, try leaving out some search terms, searching for a less specific topic (Southeast Asian Americans instead of Cambodian Americans) using Google Books, or asking a librarian.
All of these terms are Library of Congress subject headings -- which means you'll get the most complete results if you enter them exactly as typed (African Americans, not African American).
Asian Americans (Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, etc.)
Children of immigrants
Emigration and immigration
Indians of North America
You can use these terms in combination, using the default Keyword search; try combining them with Library of Congress subheadings like social aspects, social conditions, or history and criticism. You can also combine them with geographic terms, like United States, California, Egypt, New York City, etc.
Examples: rap music history and criticism; asian americans immigration california.
Literature Resource Center (LRC) Includes biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers. Scope is international. Full text.
Project MUSE Several hundred scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Topics include literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics and many others.
JSTOR Easy to use, full text, multi-disciplinary scholarly article database. Note: the most recent 3-5 years of the journals are usually not available through JSTOR.
Academic Search Complete A multi-disciplinary database that includes both scholarly and popular articles. Most articles have pdfs.
Literature Online Includes more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 131 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources. Includes reference works on literary criticism and biographical information.
Databases for Film Studies
The MLA Bibliography can also be a good source for film criticism, particularly for films that were adapted from novels.
Film and Television Literature Index with Full Text Indexes 150 scholarly and popular periodicals from 30 countries cover-to-cover and 300 other periodicals selectively for reviews and articles on the topic film and television. Search by keyword, production title and more or browse by some 2000 subject headings.
FIAF: International Index to Film Periodicals Indexes scholarly and popular journals, books, book reviews, and proceedings worldwide on a wide range of topics within the fields of film and television studies. Includes complete data from all volumes of the International Index to Film Periodicals (1972 to the present), the TV-related companion (1979 to the present), the annual volumes of the International Index to Film.
Film Index International Indexes almost 100,000 international feature films and shorts, Hollywood entertainment shorts, documentaries, and television movies from all over the world. Includes references to critical and industry articles on films, articles on personalities from approximately 260 international film/TV journals, information about film awards and prizes, and searchable plot summaries with cast and crew lists. This database is produced in collaboration with the British Film Institute.
Articles in Music Studies
RILM (Abstracts of Music Literature) Indexes journals, books, bibliographies, catalogues, dissertations, Festschriften, films and videos, iconographies, critical commentaries, ethnographic recordings, and conference proceedings in the field of music, including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, instruments, voice, performance practice and notation, theory and analysis, pedagogy, liturgy, criticism, dance, and music therapy.
Music Index Indexes over 650 international music journals and magazines covering every aspect of the classical and popular world of music including historiographic, ethnographic, and theoretical topics. Included are book reviews, record reviews, first performances, and obituaries.
Theater, Dance and Performance
International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full Text Online version of the Theatre Research Data Center's International Bibliography of Theatre. Includes full text of more than 100 journals and over 100 reference books on performance, and indexing of academic journals, magazines, newspapers, dissertations, and monographs from
over 125 countries.
International Index to Performing Arts (IIPA) Indexes over 200 scholarly and popular performing arts periodicals, documents, biographical profiles, conference papers, obituaries, interviews, discographies, and reviews. Covers a broad spectrum of the arts and entertainment industry including dance, film, television, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, broadcast arts, circus performance, comedy, storytelling, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic and more.
MLA International Bibliography Indexes journal articles, series, monographs, dissertations, bibliographies, proceedings and other materials supporting critical scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Sponsored by the Modern Language Association.
Where's the PDF?
Many article databases contain information about articles (citations or abstracts), not the entire text of the article. Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use this button: in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.
UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.
You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar. For more information, watch this 40-second demo.
Media Resources Center
The Media Resources Center (MRC) is the UC Berkeley Library's primary collection of materials in audio and visual formats. These formats include videocassettes, DVDs, compact audio discs, audiocassettes, and online (streamed) audio and video.
See the MRC's website for a very detailed listing of films in their collection, by topic; this is a great resource for American/cultural studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, dance and performance studies, and many other subjects. Click on Collections to start browsing.
The Media Resources Center is located on the 1st floor (basement) of Moffitt Library but has shorter hours of operation than Moffitt. You can view MRC materials in the MRC viewing rooms, but the materials cannot be checked out.
Film and Video in OskiCat
You can use the Media Resource Center's website to browse for films on your research topic, or you can use OskiCat to find films and videos in the UC Berkeley Libraries. Enter your search terms in the "Keyword" box, like this:
social protest california
Use the "Entire Collection" pulldown menu to restrict your search to "Films/Videos/Slides." Your search results may include online video as well as items in the Media Resources Center collection, or elsewhere in the campus libraries.
Here is a partial list of online music-related encyclopedias and databases of recorded music available through the Cal libraries. You may also want to take a look at the Music Library's website.
Oxford Reference Online - Performing Arts Access to eight reference sources published by Oxford University Press on the topic of theatre, dance, music and performing arts. Search sources collectively or search within an individual title; includes the Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music and the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
American Song Includes approximately 50,000 digital music tracks documenting genres such as jazz, blues, gospel, ragtime, folk songs, and other forms of African American musical expression. Part of Alexander Street Press's Music Online.
Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM) Contains audio files of over 1200 CDs, featuring 7500 compositions of classical music, folk music, opera, jazz, country music, early rhythm and blues, musical theater, experimental music, electronic music, early rock and Native American music from the United States. This broad spectrum of American music is derived from recordings available on the New World Records label, and works of contemporary classical American music from labels such as CRI, Albany, innova, Cedille, XI, Pogus, Deep Listening, and Mutable. QuickTime 6.5.2 or later required.
Naxos Music Library (NML) A collection of Western classical music including the complete Naxos and Marco Polo catalogs of over 170,000 tracks. Includes classical music, jazz, world, folk and Chinese music. Includes notes and biographical information on composers and artists.
Naxos Music Library Jazz Offers close to 20,000 tracks of jazz from 1,900 albums. Over 500 jazz artists are represented.
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries Includes approximately 35,000 tracks of world music and sound recordings from the archives of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, cross-referenced to a database of supplementary reference information. Categories include American folk, blues, bluegrass, and jazz. Music Online.
Citing Your Sources - a brief online guide to the main citation styles and a brief discussion on what constitutes plagiarism.
MLA handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th edition. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Doe Reference Reference Hall LB2369 .G53 2009 Main Gardner Stacks LB2369 .G53 2009 Many older editions available throughout the UCB libraries.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
You use another person's ideas, opinions, or theories.
You use facts, statistics, graphics, drawings, music, etc., or any other type of information that does not comprise common knowledge.
You use quotations from another person's spoken or written word.
You paraphrase another person's spoken or written word.
Begin the writing process by stating your ideas; then go back to the author's original work.
Use quotation marks and credit the source (author) when you copy exact wording.
Use your own words (paraphrase) instead of copying directly when possible.
Even when you paraphrase another author's writings, you must give credit to that author.
If the form of citation and reference are not correct, the attribution to the original author is likely to be incomplete. Therefore, improper use of style can result in plagiarism. Get a style manual and use it.
The figure below may help to guide your decisions.
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!
Zotero: Free software that keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service. Zotero is available as a stand-alone application that syncs with Chrome and Safari, or as a bookmarklet for mobile browsers.
RefWorks - web-based and free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies, then works with Word to help you format references and a bibliography for your paper. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
EndNote: Desktop software for managing your references and formatting bibliographies. You can purchase EndNote from the Cal Student Store.
Tip: After creating a bibliography with a citation management tool, it's always good to double check the formatting; sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.
Research Advisory Service
Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates
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.
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
Ask a Librarian 24/7 Chat
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You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US. We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.
If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.
Have fun chatting!
All Questions Welcomed!
"There are no dumb questions!"
That's the philosophy of reference librarians, who are here to save you time and trouble. If you get stuck, you can talk to a reference librarian at any campus library.
Library Workshop: Research 101
Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up on search strategies?
If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed: