Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
"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.
1. Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.
2. Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.
4. Each library has its own hours and they may change on holidays and between semesters - click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.
5. Information about citing your sources and links to guides for frequently used citation styles here.
The Cal libraries have access to thousands of scholarly journals and hundreds of popular magazines, both electronically in and in printed format.
Not sure of the difference between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine? Journals contain articles written by experts (university professors, professional researchers) for other experts in the same field of study. Journal articles are usually very specialized and can be more difficult to read, if you are not already knowledgeable in the subject area. Magazines contain articles written by journalists or freelance writers, intended for the general public. Always check with your instructor to see if magazine articles are acceptable to use as sources for your paper!
Some good general resources for electronic magazine and journal articles are Academic Search Complete and JSTOR.
Academic Search Complete contains information about thousands of articles in magazines AND journals; limit your search to Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals to see only scholarly journal articles. Click "Linked Full Text" or "PDF Full Text" to read the whole article. All subject areas are included in Academic Search Complete.
JSTOR is an interdiscplinary (all subject areas) article database that includes only scholarly articles, from thousands of different scholarly journals.
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 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.
For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)
You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar. For more information, watch this brief demo (about 40 seconds.)
OskiCat is the search engine for all the books in all the 20+ libraries on the Berkeley campus. Using OskiCat, you can find out what books the Cal libraries own, whether or not the books you want are checked out, and where the books are located on campus. You can also search OskiCat to find other items owned by libraries on campus, like magazines, journals, maps, archival materials, CDs/DVDs, and more.
OskiCat contains only brief descriptions of books, not the full text of the books themselves -- so choose your search words carefully. You have a better chance of finding the books you want if you limit your search to only a few, important terms.
The Cal Libraries have over 10 million books, so if you can't find a book on your topic, you might be using the wrong search words. Ask a librarian for help!
You can search the Web to find very recent news articles from U.S. and world newspapers, but newspapers do not usually make their articles freely available for more than a few days after publication (and some newspaper sites require a subscriber login). The Library has electronic collections of newspaper articles from the U.S. and around the world, which you can search by date or keyword. You can search for articles from today or from many years ago.
Here are some of the the most useful news databases available through the UCB Libraries:
Access World News - Full articles from hundreds of U.S. and worldwide newspapers (over 600 U.S. newspapers and over 700 international newspapers), going back to the 1980s. Good source for local California newspapers.
Lexis-Nexis Academic - Articles from over 6000 U.S. and international news sources, also including radio and television transcripts, translations from foreign news sources, and some magazines (mostly business- and law-related).
Can't find an article database in this guide that's relevant for your topic? Use the Library's Article Databases by Subject page to find and search recommended databases for your subject area. Or try the general Find Articles page to see a complete listing of all article databases, including news databases and city and regional planning databases.
An annotated bibliography lists important works you will use in your research: articles, books, book chapters, reports, etc.
Your annotations are not just summaries, but are meant to inform the reader why each work is significant, how it relates to other works on the subject, and how well it succeeds in its task.
Here are a couple of excellent online guides to preparing an annotated bibliography:
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!
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.
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!
"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.
For more statistical sources (including international sources), see the UCB Libraries guide to online statistical sources.
The Environmental Design Library in Wurster Hall (near College and Bancroft) is a great resource for architecture and city and regional planning information. Check out their website; they have many research guides online!
The police departments of most American urban areas make their crime statistics publicly available as crime maps. With these maps, you can search by location (address or area) or type of crime, to find out what crimes have been reported in a given time period. Usually, you can google the name of the city + "crime map" to find a crime map for that city, like this: atlanta crime map.
For more information on finding crime data, check out this detailed research guide from the University of Michigan Libraries.
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