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.
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.
"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 UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile devices, make sure you have configured your machine using one of two simple methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):
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 when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser. Make sure you check the proxy configuration before you start researching.
Reviews and criticism are not synonymous. Reviews generally appear in newspapers and magazines, are written shortly after a play is first performed, and are usually written by journalists; they analyze the play from an entertainment or artistic perspective. You may be able to find reviews for your play in the following sources:
To find reviews: Enter the title of the play in the first search box. Scroll down to "Limit Your Results." In the "Document Type" box, select "Entertainment Review". Click "Search."
Click the "Search Articles" link to search by play title, or play title and playwright name if the play title is a common word (e.g., the rover behn). Enter your search words in the "Keyword" box.
After you search, you can limit your search to theater reviews by choosing "Document Type" from the "Filter Results By" sidebar on your search results page. Choose "Theater Review" from the list of available document types.
Enter the title of the play in the first search box. Scroll down to "Limit Your Results." In the "Document Type" box, select "Entertainment Review." Click "Search."
Criticism of a play may be written months or years after a play's first production. In general, criticism is more scholarly than a play review; critical analysis attempts to place the play into a larger historical, social, or theoretical framework. Critical articles are usually longer than reviews, and contain extensive bibliographies. Criticism is usually published in scholarly journals or books, and is written by scholars who are experts in performance studies, literary and cultural studies, or other specialized fields.
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).
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.)
The following databases are good places to look for biographical information about a given playwright:
OskiCat lets you know what books are available in the UC Berkeley Libraries. OskiCat does NOT index articles, but it's a good way to find out what books we have and which magazines and journals the Library subscribes to. To see if any books have been written about the playwright you're researching, try using their name as a subject (last name first).
From the Quick Search screen, choose the "Subject begins with..." option from the pulldown menu, then enter your playwright's name (e.g., hansberry, lorraine). This will let you find books ABOUT Lorraine Hansberry. To find books both by and about Hansberry, enter her name in the Keyword (default) search box. Either lorraine hansberry or hansberry, lorraine wil work in Keyword search.
To find books that discuss and critique a given playwright's works, use the Keyword search. Enter the playwright's name plus the words criticism and interpretation, like this: euripides criticism and interpretation.
To find books about a specific play, just type the play's title into the Keyword search box. You may need to include the author's last name if the title is a very common word, e.g. trifles glaspell.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
This content is part of the Understanding Plagiarism tutorial created by the Indiana University School of Education.
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.
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:
Starting strategies, from choosing a topic to finding the right keywords.
The publication timeline, scholarly vs. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.
Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.
Locate and access articles in library research databases.
How to cite your sources correctly.
Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.
Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.
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 Next Generation Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system. Next Generation Melvyl also allows you to expand your search to libraries worldwide. Clicking on the REQUEST button in the detailed view of a catalog record prompt you to fill out a form to request the item through our Interlibrary Loan office.
Your instructor may want you to use scholarly (or "peer-reviewed") sources. What does this mean?
There are two main types of scholarly sources:
Scholarly sources are:
Popular sources, on the other hand, are intended for the general public. These sources are more introductory, may not be written by experts in a field, and often do not cite any other sources. Examples of popular magazines include National Geographic, The Economist, Time, Newsweek, and People.
How can you tell if an article or book is scholarly? Look for:Read more
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