Each database contains a unique aggregate of sources (though, a specific source may appear in several databases). Some databases contain scholarly articles, some magazine literature, some news. Some contain it all. Article databases often include more than articles (chapters in books, etc.)
A few more things you should know about article databases...
- results identify where articles were published (name of publication and any associated volume/issue/date info.) - results do not equal what UCB owns - sometimes results link to article content online - Use UC-eLinks feature when a full text option is not provided
Where is the article?
Many library databases incorporate the UC-eLinks feature. You use it when a result's text is not provided by the database searched. It checks the UC-wide collections to see if the source is available elsewhere...
Encyclopedias are often a good place to begin when you don't know much about a topic. They provide basic background information -- identify people, events, issues, etc., associated with a topic. Knowing this information will help you search for materials on that topic. Entries often have an associated bibliography that identifies related materials.
For online encyclopedias...
navigate to library electronic resources (reviewed in article databases & other electronic resources section of this tab)
then link to your chosen Subject and use the sidebar menu to access encyclopedias for that subject (many disciplines have linkable subject specific encyclopedias)
Alternatively, link to library electronic resources byType > Encyclopedias and almanacs to see all of these resources
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 topical background, and entries often list sources for further reading (which you can then 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.
Scholarly or popular ?
Some databases contain popular as well as scholarly content. Depending on your needs, you may want to limit results to just scholarly content. You can...
choose a resource that only contains it
if using a resource with mixed content, limit to the scholarly material
This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.
The notes in this tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.
A suggested research trajectory
Review the information in the resources tab. Make sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and/or materials they provide.
Review tips for finding literary analysis andhistorical resources (if desired) in this tab.
Review suggested resources section of this tab.
Visit the library homepage and select a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find. Coose one whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (i.e. publications in that field are likely to be writing about it). * Or... choose a General (interdisciplinary) database. *
Search it to see what's been written about your topic -- or what issues others are writing about in regards to a topic/author/work that might help you refine your focus.
see search tips section of this tab for help (as needed)
Examine promising results.
remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing 'em
to find books on your topic
to find periodicals you've already identified as having articles on your topic
to find encyclopedias for background information
Article databases (by SUBJECT)
to identify article and essay content on your topic
to identify current research
to identify research focused on an aspect of a topic
to search for publications from a specific discipline
literature, Classics, film studies, history, gender and women's studies, etc.
MLA is a major database for locating literary analysis/criticism and is also good for finding scholarly analysis of films
Modern Language Association's international bibliography
tabbed setup lets you review results by type of publication
can limit by language
use UC-eLinks to locate result text
NOTE: see tips for finding literary analysis section of this tab. As many of your authors are well known for hundreds of years (e.g. not modern), and because several of your texts are the focus of the discipline of Classics, interdisciplinary databases will likely prove more fruitful in locating scholarly writings about these particular sources. Using OskiCat to locate books can also prove fruitful.
Article databases (the GENERAL category)
often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly ones
search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
there isn't a search that finds everything: try different combinations of terms, synonyms, related terms
look at the records of relevant results -- do their subjects suggest other search terms?
important: subject terms are defined by the Library of Congress, and not always what you would expect. Examine relevant results to discover how your topic, time period, location, people, etc., are defined subject-wise. Once you know this, you can use that terminology to search for other materials.
to find literary analysis, try adding the term criticism to your search for materials about an author or literary movement (see example, below)
try adding terms for specific types of materials -- encyclopedias, biographies -- to your search, to locate those types of resources (see example, below)
sample keyword searches... hoarding obsessive-compulsive disorder compulsive behavior france and history and class elizabethan and society elizabethan* and custom* william shakespeare and criticism hamlet and criticism stanley kubrick and criticism eugene o'neill and biography
author search (for a person) - finds books by, interviews with, correspondence... [use specified syntax last name, first name]
limit by language - use modify search button
limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection to seach by type -- Journals/Magazines/Newspapers, Films/Videos...
search too broad ? -- use Modify button for limits
Using an appropriate article database is a must for locating articles or chapters on a topic:
Very specific searches (specific focus about a specific character in a specific work) may not net the desired results. It's always worth trying for a direct bullseye, but sometimes you need to adjust your aim.
Search for analysis about the book, play, etc.,being written about. You'll see what others are focusing on. You may find they use other terms for your focus that can searched to increase your result pool.
Search for analysis about the author of the book, play, etc., being written about. Your focus may be a thematic/technical element that shows up repeatedly in their work. Materials that focus on authorial concerns may include information about your work, or be relevant to your analysis of it.
When using the library catalog, try adding the term criticism to searches for material aboutan author, literary movement, or time period(see catalog search tips section of this tab for examples).
In addition to article databases, if books have been written about your author's work, examining the table of contents and indexes of promising titles may help isolate chapters of relevance.
hint: when an author is well known and been written about for a long time, you may find many article results (from article databases) focus upon their influence on later works of literature. When this is the case, and, if it is not what you want, books can provide a way to get at literary analysis focusing on your author & their work.
Extra tips for finding historical background
Not already knowldegeable about the time period, social or cultural background? Consider starting with an encyclopedia entry.
Articles tend to focus on specific aspects of a specific topic. If you are looking for a broad overview of a historical time or social situation, books might be the ticket:
their table of contents and indexes will help you isolate the parts of interest to you
OskiCat will help you locate what's at UCB
review catalog search tips section of this tab (particularly information about discovering assigned subjects terms)
Some article databases contain results for chapters in books and/or books in addition to articles (America:History & Life and Historical Abstracts are two such examples).
America: History and life (US, Canadian history) and Historical Abstracts (rest of the world) are recomended databases for the subject of history
can limit to results that focus on a specific historical time period
can refine search to specific types of publications