Using specialized encyclopedias to become familiar with your topic is the most efficient way to get started on your research. These encyclopedias, written by knowledgeable scholars, will summarize your topic, provide you with social and historical context, familiarize you with specialized terminology, and often provide lists of additional resources on your topic. They are providing you in condensed form information from multiple books and articles. Think of them as CliffsNotes ... that you are allowed to use.
The encyclopedias listed below may be useful for many of the topics suggested by your instructor, but there are many, many more. The easiest way to locate them in the Library is to do an Oskicat search like this:
1. Use the keyword search so that it looks for the words everywhere in the record.
2. The asterisk is a truncation symbol, which will retrieve variations of the word: ethic, ethics, ethical, etc.
3. The Doe Reference collection includes many encyclopedias related to social science topics. Limiting your search to this collection will retrieve a manageable number of records. If you retrieve nothing, change the search parameter to All Collections.
Try different terminology and be persistent. If you are not finding a relevant resource, be sure to ask for help.
Other searches you might try:
encyclopedia and environment*
encyclopedia and bioethic*
encyclopedia and biotechnolog*
encyclopedia and social science
Now that you know the types of articles you need, you can choose a database, also known as a periodical index, to find them. Databases are collections of thousands of articles organized by subject. The Libraries have hundreds of databases covering every academic discipline. Some are multi-disciplinary, covering a broad range of subjects and including popular and scholarly sources, and others are subject-specific, and include scholarly and specialized articles. A complete list is available at Find Articles.
The following multi-disciplinary databases are good places to start your research:
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.
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 video tutorial (about 2 min.)
Accessing full-text content from off campus using Google Scholar
Step 1: Set up your proxy server access by following the directions at http://proxy.lib.berkeley.edu/. When you get to a point where you are accessing resources that the Library pays for, you will be prompted for your CalNet ID and password. For more help see: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/doemoff/tutorials/proxy.html
Step 2: Change your “Scholar Preferences.” Access these by clicking on the link next to the search box.
Step 3: In search box next to "Library Links," type in University of California Berkeley and click on “Find Library”
Step 4: Check box next to "University of California Berkeley - UC-eLinks
Step 5: Click on "Save Preferences" at bottom of page
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.
Melvyl has changed as of January 2012, and now includes many more articles. Detailed Melvyl help.
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:
Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.
Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.
Need a map of the campus libraries?
Each library has its own hours. Click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.
Go To Full Version