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About this Guide
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 and limiting your search to this collection will retrieve a manageable number of records. If you retrieve nothing, change the search parameter to All Collections, or limit it to a subject specialty library.
Try different terminology and be persistent. If you are not finding a relevant resource, be sure to ask for help.
Sociological Abstracts Indexes over 1,900 journals, books, dissertations, and reviews in the social sciences on sociological topics as well as selected anthropology, criminology, demography, law, social psychology, and urban development.(Search all CSA/Illumina Social Sciences databases.)
Family and Society Studies Worldwide Indexes books, scholarly journals, magazines, reports, proceedings, statistics, dissertations, and websites worldwide related to social science research about the family and society. Relates to the print counterparts, Inventory of Marriage & Family Literature and Australian Family & Society Abstracts.
Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management Indexes over 6,000 journals, conference proceedings, reports, monographs, books, and government publications covering agricultural biotechnology, air quality, aquatic pollution, bacteriology, ecology, energy resources, environmental biotechnology, environmental engineering, environmental impact statements, hazardous waste, industrial hygiene, microbiology, pollution, risk assessment, safety science, toxicology, water pollution, waste management, and water resource issues.
PAIS International Indexes books, journals, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, and web sources related to public policy, politics, economics, and social issues worldwide. Includes publications from over 120 countries. Some of the indexed materials are published in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Archive covers English-language material only.
Criminology: A SAGE Full-Text Collection Includes the full-text of 23 journals published by SAGE and participating societies, some journals going back 23 years. Covers such subjects as Criminal Justice, Juvenile Delinquency, Corrections, Forensic Psychology, and Family and Domestic Violence.
General Article Databases
Databases are collections of thousands of articles (and often book chapters, book reviews, conference proceedings, dissertations, and other items) 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:
Google Scholar Lists journal articles, books, preprints, and technical reports in many subject areas (though more specialized article databases may cover any given field more completely). Some listings include links to related articles and to other sources that cite the item. Includes content from free resources (such as ArXiv.org and university websites) as well as subscription resources (such as electronic journals from selected publishers). Use the UC-eLinks option, when available, to find the UCB access to a publication.
JSTOR Includes over 1000 scholarly journals with access to more than 2 million articles. JSTOR is an archive which means that current issues (generally the most recent 3-5 years) of the journals are not yet available.
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.
Where's the PDF?
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 or link 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, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks. Click on the image below to watch a brief (less than a minute) video on how to enable UC-eLinks in Google Scholar.
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:
Searching Library Catalogs
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. More OskiCat help.
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. Detailed Melvyl help.
Using Melvyl (but not OskiCat) you can find articles as well as books, and easily format a citation for copying into a bibliography. Melvyl will also show you the location and availablity of items that we have on our campus.
In every catalog you use, not the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not the item is checked out, library use only, etc.
Call numbers are usually located on the spine of the book; learn how to read them so you can easily find what you need on the shelves.
LexisNexis Academic Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources, as well as news services like the Associated Press, Agence France Press, El Pais and Xinhua (New China) News Agency.
ProQuest Newspapers Indexes the New York Times (1999-present), Los Angeles Times (1985-present), Wall Street Journal (1982-present).
Access World News Provides full-text information and perspectives from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources. Offers strong regional coverage, indexing more than California newspapers such as Contra Costa Times (1995-current), Sacramento Bee (1984-current), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-current), and San Jose Mercury News (1985-current). Search categories include: California newspapers (121 titles), Greater Los Angeles (54 titles), major metropolitan titles (13 titles), Spanish-language news sources (48 titles), the World (almost 2000 titles), US (855 titles).
Researching the law involves discovering judicial cases, statutes and codes, executive orders, congressional hearings, legislative history, administrative regulations and much more. Although many resources are available via open access online through government and other portals, the UCB Library has purchased several resources that permit more in-depth and historical research.
Hein Online Provides full text to the early issues of many legal journals and law reviews, the Federal Register (1936-six months ago), US Supreme Court Library (1754-present) and treaties and agreements.
LexisNexis Academic Provides full text access to U.S. Supreme Court documents, cases from Federal and State courts, Federal Codes and Regulations, State Codes, Statutes and Regulations, and legal reference materials.
LegalTrac Indexes journals, law reviews, and magazines related to legal research and commentary on case studies, government regulations, the practice of law, statutes, taxation, and international law.
ProQuest Congressional One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full
text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present.
ProQuest Legislative Insight Provides access to more than 18,000 professionally researched legislative histories of US Law. Histories include the Public Law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports and prints, Presidential signing statements, and CRS reports. 1929-present
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 (examples of research topics).
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.
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