GEOG 50AC: California

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  • Brian Quigley
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  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Office Location: 110 Bechtel Engineering Center
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About this Guide

This guide provides information on locating books, journal articles, and newspaper articles for your research on a contemporary socio-environmental problem in California.

Finding Books and Ebooks

Use OskiCat to search the UC Berkeley Libraries for materials related to your topic, including books, e-books, government publications, and audio and video recordings. 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. Melvyl also allows you to expand your search to libraries worldwide. After you conduct a search, check the Books option under Formats in the left column to limit your results to books.

Find a book owned by another UC campus? Clicking on the Request button in the detailed view of the Melvyl record will allow you to request the item through our Interlibrary Lending Services (if we do not own it).

Search the Catalogs

Ethnic NewsWatch (ENW)
Indexes over 200 ethnic, minority, and native press publications. Contains news, culture, and history searchable in both English and Spanish. Also includes a retrospective backfile of titles (1960-1989).

ebrary = ebooks

ebrary is our largest collection of full text ebooks, with 40,000 titles on a wide range of subjects. Find them in OskiCat or search the ebrary site directly:

Search ebrary

 

Getting started with ebrary

Article Databases

Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic.  The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.

The two databases listed below are excellent starting points for your research. Geography is a very interdisciplinary subject, however, so you might also need to try databases focusing on related disclipines. Check our Article Databases by Subject list to choose Recommended databases in appropriate subjects.

Building a Search

Think about your keywords, and their synonyms and variations, before constructing your search. Since different authors might use different terms for the same concept, searching with synonyms helps you find more articles related to your topic. Take advantage of database search techniques to find the most relevant articles for your research. Here's an example:

(global warming or climate change) and (agricultur* or farm*)

What search techniques are being used in this example?

Here are two images from the Library Workshop 101 tutorial on Basic Search that further explain these concepts:


Visual explanantion of AND and OR with Venn diagrams

For a fuller explanation of these, view the Basic Search tutorial.

Where's the PDF?

Once you've searched an index to find articles, you may need to use UC-eLinks to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the UC-eLinks icon, click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:

UC e-Links image

For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.

Searching Contemporary Newspapers

Newspapers are a rich source of investigative journalism, reporting on current events, and commentary. As such, they can provide details about specific topics and events as well as insight into how the media, society, and/or aspects of society view a topic or event as it is happening. Search these newspaper databases to find articles from across a wide range of news sources - each database provides a different perspective:

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 200 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). Use the California Newspapers shortcut to limit your search to a selection of California news sources.

AltPress Watch
Alternative, radical, and independent magazines, newspapers, and journals in North America which report on politics and government, policy and culture, international issues, education, environment as well as reviews of theater, movies and books.

Ethnic NewsWatch
Indexes over 200 ethnic, minority, and native press publications. Contains news, culture, and history searchable in both English and Spanish. Also includes a retrospective backfile of titles (1960-1989).

Citation Help

"Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations and of any facts or opinions not generally known or easily checked."--
Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press), p. 594

Why cite sources?
Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.

Citations allow readers to locate and further explore the sources you consulted, show the depth and scope of your research, and give credit to authors for their ideas. Citations provide evidence for your arguments and add credibility to your work by demonstrating that you have sought out and considered a variety of resources. In written academic work, citing sources is standard practice and shows that you are responding to this person, agreeing with that person, and adding something of your own. Think of documenting your sources as providing a trail for your reader to follow to see the research you performed and discover what led you to your original contribution.

Read more

Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

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.

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.

Library Workshop: Research 101

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:

1: Begin Your Research

Starting strategies from choosing a topic to search keywords.

2: Knowledge Cycle

The publication timeline, scholarly v. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.

3: Finding Books

Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.

4: Finding Articles

Locate and access articles in library research databases.

5: Basic Search

Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.

6: Advanced Search

Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.

Ask a Librarian 24/7 Chat


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Getting Help

Other ways to get help:  in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services

And, of course, feel free to email us:
Sections 103, 104, 106 - e-mail Brian
Sections 101, 102, 105 - e-mail John

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