The Berkeley library system is arranged by subject -- what materials are in which library, how they're shelved, the Library website, where to get help....
Most libraries names tell their story. Doe, Moffitt, and the Gardner Main Stacks (which connects them) share the broadest subject focus in the UCB library system. Because they are named after people, the focus is less immediately apparent.
Each article database contains a unique aggregate of sources (though, any source may appear in several different databases).
- some databases contain scholarly articles, some magazine literature, some news. Some contain it all. - 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...
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). 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
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:
help developing search strategies (for humanities and social sciences topics)
Schedule (view/edit) an appointment online [CalNetID required]
How to use this tab
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 pulling it together 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 research trajectory
Choose a topic.
Review the information in the Choosing a Resource tab.Make sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and materials they provide.
Review suggested resources section of this tab.
Review tips for finding literary and film analysis in this tab (as needed) Review tips for finding historical background in this tab (as needed)
Visit the library homepage and select a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find.
[If choosing a subject specific article database, consider which disciplines map to your topic (i.e. publications in that field are likely to be writing about your topic). Or... try a General, interdisciplinary, database.]
Search to see what's been written about your topic (or see what others are writing about to help refine your focus).
see search tips section of this tab (as needed)
Examine promising results.
remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing them
to find books on your topic
to find periodicals you've already identified as having articles on your topic
Article databases (by SUBJECT)
to identify article and essay content on your topic
to identify current research
to identify research focused on a specific aspect of a topic
to search for publications from a specific discipline
literature, history, art history, Latin American Studies, etc.
MLA is a recommended database for literature
citation database; no full text
use UC-eLinks to locate results' text
tabbed setup lets you review results by type of publication
Article databases (GENERAL)
often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly
Academic Search Complete is one recommended resource
popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics; can limit to scholarly)
some results available online
has UC-eLinks feature
Google Scholar is one recommended resource
strength is scholarly journal literature
use UC-eLinks to get full text
you must enable UC-eLinks to display in Google Scholar [set via Options gear > Scholar Preferences > Library links]
JSTOR is one recommended database
full text resource
use advanced search mode (to narrow to specific discipline. and/or limit your search)
defining a do-able topic(with examples - narrowing & broadening focus)
for materials about a topic...
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.]
sample keyword searches: hoarding obsessive-compulsive disorder compulsive behavior france and history and class elizabethan and society elizabethan* and custom* old norse sagas old norse literature and criticism august strindberg and criticism eugene o'neill and biography gender and encyclopedias
try adding terms for specific types of materials (encyclopedias, biographies) to your search, to locate those types of resources
for a person...finds books by, interviews with, correspondence... [ use correct search syntax: last name, first name example: andersson, theodore ]
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 the Modify button to access search limits.
Using an appropriate article database is a must for identifying 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 worth trying for a direct bullseye, but you may need to adjust your aim.
Search for analysis about the book, play, film, etc.,being written about. You'll see what others are focusing on. You may find they use other terms for your focus that can be searched and increase your result pool.
Search for analysis about the author/director of the book, play, film being written about. Your focus may be a thematic/technical element that shows up repeatedly in their work. Materials that focus on authorial or directorial/filmic 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 materials aboutan author, literary movement, or time period(see catalog search tips for examples).
In addition to looking for articles, if books have been written about your 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 database results focus upon your author's influence on later works of literature. When this is the case, and, if it is not what you want, books may provide a way to find literary analysis focused more directly on your author & their work.
If the overall goal is to find analysis of an author's ideas and influence, and he/she is a philosopher, theologian, psychologist, visual artist -- or a subject of inquiry in a discipline besides literature -- you may also wish to explore recommended databases for the associated subject area.
note: whether this approach is helpful, depends on your needs and the kind of analysis you seek -- an article on Camus in a philosophy journal will generally use a different lens to examine his work than the one used by a literary journal.
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 books at UCB
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