Reading about your topic in encyclopedias and other reference books is a good way to prepare for searching our catalogs and article databases for academic sources. These books can help you understand your topic better and identify keywords for your searches.
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Before you can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile devices, make sure you have configured your machine using one of two simple methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser. Make sure you check the proxy configuration before you start researching.
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
The following subject keywords may help you to find information on topics related to this course:
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. Earth and environmental sciences are very interdisciplinary subjects, 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.
Academic Search Complete
A basic multidisciplinary database of articles in more than 10,900 journals and other publications, including full-text articles from for over 5300 journals.
Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management
Indexes over 6,000 journals, conference proceedings, books, and government publications covering all aspects of the environmental sciences.
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:
For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.
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:
For a fuller explanation of these, view the Basic Search tutorial.
Government reports can be a very useful source for information and data related to climate, geology, and environmental sciences. Various federal and state government agencies gather data and produce reports related to these issues.
See the UC Berkeley Libraries Government Information website for links to more government agencies and resources.
The Earth Sciences and Map Library has over 500,000 maps and air photos in its collection. The libraries also have a large number of soil surveys, mostly in the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library.
To find maps: use the Advanced Keyword Search in OskiCat to search for subject keywords. Include the term maps as well as place names or common subject keywords for maps. Example: san jose calif* maps. See our Finding Maps in OskiCat guide for additional help.
To find air photos: use our Catalog of Aerial Photography to find air photos of the Bay Area and other parts of California. Search by county for the best results. Try the USGS EROS Data Center for current and historic air photos online.
To find soil surveys: use the Advanced Keyword Search in OskiCat to search for subject keywords. Include the term soil surveys as well as place names. In addition, try these print and online resources:
You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US. We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.
If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.
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