For off-campus access to library databases, e-books, and e-journals, set up your web browser to use our proxy server.
Get a map of the campus libraries.
Each library has its own hours - click on "Calendar" for each library to view a month at a time.
Access all of our resources through the library website.
Looking for a more detailed, step-by-step introduction to research? Try our interactive online Library Workshop.
Let us know what you think! After you've used this research guide, please take a moment to give us your comments.
These online sources may be useful in finding background information on your topic, and in checking facts as you write your paper. For printed encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books, check OskiCat or ask the librarians for help.
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
Write down your topic. Identify and mark the most important keywords (the ones you would definitely want to include in a search).
What is the role of the passions in Romeo and Juliet?
For each keyword, see if you can think of synonyms or closely related concepts that you might also want to search.
passions or love or eros
Romeo and Juliet or Shakespeare
Library catalogs and article databases offer several ways to narrow or broaden, or otherwise control your search. Below are common methods; if they don't work, look for a "Help" link!
Most default to a quick keyword search (somewhat like Google) that assumes you want items containing all the words you type.
Most let you truncate a word with a wildcard symbol (usually * ) to get plurals and other variant forms.
passion* gets passion, passions, passionate
Most offer an Advanced Search with more options, such as searching on an author's name, or words in a title.
REFINING YOUR SEARCH
If your search retrieves too many items, use more specific terms, or put in additional keywords.
gets fewer items than love shakespeare
love poetry shakespeare
gets fewer items than love shakespeare
If your search gets too few items, use more general terms or remove some keywords.
You can also combine terms with OR to get more items.
love OR eros
gets items containing either term.
FINDING RELATED ITEMS
In library catalogs and most article databases, click on the title of an interesting item and look in the detailed display for links (blue underlined text). These may include the author's name, "Subjects" or "Subject headings". Clicking on one of these links will do a search for items tagged the same way.
Many catalogs and databases allow you to save items to a list/folder/etc. and e-mail, print or download the citation. Some will allow you to output citations in a particular citation style (ex: MLA or Chicago).
Most books and articles you find through the library website are suitable as sources for your paper - but some are not!
Examine each source carefully to see whether it's "scholarly". Scholarly publications include footnotes and bibliographies documenting their sources, list the author's credentials, and in most cases have been validated through a peer review process.
If you're using web pages found through Google or other search engines, evaluation is especially important, since these tools have no built-in validation of the content. For help, see our guide to Evaluating Web Pages.
OskiCat lists books, journal titles (but not individual articles), videos, and other materials in the UC Berkeley libraries. You can also log into "My OskiCat" to renew or request items. You can now send book locations and call numbers directly to your cell phone [here's how].
Melvyl covers all the UC campus libraries, and shows which libraries worldwide have an item. It also lists some journal articles.
For more information, see our Guide to Library Catalogs.
You can check out books from most libraries on campus with your Cal 1 Card. Here's information on borrowing, renewing, returning, overdue materials, etc.
Some databases include the full text of articles. Look for links labeled Full text or PDF.
In addition, many databases include UC-eLinks, a system that will often connect to the full text of an article, or at least let you quickly find the printed journal in the library. Look for this button next to each item in your search results:
For quick answers to relatively simple questions, use the 24/7 chat box at right.
For email answers to more complex questions, use our Ask a Reference Question form.
For a free half-hour consultation with an expert researcher, sign up for Research Advisory Service.
Our guide to Citing Your Sources tells how to establish your paper's credibility and avoid plagiarism, and provides links to detailed examples of MLA and other citation formats.
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