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WP 115 Food for Thought: Spring 2018

Frequent practice in expository writing to foster clarity of organization and expression in the development of ideas.

Find Articles in Databases

Library Databases:

Provide access to articles in both scholarly and popular publications that are often not freely available or easily discoverable on the open Web.

Web Database:


Database - (definition)
Curated collection of records of articles, papers, etc., often with summaries ("abstracts") and links to full text

To find out how to discover databases for other subjects and courses, look at our "Choose a Database" guide.

Also look for the Choose Databases feature within database interfaces. This allows you to expand your search.

To get FULL-TEXT of an article when the record says it's not available at Colby, look at our ILLiad guide. (Tip: It can sometimes be very fast.)

Find Articles in a Specific Journal/Magazine

Want to see if Colby has access to a particular magazine or journal?  On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.  

Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.

Why are Scholarly Journals Important?

Academic/Scholarly journals...

  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • typically contain peer-reviewed articles
  • provide access to scholarly conversations on a topic
  • showcase original research

In databases, look for an option to limit your search to academic or peer-reviewed publications. 

Peer-Reviewed journals are the gold-standard in academic research

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. Many databases still use the 7th edition.  OWL uses the 8th edition. Note the differences! Be consistent.

MLA 7th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies 42.2 (2001): 19-43. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

MLA 8th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2001, pp. 19-43. EBSCO, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.

Food for Thought Library Course Guide

Image: Penne Pasta with Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes by Jennifer

Find Articles on the Open Web

Databases and books are the best places to find scholarly material, but other great sources may be found on the open Web. Here are some tips for successful searching:

Search precisely - Use words and phrases that help to focus your search and reduce the avalanche. Beware of common words or words that have multiple meanings. Specify as much as possible, but also use alternative phrasing to not miss great sources. Do pre-research to find names of relevant and reliable online publications and blogs.

Use "Advanced Search" - On your Google search results page, click on Settings. The "Site or Domain" field can be useful in limiting your results to government information (.gov) or items created at educational institutions (.edu). Use the "Find Pages With" search boxes to finesse your search.


Use "Tools" - On your Google search results page, click on Tools > All Results > Verbatim. This can help focus your results. Limiting by date can get you items with greater currency.

Evaluate Extremely Carefully! - Investigate every source by doing separate searches of source creators, authors and publications. Every source you interact with is a conversation. With whom are you talking? What are their values and motivations? Are they trustworthy? Are they getting their information from reliable sources and interpreting evidence fairly and  intelligently? Who is the intended audience?

Know the Limitations of Web Searching - Most scholarly articles are either not found by search engines or are behind paywalls. Information is sorted and ranked according to commercial/consumer/popular considerations. Information is not vetted for accuracy or reliability.

  Google Scholar can be a great way to find scholarly articles and, when accessed on campus, has direct links to Colby databases. Even if there's no link, try putting an article title in our discovery tool, OneSearch.


Its collection of articles is limited, and it's not transparent what is and isn't included.

The link feature only pulls some of what we have in our databases.

Like all web-based searches, evaluate the sources carefully. Investigate authors and publications separately.


"Cited By" feature allows you to see who has been using an article in their research. More relevant sources!

Links sometimes take you into Colby databases to get access to articles not available freely on the open Web.

Some authors have Google Scholar profiles.

Clicking on this symbol in Google Scholar, gets you a citation (but always check it).


Tips for Using Databases & Catalogs

Library databases and catalogs only find the exact combination of letters you enter.  Words in phrases are not necessarily kept together.


  • Use an asterisk to stand in for different word endings:  critic* = criticism, critic, critics, critical)
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase: "food additives"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: restaurant AND critic*
  • Using OR between items (within parentheses) widens results to items containing any of the terms:  (locavore* OR localvore* OR "local food movement")


Look at item records to find Subject Terms. These group material by together by topic which can yield more precise results.

Examples of food-related Library of Congress Subject Headings (used in CBBCat):


 With every new source you find, look for new keywords to try. Learn the lingo the authors are speaking. Try searching new combinations and record your attempts in a log.


To find items by authors, do an Author Search (last name, first name).

To find items ABOUT authors, do a Subject Search of the author's name (last name, first name).

Find Essays in Books

SEARCH our library catalog - the Entire CBB Collection or just Colby.

To order items from Colby Storage, Bates or Bowdoin: Click on

Other Catalogs:

Materials not available at Colby or our partner institutions can often be obtained through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service.

Course Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Please don't hesitate to come to me for assistance or questions!
Email me your best dates/times to meet or stop by my office, Miller Library 107C.

Fall 2018 Office Hours:
Mondays: 1-2:30pm
Wednesdays: 9-10:30am

Good Research Takes Time

Keep a research log & document every search.

Explore a variety of search terms.

Check multiple resources.

Carefully evaluate all materials.

Photo: Clock Roskilde University by nikolainewyork


OneSearch searches multiple library resources at once. Use only for very precise searches:

  • Finding a specific article from a citation
  • Finding information on lesser-known authors
  • Finding book chapters
  • Finding book reviews

For best results, use limiters. 

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