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AM393 Theories of Culture (Saltz): Research Resources

Find Articles in Databases

Scholarly journals piled on a shelf. Purge, Grant Hutchinson, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Databases can include:

  • articles (from scholarly journals, popular magazines or newspapers),
  • book citations
  • film & images
  • trade publications and more

Look for ways to limit your results.

Google Scholar

 Google Scholar can be a great way to find scholarly articles, but be sure to also search Colby databases directly.


"Cited By" feature allows you to see has cited a book or article. More relevant sources!

If you're on campus or off-campus using VPN, there can be links to full-text articles within Colby databases.

Some authors have Google Scholar profiles.

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


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

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

Night event with crowd, lights and giant inflatable figure
Coachella by Thomas Hawk. 2014 (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr

Identifying Scholarly Works

Scholarly articles and books are particularly important to college research. They:

  • provide in-depth analysis or report original research
  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • are written by and for scholars
  • are often peer-reviewed by other scholars

Search for scholarly articles in Colby databases, and look for options to limit your results to scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.

To identify scholarly books, look at the publisher, author, extent and quality of references, writing style and arguments presented. Who is the intended audience? How current is the material?

Search Tips

Owl eyes Owl, Vagmark at the Zoo, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


  • Scan relevant results for alternative search terms.
  • Use an asterisk to stand in for multiple word endings: activis* (for activism, activists or activist)
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase: "social media"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: online AND shaming
  • Using OR between items (within parenthesis) widens results: (youth OR teen* OR adolescen*)


Use search results to identify Subject Terms. These links group material  together by topic which can yield additional results.

Explore subject sub-headings. These can be helpful in topic exploration.


Check the notes, references  and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. One good source can lead to another!


OneSearch  searches multiple resources.

Use only for very precise searches

  • Finding a specific article
  • Finding book reviews for a specific book
  • Finding articles or book chapters on lesser-known people or narrow topics
  • Use limiters!  E.g. journal articles, book chapters, book reviews

For topical searches, first consult CBBcat and subject area databases!


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 - Add words and phrases that help to focus your search (e.g. "digital collections" to find primary sources). Experiment with alternative terms and phrasing. Scan reliable sources to find names of respected online publications and blogs and include those names in your search.

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.  With whom are you talking? What are their values and motivations? 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

Find Books in CBBcat

SEARCH our library catalog 

CBBcat includes both scholarly books and books intended for a general audience.

To order items from the Colby Annex, Bates or Bowdoin, click

Not finding what you want in CBBcat? Use the link to MaineCat in your CBBcat search results.  Or check WorldCat and order through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service.

Find Articles in a Specific Journal, Magazine or Newspaper

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.

Need to use these resources off campus?

For the most reliable access, install VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your computer or device.

Instructions are on the Colby VPN webpage:


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