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WP 115 Landscape and Place: Library Guide

First Year Writing. Instructor: Carolyn Megan

Find Articles in Databases

Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important to college-level research. Search for articles in databases and look for an option to limit your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals.

Databases can also include magazine & newspaper articles. Although not scholarly, these articles can provide current news or different points of view.

For more databases specializing in newspapers, check our Newspaper Guide.

To identify databases focusing on specific subject areas, check our Choosing a Database Guide.

Find Articles in a Known 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.

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. However, there were significant changes in the 2016 edition listed above. OWL uses the 2016 edition. 

  Photo: Power Transmission by JPitha (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Searching Tips in Database & Catalogs

KEYWORD SEARCHES

  • Experiment with different search combinations, using synonyms and related terms.
  • Use an asterisk to stand in for multiple word endings: environ* = environment, environments, environmental
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase: "social justice"
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms: "public spaces" AND privatization
  • Using OR between items (within parenthesis) widens results: (nature OR wilderness)
  • Combine terms to build search strings.

SUBJECT SEARCHES

Find an item of interest using a keyword search? Look at its item record to identify Subject Terms. These links group material  together by topic which can yield more precise results. Sample subject headings:

Note that searching a broad subject in CBBcat can lead to a further list of sub-divisions. These can be helpful in focusing your research.

CITATION TRAILS

Check the notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover a book or article perfect for your topic. One good source can lead to another!

Photo: The Look, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Tips for Using Google

Don't use regular Google to find scholarly material - Use library databases or the library catalog. However, Google, used carefully, can help find alternative voices, community organizations and digital collections. Check with your professor if unsure about assignment requirements.

Search precisely - Beware of common words or words that have multiple meanings. Specify as much as possible, but also explore alternative phrasing. 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 "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 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.

 

OneSearch

  • OneSearch should only be used for very precise searches, such as:
  • Finding an known article by searching its title
  • 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, scholarly material, book chapters, book reviews
  • It's usually NOT good for searching broad topics. Instead use CBBcat or recommended databases.

Find Books in our Catalog

SEARCH our library catalog

Books in Miller, Olin or Bixler Library? Ask for directions at a library Service Desk.

Books at the Colby Storage Facility, Bates or Bowdoin? To order click
You will be notified by email when your request is available to pickup at the Miller Service Desk.

Not finding what you want in CBBcat?

Look on the CBBcat search result page for a link to MaineCat, which expands your search to other Maine libraries. 

Not sure if a book is scholarly? Check with your professor or a librarian.

Course Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom
Contact:
esthiels@colby.edu

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!

Reference Sources

  • Provide helpful overviews
  • Help you identify search terms
  • Allow topic exploration

Photo: Book by Lalena Jaramillo

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: http://www.colby.edu/its/virtual-private-network-vpn/

 

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