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Research Guides

The library has so many resources available - how do you know which one you need?

A great place to begin is a Research Guide. You are looking at one right now - Your Guide to the Library is a Research Guide introducing different resources that are available through the library. Most guides are more specific, and offer resources meant to help with a particular subject or class. They offer a tailored road map of the library's resources so that you can get started right away on looking for sources, rather than trying to figure out what database will have what you need. Most guides also link to the contact info for the subject librarian that created them in case you have questions. 

Image of students studying at cubicles.

Zotero

Zotero is a powerful citation management tool. It allows you to save sources for later, and does much of the work of writing citations and bibliographies with just a few clicks. Once set up, it can save you time and stress when completing research papers and essays.

Searching the Catalog

Discover vs. the Search Engine

Most people have used online search engines like Google or Bing. These search engines try to guess what resources you are looking for based on what you type in. This can be helpful and speed up your search, but it also makes it harder for you to refocus the search results if the engine misunderstands what you are looking for (for example, try Googling the word "fortnight." Instead of a definition, you get a video game!). The library's search bar and catalog, Discover, works a little differently. It leaves more of the decision making up to you. This means you will need to think through your question a bit more before typing anything into the search box, but once you get the hang of it, you have greater control over your search results. 

What can I ask it?

With online search engines, it's ok to type out your full question - the search engine can often figure out what you mean. With Discover, it's better to come up with keywords. So while Google will understand the question "How can I find distracted driving statistics?" it's better to just search "distracted driving" in Discover. You can then narrow your search results using the filter options on the left-hand side, which will appear after you start a search. You can also hone in on your topic by combining keywords using Boolean operators. Keyword-based search strategies will also come in handy once you start searching within databases. Check out the video tutorials (or their scripts) for more information.

Discover Video Tutorial

Note: the Discover video refers to using Discover as a "Google-like search experience." This is because Discover checks everything the library has on record. If we didn't have Discover, every time we did research we would have to search through each database one at a time. With Discover, you just have to do it once, just like how Google searches many, many different websites at once. You should still try to use keyword searches with Discover!

Advanced Search Strategies Tutorial Video

More Tutorials

There are many more video tutorials than are displayed in this guide. Check out the library's tutorial page to see the full collection.