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Hekman Library for Student Success Tutors

Librarian-crafted quick guide to the library and the research process for Student Success

Searching in the Physical Library and Searching Online

These videos are part of a tutorial series that cover a lot of the basics when it comes to searching in the library, but most important to remember is that searching can take some time, so don't give up and don't be afraid to ask for help from the library staff! Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of little tricks and unique features that don't always get mentioned in general overviews - check out videos made by different databases, as well as our subject-specific research guides, or set up an appointment with a research librarian to work out a search strategy together!

How do I start searching?

Searching through all the resources at the library can be a big job sometimes. Remember, if you are working on a research project, you should be using your research topic to help you keep your search manageable, but you may also learn things that will make you go back and tweak your thesis. The most important thing is to be persistent - try alternatives and related ideas, be flexible, and feel free to ask the library staff about any question you have!

The videos here will give you a good intro to searching, but here are a few, other, particular things to keep in mind:

  • The first two videos talk mostly about SearchStart, which sifts through everything, print and electronic, the library has. This can be a good place to start, but we also really recommend using the Library Catalog (which searches just the library's physical collection of books and media) and using subject-specific databases for electronic journals and articles
  • You can search for anything online from anywhere, even off-campus, if you go through the library website (this allows the databases to recognize you as a student, so they won't charge you for use)
  • Many database vendors have made their own video tutorials with more tips and details on the features unique to their databases, like citation management tools and subject heading lists - it can be very worthwhile to look them up to learn more
  • If you can't find an article, remember you have the option to order a copy through ILL - if you can't find a book, remember you have the option to put a hold on it to check it out when it is returned or request it through MEL/ILL - in any and every case, if you can't find something, remember that you can ask the library staff for help

How do I...?