Tips for Searching Catalogs and Databases
In addition to the search techniques covered in the "Doing Reserach Tutorial" above, the following techniques can improve your success with online searching, whether you're searching a catalog for books or a database for articles:
- Enter phrases in quotes: "civil war" "military dictatorship"
- Use truncation symbols to search for alternate word endings: In most databases, entering farm* searches for farms, farmer, farmers, farming, etc.
- If one term doesn't work, try a few others. Experiment with different vocabulary related to your topic. Brainstorm ideas for relevant keywords and use background sources such as encyclopedias for suggestions.
High school, public, and academic libraries are all different, and the process of finding quality academic resources in print or online can be difficult if you don't know where to look. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction when it comes to finding books and articles at UIC. Remember, if you need any help, feel free to ask a reference librarian.
How Might Research Be Different at UIC?
The UIC Library is an academic library, so there may be some differences between it and your public or high schoollibrary. One thing to keep in mind is that our focus is on scholarly materials (we don't have a lot of popular fiction, travel guides, or books on tape, for instance). Things to keep in mind:
- The UIC Library uses the Library of Congress System for call numbers, while most public libraries (and some other academic ones), use the Dewey Decimal system.
- Browsing is difficult without a call number range. Our History "section" could be in many different places depending on what kind you're looking for.
- The Library of the Health Sciences is located on West Campus. If you are looking for health-related information, your book or journal might be located over there. It is abbreviated as LHS in the library catalog.
- Many of our materials are located online. However, we still have some print journals and magazines.
- There are four floors at the Daley Library. The escalator only goes up to the 2nd floor, but there are elevators and stairs going up to the third and fourth.
- The reference desk, where you can ask for help, is on the 1st floor in the IDEA Commons.
- You won't be able to check out materials, but if there is a book or journal article you'd like to use, you can scan it onto a flash drive (for free). You can also use the copy machines (but you need to purchase a card for $1.00, plus it costs $.10 per page).