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Locating Sources in a Database
This exercise will help you build a search strategy and show you tips and tricks to search in a database.
Once you click on the link, go to "File" >"Make a Copy" to create a copy you can fill out.
What is a keyword?
Keyword is a library term for any word that represents a concept that you are searching for. When you type a word into any database, you want to use keywords.
Keywords tend to be:
- Nouns or verbs
- Single words or short phrases
- Vitally important to the concept you are looking for.
- In other words, if you took them out you would have a different topic.
Keywords are almost never:
- Connecting words like "the" "it" "then
- Special search terms like "and" "or" or "not" (More on this later)
Searching Library Databases
Please watch this video tutorial for some tips on searching for literary criticism in the databases. This video is closed captioned and you can make it larger by clicking on the double-arrow icon on the bottom right corner of the video.
How to use keywords
When you are searching in a database, remember that these resources think differently from you. You need to use special terms to get the database to give you good information.
If you want to connect two concepts, use the word AND. That will give you a list of articles that contain both the concepts you connect.
If you want to look for multiple independent concepts, use the word OR. That will take each word you connect and give you a list of articles that contains either or both concepts.
Some databases also use NOT to exclude information. If you use NOT, the list of articles should remove all articles with the word after NOT.
Literature Resource Center (Gale)
Find up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on nearly 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world The optional MLA International Bibliography module adds citations for hundreds of thousands of books, articles and dissertations from 1926 to the present, linked to full text where available.
Gale Literary Sources
An integrated research experience, Gale Literary Sources brings together Gale's premier literary databases in a new digital environment that allows researchers, faculty and students to search across these resources to discover and analyze content in entirely new ways.
MLA International Bibliography
MLA International Bibliography offers a detailed bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations. Produced by the Modern Language Association, the electronic version of the bibliography dates back to the 1920s and contains over 2.2 million citations from more than 4,400 journals & series and 1,000 book publishers. The indexed materials coverage is international and includes almost 60 titles from J-STOR’s language and literature collection as well as links to full text.
Use GLOCAT to find articles. During Spring 2020, you are only able to locate electronically held materials.
Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research.