Introduction to Library Research
Preparing literature research:
- Are you looking for a particular book, journal or article? Do you have access to electronic databases? Which search tool will be the most appropriate for you depends on your needs and situation. When starting to do a literature search concerning a particular topic it normally suffices to use the library catalogues (e.g. IDS University of Zurich). If you wish to research a topic more thoroughly, you will need to search for journal articles and articles in edited volumes by using the electronic databases (Search Portal University of Zurich). Use reference works such as encyclopaedia, lexica, Wikipedia etc. in order to determine your search term. Are there any synonyms? Generic terms? Specialist terms? Can the topic be narrowed down?
- Research techniques:
- Use whenever possible the Boolean Operations: AND, OR, NOT
- You will generate more hits by searching for word roots (* or ?): Anthropolog? generates ‘Anthropology’, ‘anthropological’, ‘social anthropological’ etc.
Using the right search tool:
- Search portal of the University of Zurich for articles in journals, edited volumes etc. (individual items published in books, journals etc.):
he University of Zurich offers unrestricted access to databases that are licensed with the search portal of the University of Zurich. This mainly concerns bibliographical databases which contain journal articles and essays in edited volumes. Access to the contents of the licensed databases is only possible at work places within the network of the University of Zurich. You may, however, install access to these databases from home via VPN or Proxy-Server.
In contrast to the library catalogues, bibliographical databases do not contain information about shelf marks or locations, but the SFX-link offers quick and easy access to specific items. Whenever you see the SFX-button, this means that you will have direct access to the item in question. When you click on this button, you will see the various access routes to the item that are available. Besides these bibliographical databases the search portal also provides access to other electronic sources of information such as lexica, encyclopaedia, full texts of books etc. More about the Search Portal.
- Full texts of articles in electronically available journals:
he electronic library (Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek) offers quick access to academic journals that provide full texts of articles electronically. Different colours indicate whether your university institute offers you full (green), restricted (yellow: only accessible within the network of the University of Zurich) or no access (red) to specific journals. You may only search for journal names but not for individual articles. More about the Electronic Library.