Thursday, December 1, 2005

Use an Author's References to Find Additional Resources on your Topic

Scholarly and peer-reviewed articles and books normally contain a list of references (i.e., a bibliography) used by the author in writing the document. If you can find one relevant article or book on your research topic, you can then consult this list of references (usually placed at the end of the text) to expand your search. In other words, the author has already done research on the topic, so why not use that to easily locate further resources? Not only is this an accurate way to locate scholarly resources, but it can save you valuable time and effort in locating the most seminal articles on your topic.

Follow these steps for locating relevant articles:
  1. Do a search in one of the library's research databases as you would normally (e.g., using keywords that describe your search). You should also limit your search to "scholarly or peer-reviewed" publications.
  2. Locate an article from the results that most closely fits your topic and that is available in full-text, and view it.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the article text and review the "References" listed there (note that not all articles will contain references). This will show you the information sources that the author of the article consulted to write the article. These references should be directly related to the article content and hopefully also to your topic.
  4. Copy, jot down or print any references that look useful to you (note that not all references cited are guaranteed to be scholarly - always evaluate your information sources).
  5. For journal articles, use the FReD full-text journal tool to check the availability of specific journal volumes.
  6. For books, journals not available in our collection, and other materials, use WorldCat to see if any of the items might be on the shelves of a library near you.
List of references from a sample ProQuest article:
sample ProQuest article list of references
List of references from a sample Gale Group article (InfoTrac OneFile):
sample Gale InfoTrac article list of references
For more help doing research, locating articles or using library resources, "Ask a Librarian" (http://www.esc.edu/askalibrarian).

Article Linker

When searching for journal articles you may find that a particular database doesn't have the full-text of an article you're looking for. Due to publisher licensing restrictions and overlapping coverage, some article citations may be indexed in several databases or only available in full-text in a different database than you happen to be using. The Article Linker service (this has replaced "SFX") automatically locates full-text versions of the article, if available, within the entire collection of Empire State College library research databases.

To see if an article is available, look for the Article Linker icon () near the article's citation and click on it. This linked icon will open a second browser window that will tell you whether full-text is available and if so, will provide a direct link to the article or journal.

Article Linker example display
Remember: the display of the Article Linker icon only indicates that journal linking is available in the database you are searching. You will need to click on this icon to learn if the article you seek is available elsewhere in the collection in full-text.

Article Linker is also incorporated into the library's FReD (Fulltext REtrieval Database for E-Journals). This feature, called "Citation Linker" (look for the "Look up Article" hyperlink to the right of the journal title in the FReD results to access), allows you to search within a specific journal using article title words, volume information and or author name using a standardized search form.

For more information on Article Linker, including complete instructions on how to use Article Linker and which library research databases are enabled with Article Linker icons and links, see the Article Linker Library News Release.

Writer's Complex

The Writer's Complex is a valuable resource to help you hone your research acumen, and grammar, punctuation, style and other writing skills crucial to succeeding at Empire State College. It is an online collection of tutorials, interactive exercises, and sample papers and includes a wide array of useful tools:
  • Need help with grammar and punctuation? Try the Writer's Complex Workshops section to practice and get instant feedback.
  • Writing a research paper and don't know where to start? Follow the step-by-step plan in the Research Room and you'll be on your way.
  • Looking for sample rationale essays for educational planning? Visit the File Cabinet for sample papers and essays written by Empire State College students (college login required).
  • Need more help? A writing tutor is also available by e-mail to help you develop your writing skills by answering questions or reviewing your paper (college login required).
To access these and other resources in the Writer's Complex, click on "Writing Resource Center" on the library home page and then click the "Writer's Complex" icon at the top right of the page, or go directly to: http://www.esc.edu/writer.

MLA International Bibliography

Gale's version of the Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography is an index of journal article, book, and dissertation citations covering language and literature topics from all over the world. More than 4,400 scholarly journals are reviewed each year by specialists to locate articles that fall within the scope of human communication. This resource also includes a searchable Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature and general dictionary. Note that this resource does not contain full-text itself, but does contain the Article Linker tool to check for full-text availability elsewhere in the library collection.

Search MLA
There are 3 basic search options that can be accessed via the blue-colored menu on the left side of the page:

  • Author Search: search by author name as a subject (e.g., Shakespeare) or by article author name (e.g., Deborah Cohn)
  • Subject Guide: each article is assigned subject terms from a controlled vocabulary that describe its content - use this option to locate the correct term and search articles accurately using this term (e.g., French surrealism)
  • Title Search: search by article title word (e.g., "Ibero-American") or by the title of a literary work (e.g., "Taming of the Shrew")

Left-side Menu Options:


Search Interface:

Search Results Page
Results (citations) are displayed by relevance. The display shows the citation (title, author, journal info), subject terms, and an "ArticleLinker" icon to check for full-text availability. To access a specific citation, click on the hyperlinked title.

You can also use the check boxes to the left of each title to display, e-mail or print multiple citations at the same time.


Citation Display
Each citation displays title, author, date and journal or publisher information. Below that is a list of subject terms assigned to the article based on its content. In some cases, an article may be available in full-text in Gale's InfoTrac OneFile database. If so, you will see a link in the upper right of the citation display (circled in red below).

To print or e-mail a single citation, use the links in the blue-colored side-menu within a citation display. For more help searching this database or using some of the advanced features, click on the context-sensitive "Help" link in the upper left of the blue menu.

To access the MLA Bibliography, go to the library home page and click on the "All Research Databases" link. MLA is listed under the "Gale Group" heading. It is also listed within the "Database Subject Guides" under Cultural Studies.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

FReD (Fulltext Retrieval Database for E-journals)

Need to see if our online library has access to a specific journal in full-text? Want to browse a list of available full-text journals by subject or title and then access the content of available, relevant titles? If so, then FReD is the library resource for you.

FReD is a quick and easy-to-use tool to locate and access online full-text journal content that is available through the Empire State College library.

Search FReD:
  • Title Search (highlighted in yellow below): set the search option using the drop-down menu (Title begins with, Title contains all words, etc.) and then type in the title or words from the title. This is best if you know the title already or know of a key word in the title).
  • Title Browse: click on the letter of the alphabet to browse the list of available journals by title.
  • Subject Browse (highlighted in yellow below): use the drop-down menu of subject headings to browse titles. This is best for when you don't know a specific title and want to see what journals are available for a specific topic.
FReD search page
Search Results Page:

When you do a search, the system will tell you how many results you got and for each result will display the following information and options:
  • Title and ISSN of journal.
  • Look up Article: use this option to search for a specific article by title words, author name, etc.
  • More full text options: ignore this - not used.
  • Dates of coverage: this shows date range available in full-text.
  • Database(s) that contain the journal: click on this link to go to a table of contents for that journal as covered in the database.
FReD results page
Journal Table of Contents:

As can be seen in the ProQuest database example below (note that the layout and options will vary between databases), you can normally browse the available contents by date or, in this case, also search within the publication as well.

Psycology Today table of contents via ProQuest
To access you can either click on the "FReD - locate full-text journals" link in the upper left of the library home page (under the Research Databases section), or go directly by using this URL shortcut: http://www.esc.edu/FReD.

Search for an Exact Phrase

Have you ever tried to find articles on a topic that consists of more than one word, only to get thousands of irrelevant hits? Whenever you are using a search phrase (i.e., containing more than one word, e.g. teen pregnancy, or United States Senator), try putting quotations around it like this when searching:

"teen pregnancy"
"United States Senator"

This will force the search engine or research database to only return results with those exact words together and in the order you placed them, thus making your results more targeted and relevant to your topic.

Note that most databases will also let you combine other words with a phrase if needed:

"Oil for food programme" OR "Saddam Hussein"
"Lee Harvey Oswald" AND (Cuba or Castro)

For more help searching:
Using Boolean Operators in Research Databases (print version)

Access the New York Times

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Did you know that you can access and search the New York Times through the Empire State College online library? You can get the scoop with full-text coverage of the New York Times from 1995 to today's current issue, and can even access the New York Times Book Review and the New York Times Magazine.

Full-text of the New York Times is available through two of the library's research databases: Gale (in both "New York State Newspapers" and "Custom Newspapers") and ProQuest. These databases allow you to search for a particular article title or author, or simply browse by date or page.

If you want pre-1995 articles (going back to 1851 and up to 3 years ago), try searching the New York Times Archive.

Looking for a different newspaper or journal title? Use the FReD database to determine if the library has full-text access.

Find Academic Web Sites

Searching the Internet for web resources can be a daunting task! You may be faced with huge numbers of search results to sift through or you may find a site you want to use but are uncertain if it is valid or reputable. To help with this issue, the library has created an online database of high quality web sites and materials; a searchable collection of academic and educational web sites that have been recommended by the college's librarians, faculty and staff. This growing collection of over 1,500 items includes descriptions and web links to connect you to authoritative web sites published by colleges, universities, research centers, government agencies, professional associations and other groups. Many of these web sites have been gathered from the college's Area of Study pages and for online course resources.

To search this collection:
  • Go to the library's home page at www.esc.edu/library.
  • Look for the link "Find Academic Web Sites" at the bottom of the first column.
  • You will be prompted for your college login and password.
  • You can search by keyword or browse by subject area.
Find Academic Resources tool search

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Faulkner Advisory for IT Studies

The Faulkner Advisory for IT Studies is an information technology research resource designed for the academic environment. It includes hundreds of full-text reports covering most aspects of the constantly-changing IT industry, including communications, information management, security and networks, in the format of technology tutorials, company, product or market profiles, or standards reports. Articles are searchable by keyword or browsable by topic or report type. Each technology report, available in HTML or PDF file format includes detailed analysis of trends, outlook, products, and links to related reports and relevant web sites.

Faulkner main pageTo access the Faulkner database, go to the library home page (www.esc.edu/library) and click on "All Research Databases" link in the upper left.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Library Resources Update

Please note the following changes to the list of library research resources:

Added:

  • EBSCOhost: SocINDEX Full-Text
  • EBSCOhost: PsychBOOKS
  • Alexander Street Press: In the First Person
  • Corbis Images for Education
  • NetLibrary eBook subscription expanded
  • New journal titles (available through FRed):
  • Active Learning in Higher Education
  • Education and Information Technologies
  • Journal of Chemical Education
  • Journal of Excellence in College Teaching
  • Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Journal of Science Teacher Education
  • Learning Environments Research
  • The Physics Teacher

Discontinued:
  • EBSCO Sociological Collection
  • FirstSearch: PAIS International and Archive

Friday, July 1, 2005

Find Helpful Library Information in the Student Technology Resources CD

Each year new students are mailed the Student Technology Resources CD. If you already have a copy but haven't gotten around to viewing it yet, you should. It provides valuable help and guidance for using many of the technologies necessary for completing your academic work at the college, including information on using the library's resources.
  • What is it? This free CD contains a series of interactive presentations about using the technology tools and learning resources available to you at the college. Included are virtual tours of the college web site, DP Planner and the online library as well as tutorials showing you how to use specific library tools such as Mergent Online, Expanded Academic ASAP, and how to create source citations and avoid plagiarism when doing research.
  • How can I get a copy? Contact your program or center office student services representative.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Search the Empire State College Web Site

Looking for directions to a specific center, or information about prior learning assessment? Can't find that useful resource in the library that you used last week? The answer is simple: use the "Search" function that is built into every page within the college web site:

portion of the College web site containing the search box
Just type keywords that describe what you need and hit "Search." Your results will be displayed in order of relevance. Just click a hyperlinked result to go to that page.

You can also access the college search tool using the magnifying glass icon on any page within the orange header at the top. In addition, you can use the site index, an alphabetized listing of topics covered within the site, to browse for the information you need.

Note: The Search function may not work in some browsers. It is recommended that you use the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

ABC-CLIO History Databases

This extensive resource consists of two inter-related history-oriented bibliographic databases (i.e., they contain citations and abstracts only, but are "Article Linker" enabled, which allows you to see if an article is available in fulltext elsewhere in our collection). Basic options include searching by keyword, subject, author or title. To access the ABC-CLIO databases click on the "All Research Databases" link in the upper left of the library home page.
  • America: History and Life is a research tool for the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Use this if you have to do a project dealing with any topic related to the history of North America, such as the history of social work, labor movements or minority groups, the rise of modern business philosophy or corporate culture, or an examination of voting technology through the decades.

  • Historical Abstracts is a reference guide to the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding North America, which is covered in America: History and Life above). This database is full of annotated references on topics ranging from the Renaissance to European colonialism and the World Wars to the fall of South African apartheid. It comprises over half a million entries in all.
These databases also feature a very useful research tool called "CLIO Notes" which allows you to drill down by region (e.g., Latin America) and time period (e.g., Industrial Revolution 1865-1900) and then select from a list of major historical events or themes to view a summary and chronology of that event, as well as example research topics and suggested search terms to find articles within that topic.

Search interface:
part of the America, History and Life search page
To access this resource directly click on this link: ABC-CLIO Databases