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" (

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:

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.