Written by: Kim Frail
Library staff would like to welcome new and returning students to our virtual spaces. Even though most of us won’t be able to meet you in person this fall, we are still here to help!
Getting Started – Foundational Tutorials
New to academic research? Need a refresher? Our foundational tutorials cover the research process from beginning to end and everything in between including: finding your topic, putting a search together and synthesizing and evaluating information.
eClass Library Resources Block
When you log into eClass, have a look in the top right hand corner. The UofA Libraries Resources Block is your research “to go” window in eClass.
It often includes a link to a specific subject guide to help you find resources for your assignments. If you need assistance, you can use the “Ask Us” button to chat with library staff.
Subject guides will be your new BFFs – you can also access them right from the library home page!
What are databases?
Subject guides also feature links to databases that are relevant to your discipline. But what’s a database? Databases are massive digital archives of academic journals that publishers have made searchable. They are often based on a specific area or field of interest (science, arts, humanities, education, medicine etc.). Why can’t there be just one huge database like Google? Much of academic information is owned by different publishers and they all want to create their own products for universities.
What does “Find Articles” search?
This searches 300+ databases across a wide range of disciplines and can be a good starting point when you’re not sure which subject specific database is right for your topic. While this search provides coverage of a broad variety of information sources, it does not search all the online information resources the UA Library provides access to. Check out our handy Search Tips guide for more details.
Protip: When you find an article you need but the full text isn’t available in the database you are searching, use the Get It button to see if we have the full text in another database.
What will I find using the main search box?
You will find resources such as: books/ebooks, musical scores and recordings, maps
films and DVDs, periodicals and newspapers, government information and
other material held in the U of A Library’s collections and those of our NEOS Partner Libraries.
In general, use subject specific databases / Find Articles / Google Scholar for access to journal articles and “Search the library” for resources listed above and more! Again, we highly recommend you check out our Search Tips guide for more details.
What about Google Scholar?
Google scholar can be useful to see what is out there but if you just use Google scholar you are limiting what you see and you will eventually run into publisher paywalls.
- Use GS through the library website to get access to what we subscribe to right away
- Add Library Links in Google Settings
- Install the Unpaywall Chrome extension
- To find out if an article you found via GS is peer reviewed, look up the title of the journal in Ulrich’s Periodicals Index.
Virtual Library Orientation
Want to learn more about library services, spaces and collections? Pop into the University Orientation Network’s eClass orientation to Library Services at your convenience.
Best of luck with your fall semester and we look forward to meeting you online.