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IDS 110 Guide to Library Research

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Off-Campus Access

Off-campus access to licensed library resources such as journal articles and databases requires changes in your browser's settings that allow you to connect through a proxy server.
» Instructions on setting up access

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Defining Your Topic

Use sources such as encyclopedias and websites to find background information on a topic. Learn more about your topic to help you decide on the focus for your project and to identify keywords for searching.


AccessScience  UCB access only
A classic source of background information in all areas of science and technology, based on the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Some examples include:
Computer Security
Human-Computer Interaction
Virtual Reality
World Wide Web

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences  UCB access only
A scholarly and authoritative work providing background information on all aspects of the social and behavioral sciences. Some examples include:
Human-Computer Interface
Intellectual Property Rights: Ethical Aspects
Computers and Society
Information Technology
Internet: Psychological Perspectives


The web has profoundly affected how we approach and conduct research. The most important and overlooked aspect of the open web is that it is the responsibility of the reader to judge the quality of the information. The Teaching Library has created a guide on Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask.

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Finding Information


Books are good sources for background information on broad fields of study. They also include lists of sources used by the author, which you can consult for additional information. Use the library catalog to find books on your topic.

The online catalog for the UC Berkeley libraries. It includes call numbers and locations for books, journals, magazines, and other materials. Sample searches include:
(keywords) Information superhighway social aspects
(keywords) computers society
(keywords) Internet impact
(keywords) digital divide


Articles are shorter than books and are more focused on a particular topic. Articles appear in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Scholarly research is most commonly published in journals, some of which assure quality through the peer-review process. Use article databases to find articles on your topic.

Academic Search Complete  UCB access only
Multi-disciplinary database that includes journals, monographs, reports, conference proceedings, and more. Full text is available for some journals.
Exact phrase: "digital divide"
All words: computers AND toddlers
Any words: poor OR poverty
Truncation: comput*
» Searching Academic Search Complete (movie: 3mm:24ss)
» Viewing Full Text in Academic Search Complete (movie: 1mm:58ss)

Business Source Complete  UCB access only
Includes articles from scholarly business journals and magazines.
Exact phrase: digital divide
All words: computers AND toddlers
Any words: poor OR poverty
Truncation: comput*
Tutorial: movie (approx. 2mm:58ss)

Lexis-Nexis Academic  UCB access only
Includes articles from newspapers around the world.
Exact phrase: digital divide
All words: computers AND toddlers
Any words: poor OR poverty
Truncation: comput!

Web of Science  UCB access only
Includes scholarly journal articles in all areas of the sciences and social sciences.
Exact phrase: digital divide
All words: computers AND toddlers
Any words: poor OR poverty
Truncation: comput*
» Quick Guide (HTML)
» Quick Guide (PDF)

Polls and Surveys

Pew Internet & American Life Project
Includes research reports based on national surveys regarding "the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life."

Gallup Brain  UCB access only
Provides public opinion poll data and analyses from the Gallup Organization.

Polling the Nations  UCB access only
Provides public opinion poll data from surveys conducted in the U.S. and other countries.

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Citing Sources

Just as you look for references in evaluating quality, so will your instructors look for references in evaluating your projects. Citations show that you have done your research, give credit to previous researchers and help the reader understand where you got your facts, figures, and evidence.

APA Style (American Psychological Association)
Your instructor has required that you use the APA style of formatting your references.
» APA Style Guide (Purdue University)

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Need Help?

If you have questions about your library research, please visit the Moffitt Library Information Gateway during its reference service hours:
Mon - Thu  9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Friday        9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sat - Sun   1 p.m.–5 p.m.

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Instant Message (IM)

Kresge Engineering Library