Using Western Libraries

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Finding books. Start at the Western Libraries homepage ( Click on the library catalogue link. You can search for subjects and keywords or for specific authors and titles. If you are just starting research try searching by subject or keyword to maximize results. A general search will familiarize you with your subject and lead to more specific secondary searches.

Tip: Use the mark item boxes on the search results page to save citations as you are searching. Simply check the box to the left of the item and click on the save marked items button. Once you finish browsing results, click on the view marked items button. You can email the citations to yourself or print them. Now you can make one trip up to the stacks to collect all of your resources.

Finding journal articles or using databases. Western Libraries organizes article databases by subject to make searching for specific topics easier.

Start at the Western Libraries homepage ( Click on “Resources by Subject” and select your faculty and program or the closest to your topic. Select “Find Articles Using Indexes.” You’ll see a list of databases with descriptions. Select a database that is most appropriate for your research by clicking on its link. You can search by author, title (journal or article), subject and keyword. Each database holds different journals, so it is a good idea to search a few different databases. Some articles are available electronically as PDF files, but articles in older journals are in the periodicals section of the library (the lower level) by call number.

Journal articles are organized by year, volume, issue and page numbers, so make sure you have all the information before trying to hunt down your article.

Finding Course Materials on Reserve. From the Library homepage, click on the Library Catalogue and then on “Course Reserves.” You can search by the name of the course, ex. MIT 025, or by instructor, Blackmore, T. Check the search results for the Library location, the call number, and status in the library. Reserve items are usually on short-term circulation (two-hour sign out). In order to maximize you use of reserve materials and respect your classmates, photocopy or make quick notes of the article or book.

Take advantage of the subject librarians. Each program has a subject librarian responsible for ensuring each program has the resources necessary for teaching, coursework, and research. If you are having trouble researching a topic, you can contact the subject librarian for your program for help. Find a full listing here:

Get help with documenting sources. On the resources by subject page you will find links to style guides and writing aids that are specific to your program. To make it really easy, use Refworks. It is a web-based bibliographic citation management program, which allows you to save, search, and format the information you find in database and catalogue searches. Set up an account (check with a librarian for the group code required) and download Write-N-Cite " the software program that transfers citations from Refworks into footnotes or endonotes and places them in your essays in Word. All you have to do during a catalogue or database search is mark the item and click the export to Refworks button.

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