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ENGL 110 Introduction to Academic Writing -- Hartwig: Become a Library Power Searcher!

Become a power searcher!

General Tips

  • Librarians want to meet with you! Schedule an appointment with Gretchen Scronce, the librarian for your class, to get personalized help with keywords, searching, or whatever you need most. The Access & Instruction Desk is also ready to help! 
  • Use Permalinks and Email tools. Your searching is session-based, so the addresses you see at the top of your browser may not work after a certain period of time or on a different computer. Use one of these methods to ensure you can get back to the article later.
    • Look for Permalink or Persistent Link and copy/paste that link, instead of the one at the top. 
    • Another option is to use the Email tool in many databases to send article info to your email account.
  • Search for multiple variations on a word by replacing the ending of a word with an asterisk *. This is known as truncated or wildcard searching. For example, searching for immigra* would yield results for immigration, immigrant, immigrants, and any other variants all at once.
  • Use the Boolean limiters AND, OR, and NOT to expand or restrict your search. For example:
    • immigration AND Brazil = all results must include both terms (fewer results)
    • immigration OR Brazil = results will include at least one of the terms (more results)
    • immigration NOT Brazil = results will be about immigration, excluding Brazil  (fewer results)

classic catalog tips

  • The Classic Catalog is the best place to search for books and ebooks. It also includes journal titles, but not article titles.
  • The More Searches link in the top right is the absolute quickest way to find something if you know the title and/or author. Use Journal Title to determine if we have full-text access to the journal and volume you need.
  • Use Subject Headings: If you find a result that looks promising, notice the Subjects assigned. If you see one that matches your topic, click on it to find everything the library has assigned to that subject.
  • If your author or title search didn’t yield the results you hoped for, click on the green PASCAL Delivers logo  to see results from libraries across the state. If another institution has the book listed as Available you can fill out a request and it will be sent to CofC for you, usually within a few days.

Google Scholar tips

  • Google Scholar is most useful when it connects to library databases. This happens automatically on the eduroam wireless network, but off-campus you’ll need to access Google Scholar through the library databases or configure it to search at CofC.
  • To configure: Go to Google Scholar Settings and choose Library links. Search for and add College of Charleston Libraries - Find It @ CofC.
  • Citation search: To see what impact an article has had on other scholarly work, search for it in Google Scholar and look for the Cited By number in the result. Click on the number to see where the article has been cited.

Discovery Service Tips

  • The Discovery Service searches an entire ocean of research--books, journal articles, stuff we have, and even stuff we don’t have. It’s a good place to start looking for journal articles.
  • Use Filters (in the left sidebar) to refine your search results. Especially helpful:
    • Publication Date
    • Resource Type
    • Subject
    • Geography
  • When you find a Discovery Service result that interests you, use the Tools to the right to:
    • Email the article to yourself.
    • Generate a citation (you'll still want to be sure it's correct). 
  • ""If you see the Find It At CofC button, the Discovery Service can’t match up full text for this item. Sometimes we don’t have it, and sometimes the databases just aren’t communicating well with each other. Rule out the latter by using the Classic Catalog and E-Journals links. If nothing turns up, use the ILL link to request the article. This link will prompt you to log into our ILL system, Illiad, and it will automatically fill in information about the article--a big time saver! ILL can usually get digital copies of articles quickly--sometimes even the same day! (If you are using ILL for the first time, you’ll have to finish setting up your profile. Do that, and then use the Find It At CofC page to initiate the request and have it fill in most information for you.)