HEOP: Library Session: Search Skills


Welcome to the Library! This guide is a brief introduction to library resources.
  • Know that Reference librarians are available to assist you find information: Ask a Librarian!
  • How to form a search strategy using keywords
  • Search the library catalog and how to find a book 
  • How to find a journal article 
  • How to select and search a database
  • Citation help is available from the library's website

Search Strategy Worksheet + Leadership Topic

Background Information

It is good to get an overview of definition before you start searching. Instead of Wikipedia, try one of these resources:
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Collection of  reference books covering, but not limited to, business and finance, philosophy, history, film, Jewish studies and ethics.
  • CQ Researcher
    Comprehensive reporting and analysis on current issues in the news. Each report includes an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
    Opposing Viewpoints in Context covers today’s hottest social issues, from Offshore Drilling to Climate Change. This database helps students research, analyze, and organize a broad variety of data for conducting research, completing writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations and more.

Database Selection

It is always good to search a multidisciplinary databases: If you'd like to search newspapers, try: Find them under the Databases tab of the library’s homepage

  • Brainstorm on key words and phrases of your topic
  • Consider what subject areas research your topic (does it concern law, politics or business?)
  • Choose one of the key subject Research Guides from the Guides page (see, below, for some recommended guides)
  • Ask your librarian if you're not certain
  • After searching a database look at your results
  • If there is a link to PDF or HTML, fulltext is available
  • If there is a green arrow, click on it to see if fulltext is available in another database
  • If fulltext is not available we can borrow articles and books via Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Finding books, e-books, journal titles, dvds,

  • Search ARGOS, the library's catalog, for a known item by title or author.  
  • If you want to search generally by keyword, use the Advanced Search form (ex. leader? AND psychology identity).  Note: an asterisk * mark will truncate your search: leader* will retrieve books on leaders and leadership. 
  • Expand your search with subject headings (click on the Details tab of ARGOS).
  • Narrow your search by using the left menu (limit by date, subject, etc.);  Refine my Results.
  • Click on the Locations tab and check the status and location.  Jot down the call number. 
  • Click MAP next to the call mumber to find the location in stacks:
    General stacks A-HB
    General stacks HC-Z
  • If the location is Multimedia, write down the DVD or CD number and check out the item at the desk on the 3rd floor of the library (one flight up and to your left).   You can search the Film tab to find DVDs more easily. It includes information about our Multimedia services.
  • Although e-books are in the library's catalog, you can search the whole collection here: Ebrary
  • If we don't have a book, search for it in WorldCat via FirstSearch ; click the Interlibrary Loan link to make a request.

Reserve Readings

  • On the library's homepage, click on the "Reserves" tab.  Reserves can be checked out from the Circulation Desk with you ID for 2 hours in the Library.
  • Search your professors name.  If nothing comes up, try the title of the book.  Jot down the call number and provide it to the student at the Circulation Desk.

Finding a Citation & Interlibrary Loan

Examine your citation and determine the journal title (NOT the article title):

Hammack, P. L. (2010). The Political Psychology of Personal Narrative: The Case of Barack Obama. Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy, 10(1), 182-206. doi:10.1111/j.1530-2415.2010.01207.x

Reference to a newspaper article:
"Protectors of Forests Take Home the Prizes." In Wall Street Journal, May 10, 1991, p. B1.

Click on the Databases tab on the the library's website. Scroll down to "Find a Journal."  Type your title in and click search.  You'll see a list of databases that contain fulltext of your article. First check the date.  Older articles may be in print or microform.  if we don't have it fulltext, you'll be prompted to borrow the article using Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  This is a free service to you as a student; we borrow books and articles from other  Remember to ask at the Reference desk if you need help.  We'll walk through the process with you.

Research Guides

Not sure where to start?  You can try out General guide to begin. It contains resources that are basic or cover a variety of subjects. 

Recommended subject specific guides may include:

Contact Us

picture of Abby Juda

Abby Juda

Natural Sciences Librarian
(607) 274-3889
picture of Cathy Michael

Cathy Michael

Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Search Argos

Ask a Librarian

At the bottom of the library's homepage is an Ask a Librarian link.  Find your personal librarian based on your area of study.  You can visit the reference desk with long questions or make a research consultation appointment with a librarian.   We’re here to help you!

Get to know the library

In addition to our databases did you know:
  • The library is on the 2nd through 5th floor of the Gannett Center. Here are some maps to find our service points and books.
  • Login to a library computer using your Netpass account.  Authenticate in databases (on campus or off) using your Netpass account (email user name and password). 
  • We have wireless access. Bring your laptop or borrow a library laptop at the Circulation desk.
  • Printing goes to the Circulation Desk.   More about Printing in the libfrary.
  • Check the library hours at the top of the library's homepage.
  • There is a tab to access Reserves. Books on reserve can be checked out at the Circulation desk.
  • Check out books at the Circulation desk.  You'll get an email reminder when the book is almost due (generally you can have books out for a "block" -- a half a semester).   Renew books through your Library Account (click Accounts from the library's homepage).  Here is our Circulation Policy that defines how long you can check out different items (DVDs, books, computers, Reserves).

On Leadership (Washington Post)

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