Agriculture & Food

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

(Click to run targeted Subject searches in the IC Library catalog)

Agriculture and state  [government policy]
Agriculture and state--Developing countries
Agriculture and state--United States
Agriculture--Economic aspects
Agriculture--Economic aspects--United States
Agriculture--Economic aspects--United States--History--20th century
Agriculture--Energy consumption
Agriculture--Environmental aspects
Agriculture--Environmental aspects--United States
Agriculture--Moral and ethical aspects
Agriculture--United States

Agricultural biotechnology
Agricultural biotechnology--Environmental aspects
Agricultural biotechnology--Moral and ethical aspects
Crops--Genetic engineering
Crops--Genetic engineering--Environmental aspects
Transgenic plants Agricultural chemicals--Environmental aspects
Pesticides--Environmental aspects
Agricultural ecology
Agricultural ecology--United States
Agricultural industries
Agricultural industries--United States
Agricultural innovations

Sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture--United States
Agrobiodiversity conservation
Alternative agriculture
Alternative agriculture--United States
Organic farming
Organic farming--United States
Farms, Small--United States
Organic living
Natural foods
Natural foods industry
Slow food movement
Local foods
Farmers' markets
Farm produce--Marketing

Indians of North America--Agriculture
Indians of North America--Ethnobotany
Indigenous peoples--Ecology--North America
Indian philosophy--North America
Herbs--Therapeutic use

Animal industry--United States--Moral and ethical aspects
Animal industry--Moral and ethical aspects
Animal industry--United States
Livestock--United States
Livestock factories--Moral and ethical aspects
Feedlots--Environmental aspects--United States
Animal feeding--Environmental aspects--Research
Cattle--Feeding and feeds
Cattle trade--United States
Beef cattle--Feeding and feeds
Beef industry--Environmental aspects
Beef industry--United States
Meat industry and trade--United States
Food industry and trade   [food processing]
Food industry and trade--Energy consumption
Food industry and trade--Environmental aspects
Food industry and trade--Moral and ethical aspects
Food industry and trade--United States--History
Corn industry--United States
Wheat trade--United States
Viticulture--Middle East--History
Beer industry--History
Animal rights--Religious aspects--Christianity                                                    

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

General OneFile :
     The most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).  Most of the Subject Headings available in the Library catalog will work here, including "Agricultural biotechnology," "Sustainable agriculture," "Agricultural industry," "Corn industry," "Cattle," "Feedlots," "Grazing," "Organic farming," "Convenience foods," or "Health foods."
     When you settle on a subject heading, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searchs produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Environmental aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "Health aspects," "Political aspects," "Social aspects," and "Statistics," to name only a few.
      If the best available subdivision is still too broad, open it and add your own Keywords in the "Search within these results" slot at the upper left.

ProQuest Research Library :
     This is another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word.   Combining Subject searches may work well:  Genetic Engineering and Crops, Factory Farming and Cruelty to Animals, Organic Farming and Prices, Corn and Nutrition, or Fast food Industry and Obesity.  Of course you can add Keywords for better focus.  
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location."

Academic Search Premier
     Like General OneFile and Proquest, a large comprehensive database with ample full text.  Note that you can browse the "Subject Terms" (above the search slots) and once you find a likely Subject Heading for your topic you can "explode" (double click) it for a list of related Subject terms.  And note that after you have retrieved a set of articles you can keep adding Keywords above or suggested Subject Headings listed on the left (though note that these Subject Searches are added to your old search--they will narrow your results.  Also note that with each retrieval set there is a "Geography" button on the left where you can narrow the results by country--for instance, the United States--as well as "Source Types" where you can choose to view only the "academic" (scholarly) journal articles.

     Covers a wide range of scholarly journals in most disciiplines, always beginning with the first issue of each one.  This provides 100% full text access to articles from not only the first half of the 20th century but even the second half of the 19th.  Be aware, however, that at the other end of the date range articles don't appear in JSTOR until at least 2-3 years after publication. Also be aware that for 100% full text you must change the setting from "include links to external content" to "include only content I can access."
     JSTOR offers only a Keyword search of its complete full text, so retrievals are large, but the relevancy ranking does a good job of putting the strongest matches on the first few pages.  This relevancy ranking does not weigh date, however, and will display a mix of articles written decades apart.  So if your topic is time sensitive, be alert to publication dates.
     User Advisory: The academic journals covered here feature numerous book reviews, so it's a good idea to tic the "Article" limit below the search slots so you won't be overwhelmed by book reviews on your topic.  
     Also note the "Date Range" limit, which in a database with an archive this deep can be very useful.

SocINDEX with Full Text :
     As the name implies, an excellent database for social issues. Click on the "Subject Terms" link above the search slots to find which Subject Headings will work here. Double click any Heading for a list of broader, narower, and related Subject Terms.  And note that you can check the boxes to select as many Headings as you like and then "add to search using or" and run the search--all without even retyping the terms back on the home page.

PsycINFO :  
     The American Psychological Association use their own Subject vocabulary (called "Descriptors"), so a visit to the "Thesaurus" below the search slots is a good idea. If you find an article on exactly what you want, be sure to check the assigned "Descriptors" on the right of the citation for more ideas about useful search terms.  Among the available Descriptors here are Food, Food Preferences, Eating Attitudes, and Eating Behavior.
     PsycINFO deals only with scholarly literature, much of it assuming a graduate-level understanding of the discipline.  But among these you may find interesting, accessible articles on your topic.  
     User Advisory: If what you're searching for are "journal articles only" in "English," it's a good idea to check those boxes (below the search slots).

CQ Researcher  
     A weekly publication from Congressional Quarterly. Each report (approx. 20 pages) examines a single issue relevant to American public policy, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. The non-partisan analysis always includes a "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," and "Pro/Con" section, as well as numerous charts and graphs of statistical data, maps, and a bibliography for further reading. 
     Issues from the last ten years include "Factory Farms," "Biotech Foods," "Farm Subsidies," "Slow Food Movement," and "Fish Farming."
GreenFILE :
     You can browse the "Subject Terms" above the search slots to determine available Headings (and when you find a good one "explode" it by double clicking it to see a list of related Headings).  You'll find most of the usual subjects here: "Sustainable agriculture," "Agrodiversity," "Agriculture & state" (government policy), "Agriculture & energy," "Organic farming," "Animal industry," etc.

Business Source Premier (Special Business Interface) :
     These resources may be more likely to take business-friendly views.  Notice that you can browse the available Subjects on the right.  Among them are "Animal industry," "Sustainable agriculture," "Meat industry & trade," "Natural foods industry," and "Genetically modified food."

ScienceDirect :
     Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation. This will open a range of articles on the same topic.  
     Note: Because this is Keyword searching, you will sometimes need to use truncation.  The truncation symbol here is the exclamation point: !  So, for example, farm! retrieves farm, farms, and farming.
     Also note: The default date range is 10 years, but you can choose any date range you wish.
     Also also note: it's a good idea to uncheck the "All books" box below the search slots, if you are in fact looking for articles.

ATLA religion database with ATLASerials :
     Our religion and theology database.  To browse the Subject Headings available here, click on "Indexes" above the search slots  and select "Subjects ALL"  from the drop-down menu.

Philosopher's Index :
     Good resource for Animal Rights, which is an available Descriptor (Subject Heading) here.  Or try Vegetarianism.  (Agriculture also retrieves a fascinating collection of articles, but mainly in journals to which we have no full text access, so interlibrary loan would be your only option.) 

LexisNexis Academic  News:  
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed with articles in which your search terms are mentioned anywhere—first
 or last paragraph—or any number of times—once or ten times—use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(fracking and pollution) will retrieve just the articles in which the words “fracking” and “pollution” are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“gay marriage”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text law reviews (publishers of scholarly articles on legal issues), this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, 
use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(“gun control”) or atleast7(genes and patents) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Lisabeth Chabot

Lisabeth Chabot

College Librarian
(607) 274-3182

Search Argos

Web Resources

Web Search Engines

  Google Advanced Search: When doing research on the Web, always use the Adanced Search version of Google. This not only provides more flexibility in entering search terms, but more importantly it allows you to target the Web domains that are likely to provide the most authoritative information.
Under "Need More Tools?" you will find the "Search within a site or domain" slot. You may enter only one domain at a time, but it's worth targeting each of the three domains likely to supply the best information: colleges and universities (enter the "edu" tag), nonprofit organizations (enter the "org" tag), and the United States government (enter the "gov" tag).

Web Directories

     Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.   

Selected Web Sites

  • Sustainable Agriculture Resources: from Ohio State University, a good set of links to online resources, though the alphabetical organization necessitates a good deal of skimming.
  • Farmland Information Center: a clearinghouse for information about farmland protection and stewardship.  Lots of publications here--use the tiny tabs at the top to navigate.  And note the handy "Resources by State" interactive map.
  • Agribusiness: From the Business School Library at Harvard, a good gateway to international resources for agribusiness.
  • KingCorn: from Purdue University, a list of links to various growers associations and corn products manufacturers.  These are booster sites for American corn production.
  • Food Timeline: Great resource from dedicated reference librarian Lynne Olver.  Take advantage of all the linked information.

Think Tanks & Research Institutes

Think Tanks & Research Institutes: A short collection of resources that can access these often influential contributions to public policy debate. 

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.