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ENGL 099 - Fundamentals of College Writing: Finding Sources

Where to Search

The best place to start searching is usually the main search box on the library's homepage.

the Library's main search box

The main search box provides access to books, periodicals, scholarly (peer reviewed) academic journal articles, ebooks, media, and credible online resources--all with one simple search. Entering a few keywords in this box will automatically search over 65 separate databases, each of which includes material from literally thousands of different sources.

There are a few special databases, though, that are particularly helpful to students in first-year composition classes. These databases are online collections of the types of articles that most professors want students to use in their ENGL 099, ENGL 101, and ENGL 102 research papers. These databases also categorize their content according to certain subject areas that are frequently written about by students in those classes.

Finding Articles

The main search box on the library's home page allows you to limit your search to a specific type of resource, e.g. books, articles, course reserve materials, etc.

If you're looking only for articles--including scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles--use the dropdown menu beside the main search box to select "Find Articles." (FYI: The "Find Journal Title" option will only help you see if we subscribe to a certain journal; it won't search for specific articles published in that journal.)

Dropdown menu of main search box

Enter a few important subject-related keywords in the search box and hit the "Search" button.

You can narrow your results even further on your search results screen. If you're only interested in articles from Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed journals, look for the "Limit To" box on the left side of the page and click the box that says "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals." Your results list will be updated to weed out non-scholarly sources.

Scholarly Peer Reviewed Journals limiter


Finding Books in Van Wagenen Library

On the library's main webpage, enter a keyword, title, or author in the main search box.

You can filter your results by type (e.g. books, news, magazines, etc.) by selecting the appropriate item in the "Source Types" box on the left of the results list.

You may need to try different combinations of keywords to find what you're looking for. Once you've found a book you're interested in, write down the "call number" provided.

The letters at the beginning of a call number designate the subject area, which means books about similar subjects are typically grouped together on the shelves. That means if you find a book on a subject you're interested in, chances are good that the books next to it on the shelf will be about a similar topic.

Look for the signs on the ends of the rows to help you find the shelf that has your book. Then look for your call number on the spine of the books on that shelf.

Library shelf guide signscall number on book spine

If you need help, ask a librarian or staff member at the main desk on the library's first floor.