It's important to try the catalog and a few different databases, plus a few different search terms--searching in different places and with different words will give you different results.
Where should I search?
How can I search it?
What will I find?
(Preus Library Catalog)
|Search box on the library homepage||
|Databases||Select a database from the All Databases list||
|The Web||Google, Duck Duck Go, etc.||
A database is a collection of scholarly journals and articles that lets us search many potential sources at once. Databases can be general and cover many subjects, or be specific to one or several subjects.
Browse the All Databases list to see the databases Preus Library has access to.
Is your topic a string of words or phrases? To search for a phrase in which word order matters, put quotation marks (" ") around your search term.
For example: "social media" ; "higher education" ; "reality television"
Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT can help you combine and exclude terms from your searches.
Remember Venn Diagrams? They're a great way to visualize what the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT can do for your research.
You can combine phrase searching and more than one Boolean operator to make complex, specific searches.
Use the terms librarians use to classify and organize information! As you browse the catalog or a database and find a resource that looks promising, look for hyperlinked subjects, also called subject headings. In the catalog, you'll have to expand the View Description section to see these. An example of subjects from the catalog is shown in the image below.
Clicking on one of these subjects will start another search that shows all results that are tagged with the same subject - it's a great way to find similar research to something you've identified as useful!
It's about pulling together information that helps you formulate your ideas and make the argument yourself. This video (2 minutes) explains why finding one perfect source isn't feasible, and describes some ways you can be strategic about your searching.
Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.
A scholarly article is written by an academic or professional researcher and is published in a scholarly journal. Scholarly articles can present original research or summarize existing research in that scholar's field.
Scholarly articles can be found in library databases. Preus Library provides access to databases that cover subjects across academic disciplines. Here are a few general databases that are great starting points, along with the catalog, for your research.
The catalog is your gateway to all of the information that Preus Library provides access to. This includes physical books, journals, sheet music, and media, as well as e-books and articles from online databases.
If you only want books that Preus Library owns, use the Held By Library filter along the left side of your search results and check the box next to Luther College.
When you find a book you want to read, you'll need the book's call number, so write it down or have it handy. A call number is basically a book's GPS location within the library. Books with call numbers that start with the letters A - L will be on the lower floor of the library; books with call numbers that start with the letters M - Z will be on the upper floor.
Here's what to look for in the catalog:
The library is organized by subject, so if you're headed to the stacks for a book, be sure to scan the shelves around it too. You'll likely find more books on your topic!
Filter bubbles cause us to browse the internet in a way that aligns with our beliefs and biases and narrows our point of view. Search engines and websites collect data on your habits so that they can show you information that you agree with and ads that will interest you.
So, how can we burst the bubble and see a wider variety of information?
Find a claim that you're not sure about? Fact-checking sites can help. Here are a few that are trustworthy: