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Finding Sources: in the Library and Online: Start Here

This guide shows students where to begin and provides them with resources for finding all types of information.

Research Appointment

Librarians are available to help you find the articles, resources, and answers you need to get started on that paper or project! We can also help you look for obscure topics or locate books/articles not held in Smith Library's collections. Schedule a Research Appointment!

Locating materials in the library

The library uses the Dewey Decimal System to assign a unique call number to every physical item in the building. The library's collection spans all three floors of the building and it is divided by call number. For assistance finding items in other locations, just ask at the library's InfoDesk.

  • 000-199 First Floor
  • 200-759.3 Second Floor
  • 759.4-999 Third Floor

Accessing SU resources? Be sure to Log into My Library Account so that you can acess all the resources that this InfoGuide provides.

WorldCat Local

Worldcat@SU has the ability to search for books, audiovisual materials, and journals as well as our most popular databases (including Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and Project Muse). Learn more about Worldcat@SU on the library website or by using the InfoGuide.

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>


Reference works are all about the FACTS. They provide Background Information.

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, and other collections of information are useful for quickly identifying key facts or researching background information. You can learn which states have to most pet owners or laws that pertain to pets.

  • Get the facts
  • Learn the lingo
  • Check out the author/creator
  • Locate additional sources

If you are searching for background information, start with reference! If you need help, ask a librarian.

Where do I find reference works?  Reference works can be printed or in digital form and you can locate them by searching Worldcat@SU. We have many reference books on dogs! Below are just a few of the reference books on dogs in our collection. Ask at the Information Desk if you have trouble locating an item.

If you are wanting to start your research using broader categories, then try the following reference resources...

Not all reference works are in the reference collection. And not all reference works are dictionaries and encyclopedias. Search for reference works with "guide" or "handbook" in the title. However, some materials don't always use these key words in the title, so read its description first before determining whether it is a reference work. Look for keywords in the decription like glossary, almanac, volume, appendix, and primary source documents.

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A Database can provide you with information on a source and the link to the content, if it is a digital source. Two main databases at our library are Worldcat@SU, which provides you information on materials in our library as well as material available digitally, and the other database is Academic Search Complete, which is a database of many articles from all types of magazines and journals.

Before you begin to search for research, think about what you need.  Do you need an answer a specific question dogs? Are you comparing different subjects related to dogs? After all, if you simply type "dogs" and hit submit, then thousands of sources will appear. Browse the InfoGuide Databases A-Z and read the pop-up descriptions to determine which database will meet your requriements.

 Try narrowing down your search using ADVANCED SEARCH. You have two helpful options for narrowing down your search:

  • select subject: and type in keywords that you want to learn more about. Keep in mind that 1) The more you type, the fewer the results and 2) Only items tagged with all of those keywords will appear. Therefore, be sure to try different combinations of words and synonyms (i.e., dog, puppy, or canine)!
  • select title: and type keywords. This type of search will limit the results to only those books with these keywords in their title. However, this may exclude some very helpful books.

Make sure you are logged in to your SU account in order to search our library!

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Basic Search Tip: Boolean Operators

Use AND to narrow your search. For example, using "behvavior AND intelligence" will find articles with both terms, giving your more specific results.

Use OR to broaden your results, such as using "behavior OR intelligence" will find articles with either term, giving you more results.
Use NOT to filter out results with terms you don't need. For example "adolescent NOT child" will filter out articles with the term "child".



Basic Search Tips: Truncation and Wildcard

Truncation (*): The "*" replaces any number of characters and will find all forms of a word root. For example, "pup*" will find "pup", "puppy", and "puppies."

Wildcard (#): The "#" replaces extra charactors that may appear in alternative spellings. For example, "behavio#r" finds both "behavior" and "behaviour."

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