Physics and Astronomy Library Guide and Resources: Finding Sources

Select a Database

  • Use Databases A-Z to select a specific database or use Databases by Subject to view databases listed by subject.
  • OneSearch allows you to search across most of our article databases at once, and then narrow results by topic, subject area, item type, and date range.

Finding Articles in Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers

Pick a database recommended for your subject from Databases by Subject and then search using keywords.

To locate the full text of an article:

  • If full-text is available in the database, click on the link to full text (HTML or PDF).
  • If full-text isn't available in the database, click the Find Text button to see if we have access to the article in another database or in print in the library
  • If no Find Text button is available or you didn't find the article through our databases, search for the magazine or journal title using the Journals tab in the library catalog.
  • If the full text isn't available through the Library, you can request an Interlibrary Loan for the article(s) that you need. However, you must allow about two weeks for this!

 

Search for Articles

Choose Keywords

Choose keywords that represent the important ideas you want the articles to contain. Given the topic the effect of television violence on children, you might choose television, violence and children as your keywords.

For more information, see Developing a Search Strategy.

Combine Keywords Using AND and OR (Boolean Operators) to Refine Your Search

Tell the database how to combine your keywords using Boolean operators.

  • If you want all of the keywords to appear in every article, put AND between them in the search box. Example: television AND violence AND children
  • To have the database search for articles where either of two terms appears, put OR between the terms in the search box. Example: teenagers OR adolescents

For more information, see Boolean Searching and Truncation.

Refine Your Search Using Limits and Field-Specific Searches

There are two options for refining your search beyond specifying keywords.

  • Field-specific searches: the database looks for a keyword in only a specific field, such as author, title, abstract, or publication title. Look for a field drop-down box next to the search box.
  • Limiters: additional fields that appear on the search page such as scholarly (or peer-reviewed), date of publication, and article type. For example, you can select the scholarly limiter and the database returns only scholarly articles.

Printing and Saving Articles in PDF Format

If you are viewing an article in PDF format, use the print and save icons in the Adobe Reader frame. Do not use File > Print, File > Save, Ctrl+P, or Ctrl+S because these commands cause the file to print or save incorrectly.

Library Catalog Basic Search

Catalog Search Box

Starting from the Library Catalog Basic Search screen you can search by KeywordTitleAuthor, or Subject by selecting the radio buttons and typing search words in the text box.

The default Limits setting will search the entire collection. You may also limit your search to smaller sub-collections: Ejournals (electronic periodicals--not specific articles), Ebooks, NCOD (National Center on Deafness), TCC (Teacher Curriculum Center), Periodicals/Serials (not specific articles), Videos, Reference Room, Special Collections, or Sound Recordings by selecting a collection from the drop-down menu.

Searching for a specific Item

Select an Author or Title search if you know the author (last name, first name) or at least the first few words of the title.

Searching for Items by Topic

There are two ways to search the online catalog for resources on a topic: by Keyword or by Subject.

  • Basic Keyword search will simultaneously look for words in titles of materials, in subject headings, and in notes fields.
  • Subject search will locate materials by Library of Congress Subject Headings, which is a controlled vocabulary or standard list of subject terms. The Oviatt Library assigns Library of Congress Subject Headings to all items listed in the online catalog.
  • Another way to find the Library of Congress Subject Heading for your topic is to search the catalog by Keyword, display the record for a relevant title, and select one or more of the Subjects listed for that record.

Find a Book on the Shelves

  • Check the Status field of the book's record in the catalog.
    • IN LIBRARY - book is available for checkout.
    • DUE + date - book has already been checked out.
  • The Location field shows the general location of the book.
  • The Call # field gives the book's call number, which serves as the book's address in the library. Each row of books on the 2nd and 3rd floors will have a sign at the end indicating which call numbers can be found on that row.

Finding Online Reference Books

View a complete list of Electronic Encyclopedias in the Oviatt Library Catalog

To limit the list by subject or title:

  1. Click the Modify Search button.
  2. In the Keyword Search screen, type subject or title words in the second search box (under "encyclopedias").
  3. Click the Submit Search button. (Note: once you've modified the search, it will list both online and print encyclopedias. You can recognize an online encyclopedia by the [electronic resource] tag after the title.)

 

Can't Find the Book You Need Here?

  • Ask the Library to get the book you need via Interlibrary loan.
  • Check worldcat.org to see if any libraries nearby have the book if you need it immediately.
  • Remember, as a CSUN student you have borrowing privileges from any of the other CSU libraries.