Getting Started with the Online Library

Getting Started with the Online Library
April 01, 2020

Getting Started with the Online Library

You’re sitting at home trying to get focused. That paper is waiting for you to get started. Perhaps you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you still need to pick a topic. Or you have a topic and the next step is to find and select articles or books. Regardless of where you are in the research process, the librarians are here for you.

Talking to a Librarian

If you want to brainstorm around a topic, then getting started with us is easy. Head to the Luria Library homepage and look for the Live Chat feature. Regardless of how long it takes, we can discuss your topic ideas and help you discover what might work best to meet the assignment goals. This service is available during our scheduled hours of operation (also posted on the library homepage).

You can also send us a text at (805) 699-5874.

Finding Online Books

Many assignments ask you to include material from books. Not a problem. We have thousands of books online. In most cases, you can download and review sections of the book or you can read the content online. To get started, you can use the OneSearch box on the library homepage. After you do a search, you can filter for books to "online only" by using the filters. In addition to this collection, we also have some specific databases for books. These include Credo Reference, Gale Virtual Reference Library, eBook Collection, and Ebook Central College Complete. Many of these books are also included in the OneSearch but using these databases can be a bit more focused.

Check out our complete guide for finding books.

Finding Online Articles

Much like the information above for finding books, the first place to get started for articles is the OneSearch box on the library homepage. Again, start with an initial search for your topic. You will then want to use the filters to limit the results. For example, you might check the boxes for "available online" and "peer-reviewed journals." 

In addition to using OneSearch, you have full access to all of our paid subscription databases from off campus. You can see a list of all the databases on our A-Z Database Guide. By far, the most popular of the databases is Academic Search Complete because it offers a very broad sweep of topics. But depending on your topic, you may use Communication and Mass Media Complete or US Newsstream.

What else might you need help with?

Perhaps creating citations for your works cited page or the in-text citations? There are self-help tools for this on our Citation Guide, but you can always circle back to the chat feature and ask us directly. Sometimes it may not seem completely obvious or clear on how the citation looks so that’s a good time to get in touch. We want to hear from you.

This is not a comprehensive guide to our services and resources. Many specific classes have their own Research Guide. We also have a number of Tutorials for better understanding the research process. For example, what does “peer-reviewed” mean?

We also have our Guide to the Library for Online Students.

Good luck with the remainder of the semester. And we hope to hear from you soon.