Uni Life

Using the library catalogue: Tips and tricks

Library search

If your university schedules are anything like mine, assessment time is fast creeping up and, hopefully, you’ve started to do some research for those impending essays. At first glance the library catalogue can be a confusing place, I spent most of my first year navigating blindly, hoping that something useful would pop up. However, in reality it can be a useful tool and can really assist you when compiling an essay or research paper. So here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Once you’ve accessed the library catalogue from the Griffith University homepage and have entered your research topic in the search bar you’ll see the (potentially very long) list of resources appear as seen below.

Library searchSo how do you go about reducing the number of sources?

Be specific:

  • Use key words: The library catalogue can be a really useful tool, however, it is also vast – a search can yield hundreds of thousands of results, which you definitely don’t have time to read through! Taking the time to think about your essay topic and narrow your search down using key terms can really help the search process.
  • Use filters: On the left bar of your screen in the library catalogue you’ll see titles including ‘Refine your search’ and ‘Content type,’ these options are called filters and are a quick and easy way to narrow your search considerably. For example, if I am researching my essay from home I can select to only search for library sources that are available for viewing online. These filters also come in handy for assignments when you might be instructed to only use peer-reviewed sources in your analysis. By simply choosing the ‘peer-reviewed/refereed’ option, you can eliminate all sources that don’t come under this category.

Refine search

The library catalogue also has some handy tools to allow you to save information about the source once you’ve found an article or book that you want to use.

  • Create a reading list: By clicking the small folder icon alongside the source you’ve been reading, you can save its title, author and bibliographical details in a reading list, you can then email or print a copy of the list – a simple and quick way to keep track of all the sources you’ve accessed in case you want to return to them later.

Reading list

To access the reading list you’ve created, click the large folder icon at the top of the screen.

Reading list 2

  • Create a reference list: Not only is the reading list an easy way to keep track of what you’ve looked at, it can also assist you when it comes to referencing for your assignment. Once you’ve accessed your reading list, simply choose the referencing style you’ve been asked to use and the program will formulate all of the source’s details into a proper reference (tip: it always pays to check that the reference is correct, sometimes things go awry in the digital universe!).

Reference list

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Happy researching!

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