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Fridays@the Library: Tools for Literature Search or How to Become an Expert

Learn which databases are specific to your field

Learn about Subject Specific Databases
Google and Google Scholar are great, but for graduate work you will have to become a better researcher.

The Library subscribes to hundreds of journal databases as well as online encyclopedias and citation indexes. You need to become familiar with the major indexes in you field and learn how to search them efficiently.

One way to become familiar with the databases in your area is to look at the Subject Guides
Another way is to look at Databases by Type.

Discover the important researchers and ideas in your field

Learn which scholars are important in your field

How do you learn who is important in your field?  In addition to asking your professors and fellow students,

if you are in the sciences or social sciences you can look at citation indexes like

Scopus and  Web of Knowledge  to see which articles are being cited most frequently. 

You can also look at Journal Citation Reports to see which journals have the most cited articles in your field.

For books, you might go to Amazon and look at customer reviews.
These reviews will often lead you to the core books in your field.

You might also search USC Library Search for books.  Their system will give you reviews from Choice and Publishers Weekly (if available).


Learn how to search

Learn how to effectively search databases 
If your database search skills need refreshing. There are number of short videos.

Be a master of Google

Use Google Scholar to find articles.

Use Google Books to find books or chapters in books.

Use Google Advanced Search to help you learn what Google can do.

Configure Google to find full text paid for by the Library.