Getting Started Guide


Welcome to the Library!

This guide is designed to lead you through the types of resources that you can find through the Library for research. This is a very general guide to those resources. If you want to focus on a particular historical location or aspect, please see the list of Guides on the Library's web site.

Notice that this site is organized using tabs. Each tab lists different kinds of resources, which are usually most useful at different stages of your research process. We suggest that you start with the 'Encyclopedias, etc.' tab when starting out. These resources will give you overviews of your subject, define terms, list useful books and journals to look for, and help you to frame your research topic. 

Then, use the 'Find Books' tab to find print and online books in UNB Libraries. Books generally provide more in-depth information on your topic. Scan the Table of Contents and the Index of the books you find, to see if they focus on your topic or on aspects of it.

Once you feel that you understand your research question, use the 'Find Articles' tab to locate and read journal articles on your topic. Because journal articles are usually much shorter than books, they tend to spend less time explaining the background of the topic at hand. 

If you encounter concepts or terms that you don't understand, loop back to 'Encyclopedias, etc.' to find a dictionary or encyclopedia that will help you to understand what you're reading.

Depending on the subject area, guides will have additional tabs, such as the 'Primary Sources' tab in History guides, which list collections of documents from various historical periods, and provides instructions for finding more in the library catalogue and in the bibliographies of the books and articles that you find.

Finally, the 'Citing your Sources' tab provides information on how to document what you read and use in your own research, using the style preferred by your discipline.

If you need help using this Guide, please don't hesitate to contact your local librarian, or AskUs online.

Encyclopedias, etc.

Each library has a collection of Reference sources, like encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks of research, and other tools that will help you to get valuable background information on your subject, define terminology, identify key scholars and research topics. You might use Reference sources if you're:

  • Not understanding your course readings
  • Trying to focus on a research question or a thesis statement
  • Needing to know more about a person, country, event
  • Looking for general statistical data
  • Looking for a list of sources on a particular topic
  • ...or for many other reasons

Some Reference sources are in print, and can be used in the Library. Others are online through the Library's web site. In either format, they will provide you with reliable information throughout your studies.

Key Resources

  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online)
    "This unique and powerful resource offers unprecedented access to the definitive record of the meaning, history and evolution of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,500 years." A complete text of the 2nd. ed. of the Oxford English dictionary with quarterly updates, including revisions not available in any other form.
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Canadian Encyclopedia, The
    Free online encyclopedia, containing the full text of the print Canadian Encyclopedia, "the most comprehensive source of information on all things Canadian." Includes the full text of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Additional Resources

  • International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd Ed.)
    see also [HIL-REF H41 .I58 2001 vols. 1-26]
    Fully revised and updated, the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001, offers a source of social and behavioral sciences reference material that is broader and deeper than any other. Available in both print and online editions, it comprises over 3,900 articles, commissioned by 71 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes.

    UNB has online access to the 2001 edition as well as owning print volumes of the earlier edition.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Blackwell Reference Online
    WARNING: This resource loads slowly and may need a page reload. Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford dictionary of philosophy, The
    "Simon Blackburn offers the most authoritative and up-to-date concise dictionary of philosophy, packed with helpful information for the novice and with astute observations for the expert. Ranging from Aristotle to Zen, the entries cover the entire span of philosophy, from the Vedas to the most recent technical terminology, with ample coverage of important themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy. The dictionary also defines many terms and concepts not normally found in such reference works, including entries for laughter, and the meaning of life, and covers relevant terms from disciplines such as mathematics, physics, biology, artificial intelligence, and linguistics. There are biographies of nearly 500 individuals, with more women appearing than in other philosophical dictionaries. "
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online (REP)
    "Features over 2000 original articles from over 1300 leading international experts across the discipline of philosophy. The articles cover an unparalleled breadth of subject matter, including Anglo-American, ethical and political, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, continental and contemporary philosophy. With a summary providing a rapid orientation at the beginning of every in-depth article."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Reference Universe is a very useful tool for locating the information you need in our Reference sources. Just use the widget below to search for entries on your topic in our Reference collection:


Find Books

The library's default catalogue, UNB WorldCat, provides a quick and easy way to search for print and electronic materials at UNB Libraries. Search results will include books, e-books, DVDs, journals, newspapers, and magazines, as well as content from selected article databases.

Search UNB WorldCat:     

Advanced Search | Locations Guide | Other Catalogues | Help/FAQ


Document Delivery

Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. To search for materials not held by UNB Libraries, search UNB WorldCat, and change the default UNB Libraries to Libraries Worldwide. Once you have identified a title that is not locally held, select the red Request Item button and follow the screens. You can also access the document delivery request form directly.


Find Articles

These databases help you to locate academic journal articles and other publications on your topic. Some databases are discipline-specific (CINAHL is a health sciences database), and others are interdisciplinary (Academic Search Premier and Scopus cover many disciplines). Search results will have links to open available articles in full text through the Library's subscriptions.

  • Academic Search Premier
    see also [TEST QuestLocation TEST QuestCallNum]
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of study."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Scopus
    Scopus, a new multidisciplinary online resource, will be invaluable to students and faculty in various fields of study within the sciences, health sciences and the social sciences. Scopus offers full-text linking, abstracting-and-indexing information and provides access to over 66 million abstracts dating back to 1966.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • CINAHL with Full Text (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature)
    CINAHL with Full Text is the world's most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 500 journals indexed in CINAHL. This authoritative file contains full text for many of the most used journals in the CINAHL index - with no embargo. With full-text coverage dating back to 1981, CINAHL with Full Text is the definitive research tool for all areas of nursing and allied health literature.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)
    "Historical Abstracts is an exceptional resource that covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, history of education, and more ... Provides indexing of more than 1,700 academic historical journals in over 40 languages back to 1955."--Database information page.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    Sociological Abstracts "covers the world's literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behaviorial sciences."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Citing Your Sources

Accurate, properly formatted bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

Find Internet Sites

Most subject guides will include a tab to identify reliable web sites in your subject area. These lists take some of the guess-work out of assessing the results of a general Google search. If you find something that looks useful in a web search, be sure to evaluate it before using it in your research. Some steps to take include:

  1. Check the URL in the address bar. Generally, sites that end in .edu or .org are more reliable than .com, etc.
  2. Triangulate what you find. Are you able to verify the information provided in non-web materials?
  3. Copy and paste a sample of the text into another web search. This is a good way of revealing internet "echo chambers" in which the same (incorrect) information may be repeated in many web sites without anyone evaluating the information. If you find the same 'fact' in many web sites, you cannot assume that it must be true.
  4. Look at the source code of the web site. This may reveal how committed the author is to having the document used and cited by other researchers. If you don't see any metadata describing the site, be wary.
  5. Ask your liaison librarian if you remain uncertain. We are happy to help!

More Information

If you have a question about finding or using library resources, please send me an email. I'd be happy to help.

Subject Specialties:
History, Political Science