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Getting Started Guide


Welcome to UNB Libraries!

This guide is designed to lead you through the types of resources that you can find through the Libraries 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 Libraries' web site.

Research process diagram

If you would like to complete a self-paced, comprehensive introduction to UNB Libraries and its resources, please check out the Research Toolkit in D2L Brightspace. It's a free, open course, and available to everyone at UNB. Once you register for the course, you can earn badges for completing sections and a certificate at the end.

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 begin with the 'Reference Materials' 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 'Books' tab to find online and print books at 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 any aspects of your topic.

Once you feel that you understand your research question, use the '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 'Reference Materials' to find a dictionary or encyclopedia that will help you to understand what you're reading.

Research process diagram

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, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to Ask Us.


Reference Materials

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 online and others are in print. 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
    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

  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is a ready-reference book of chemical and physical data. The print copy of CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is the premier source not only of physical properties data but also of mathematical tables, sources of critical data, chemical nomenclature, symbols, and terminology. It has been published since 1913; and is updated and enhanced annually.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • 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.
  • Companion to world philosophies, A
    This title is part of the Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online e-book collection available through the Wiley Online Library.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics
    Covering genetics, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, the focus is on the human and mouse genomes. Other important model eukaryotes, as well as pathogenic bacteria, are treated. Topics include Genetic Variation and Evolution, Epigenetics, The Human Genome, Expression Profiling, Proteome Families, Structural Proteomics, Gene Finding/Gene Structure, and Protein function and annotation.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
    The Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada provides detailed biographies of important figures in Canadian history from the year 1000 to 1930. This free online resource is produced by Library and Archives Canada, in partnership with Universite Laval and the University of Toronto, and reproduces the full contents of the print Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Who's who in the twentieth century
    "From Albert Einstein to the Marx Brothers, this authoritative reference book provides biographies of men and women from different countries and cultures who have contributed to the thought as well as the action of the twentieth century."
    5 simultaneous users.




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

Search UNB WorldCat:
Limit to: 



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.



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 Libraries' subscriptions.

  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Scopus
    Scopus, a 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 including peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, quality web sources.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • CINAHL with Full Text (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature - EBSCO)
    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 (ProQuest)
    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.

For help with different citation styles, connect with UNB's Writing Centres.

Zotero: automatically format references in any style.


Internet Sites

Most Research 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!


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