Michigan State University

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How Do I...? FAQ about using the Electronic Library Resources


Find articles on a specific topic in magazines or journals

Use the Index and Abstract list - Indexes allow you to search the content of scholarly journals, magazines and other materials. Most include summary abstracts describing article content, and some provide the full text of articles. Many cover specific disciplines or areas of study; while others are general or cross-disciplinary. Consult reference services for recommendations on which index service to use.

Look up a journal (or other periodical) to see if MSU subscribes

Start with library catalog - Library catalog lists all MSU subscriptions with locations and links. Search the name of the publication using the Title search function or search by ISBN/ISSN. Electronic availability can also be checked using the Journals or Newspaper Resources listings under Electronic Resources.

See if a specific periodical is available online

To check for electronic availability use the Journals or Newspaper Resources listings under Electronic Resources.

Find newspaper articles

Use Newspaper Resources - Newspaper Resources provide access to collections of online newspapers, as well as selected individual titles within those collections. Newspaper Resources are arranged alphabetically by title. Find a more complete newspaper titles in the A-Z Title List of Electronic Journals.

Find if MSU owns a specific book (in paper or online)

Use library catalog - Library catalog is a search tool that lists the Libraries' collections in many ways including by keyword, author, title, and ISBN/ISSN. It includes books, journals (periodicals), materials on reserve by course or by instructor, and much more.

Find "primary sources" to use for a research paper

Use Primary Sources list - Primary Sources are recorded or written down at the time of the event, while secondary sources are recorded later. Examples include diaries and letters (primary) as opposed to memoirs and autobiographies (secondary); or newspaper accounts (primary) as opposed to formal histories (secondary). The Primary Sources list provides access to available electronic versions of manuscripts, letters, diaries, newspapers, photographs, artifacts, literature, and maps. Also included are some categories of government information. Search by subject, or alphabetically by title. Library catalog provides access to other formats of similar documents. Use a Keyword search and include words like letters or diaries.

Find numeric data and statistics

Use Data and Statistics list - Data and Statistics consist of numeric information. This can be either social and economic data sets that can be analyzed using statistical software applications, or statistical tables that are a collection of numerical facts.

Find a guide to information sources for my discipline

Use Research Guides - Research guides are tools posted by MSU Librarians that provide lists of resources and search strategies for finding information on broad subjects.

Find an online dictionary or directory

Use Online Reference Tools (Fast Facts) - This is a site that includes many tools for quick lookups. Categories include: abbreviations & acronyms, almanacs & encyclopedias, atlases, biographies, calendars & time of day, country information, currency converters, dictionaries & thesauri, dictionaries: foreign language, dictionaries: scientific & medical, footnoting and bibliographies, footnoting and internet sources, periodic table, state information, statistics, tax forms, telephone & address directories, weather, weights and measures, ZIP codes.

Find what electronic resources have been added recently

Use New Resources- New Resources provide a list of the Electronic Resources that have been added in the last 60 days.

Find what other electronic resources are being considered

The MSU Libraries are considering buying subscriptions to these resources. We have temporary access to them to evaluate their utility and content. Use Trial Resources.

Find a high quality Web sites in my area

Use Texts & Web Links list - Texts and Links refer to various electronic resources, including online books, useful websites, searchable databases dealing with specific topics, and unique digital collections available through the MSU Libraries.

Use Electronic Resources from off-campus

In order to use the MSU Library's Electronic Resources from off campus, you need to use Library-provided links that include the proxy server. For details see Off Campus Access instructions.