Conducting a Comprehensive Search
Knowing how to conduct a comprehensive search for materials can be a challenging task. It can be difficult to know whether the terms you have identified are actually used to describe your subject in the literature, and you may not be sure where to start your search. This tutorial provides a set of strategies that can assist with this process.
Choosing a Search Tool
If you are looking for books on your subject, start by searching AUCAT, AU Library’s catalogue. This search tool provides access to books, e-books, audiovisual materials and a host of other resources.
Once you have explored our local catalogue, you may also find it useful to search WorldCat, which is a comprehensive catalogue of books and other materials catalogued by OCLC member libraries. This resource can assist you in locating additional titles that are related to your topic. WorldCat can be found on the Databases page.
If you are looking for journal articles, you will find the journal databases listed on AU Library’s website has broken into subject categories to help you find relevant databases. You may wish to start your search in one of the databases listed as providing full text, so that you can get a sense of the content of the articles immediately.
If you have a list of potential journals to search for your topic, you can find out where the full text of these journals is found by using the AU Journal Title List. A search of the journal title list by journal name will provide you with direct links to databases that contain the journal you have specified. To learn how to search the journal title list, view the tutorial.
The journal title list can also be used to identify the best databases to search for your particular subject. For example, you can search for journal names that contain a particular phrase, using the “Title Contains All Words” option. You can also browse the journals indexed by this resource by subject. Keep in mind that the first list of subjects provided by the resource is quite broad, e.g. business and economics, but this subject can be broken down into narrower, more specific subjects.
The AUCAT Tutorial can help you learn how to search the catalogue, and will teach you about some of the features available to you.
The databases listed on AU Library's website are a mixture of both subscription and freely available databases, and many of the databases provide full text articles.
The databases that are subscription are identified with this icon: