Finding literature: useful tips & online Library Guides

Are you looking for academic/scientific information for your paper, thesis or dissertation?
This page provides you with tips and links to online Library Guides which will explain how to:

  • search for a specific publication using LibSearch or Google Scholar
  • search for information on a subject using multidisciplinary or specialist databases
  • create a search strategy

Are you searching for a specific publication? Do you know the title and the name of the author
In this case you can search using LibSearch or Google Scholar. In Libsearch you can see in which libraries, either national or international, the publication is available. If you search using Google Scholar you can only see whether VU University Library has the publication or not.

How do I carry out a search with LibSearch?
You can use LibSearch to search in libraries worldwide, or narrow it down to libraries in the Netherlands or even just the VU University Library. If the publication isn’t available in VU University Library but it is available at another library, then you can request this from another library for a charge.

> Read the Libguide LibSearch for more information.

Searching with Google Scholar using a ‘VU LibSearch’ link
If you’re not on campus, then log into VUnet before you start searching with Google Scholar. Once you have logged in to VUnet you have access to all digital publications (journals, databases, e-books) for which VU University Library has a licence. Search using the combination of words in the title and author(s). If VU University Library holds a licence, you will see a ‘VU Libsearch’ link to the right of the search result. Clicking on this will give you access to the full text of the publication. You will also see ‘times cited’ under the article, which indicates how often the publication has been cited.

  • Setting the LibSearch link
    In order to see the VU LibSearch links with your search results in Google Scholar, you first need to adjust your settings in Google Scholar. You can read how to do this in the guide Using Google Scholar with LibSearch (PDF). 

    Reinvention in the innovation process plaatje

> Read the Utrecht University Libguide on Google Scholar 

Are you searching for literature by subject?
In this case use multidisciplinaire citatiedatabases (search systems) such as Scopus or Web of Science or use the subject databases (Psychinfo, Rechtsorde, Pubmed, etc.) for which VU University Library has licences. You’ll find these under E-resources  A-Z.
> Overview of E-resources (databases/search systems)
> Watch the AUAS videos on Smart Searching: in these short videos by Amsterdam UAS Library, students explain the steps involved in a smart information strategy (in Dutch).

Searching with multidisciplinary and subject-specific databases
If you want to search for academic/scientific information (articles, congress reports and reviews) relating to a subject, we advise you to use search systems (bibliographical databases) such as Scopus or Web of Science. These databases also have a citation index, letting you see how often each article has been cited. If you click through you will also see a list of authors who have cited the article, and in which publication. This gives you an insight into the academic rating for the article (number of citations), and it allows you to discover new publications.

> Read Libguide B: Under tab 8 you’ll find more information on searching for literature by specialist field

Searching in the specialist databases
VU University Library also holds licences for a large number of specialist databases. You won’t find the articles if you search using Google (Scholar) and you won’t always find them either if you search using LibSearch. So it’s important to search in the databases themselves. You’ll find an overview of the databases to which VU University Library has access by clicking on ‘Other UB collections’ in the blue bar on the home page. Then click on e-resources, which will display to you a list of sources. Use the filter options on the right of the screen to make selections. Selection options include faculty and specialist field, for instance.

> In the VU Libguide C: General you’ll find the selections already made per specialist field. 

Creating a search strategy
Create a search strategy before you start your search. First formulate a research question and then split this up into search terms.
> In the Libguide B: General and C: General you can find information on how to carry out a smart and systematic literature search.
You can also attend the workshop Smart literature searches for your paper. Architectural History students Marja and Lieke on this workshop: 'Now we can make our own systematic literature search (in Dutch)

workshop marja en lieke2