It's impossible for the Library to produce a complete and definitive guide to all the sources researchers may turn to when looking for information! Instead, this page gives a tour through the main places you may search and some of the strategies you can use.
The Getting Started section shows you a few techniques that will save you time, such as setting up the Web Cache for off-campus access. Also, when looking for academic publications, it's useful to have a reasonable understanding of bibliometrics, as this will both guide your search and help you evaulate sources. You should also look at your subject area pages for advice on specific databases.
Use the search box in the top-right of this page! Discovery lets you find books, journal articles, conference papers and much more. It searches many of the databases the Library subscribes to at the same time. It has an advantage over Google Scholar becuase you know how it's generating the results, and so your can be more confident in their validity.
Web of Science
The Web of Science allows you to search for journal articles across a wide range of subject areas, including science and technology, social sciences, and arts and humanities. It includes bibliometric measures, and links to more recent articles that have cited a particular article, thus making it easy to explore through related collections of research. Similar to Discovery (above), it also has an advantage over Google Scholar becuase you know how it's generating the results, and so your can be more confident in their validity. For further help, please see the Web of Science library guide and the bibliometrics page.
It's tempting to head straight for Google scholar to find books, journal articles etc. If used carefully, there's often nothing wrong with using Google Scholar. The Google Scholar library guide is useful. Google Scholar searches many of the resources that the Library subscribes to, and often provides links to the full-text article or books. (To do this, you need to click Settings in the top-right of the Google Scholar home page and add the University of Portsmouth).
However, it's important to be aware of its limitations. For example, unlike the Web of Science database (above), you do not know how Google Scholar is generating its search results and so you need to judge the validity of the sources for yourself. The information skills guides are useful for this. Also, while Google Scholar searches some of the resources the Library subscribes to, it doesn't cover them all. So relying on Google Scholar alone could mean you miss out on things.
Additional library resources
See the Information Resources for a complete listing of the databases and resources the Library provides, including online academic books, journals, image databases, historic maps, streamed TV and films and even printed paper books. Or you may like to look at your subject area guide.
Finding information not held by the Library
The University participates in various schemes providing access to other UK Higher Education and National Libraries. It also operates an Interlibrary Loan service. Some further useful links:-
- Copac allows you to search over 70 UK and Irish academic, national and specialist library catalogues.
- Other Libraries
- British Library Catalogues
- SUNCAT - Serials Union Catalogue for the UK
- Ethos - PhD theses online
Keeping up to date
There are many ways of keeping up to date with research in your area. It's important you chose one that suits you and is also used by your research community.
Some popular methods include using Twitter, table of contents alerts (e.g. JournalTOCs and ZETOC Alert), academic social networking (e.g. LinkedIn or ResearchGate), emailing lists (e.g. JISCMail or Catalist), conference alerts (e.g. allconferences), or alert services and saved searches (e.g. under tools in Web of Science, or alerts in Google Scholar).