If you are not sure where to start your research or if you want some basic background information on your topic, you may want to try a reference resource. Reference resources include books like encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and almanacs. When you can’t come into the library to use the print books, you can access a lot of this information online using the Gale Virtual Reference Library. If you need help finding background information, using Gale Virtual Reference Library, or even coming up with a topic, a Research Coach can help.
You can find a link to the Gale Virtual Reference Library on the Databases, E-books, and Media quick link on the library’s homepage. The databases are listed alphabetically, so scroll down until you see Gale Virtual Reference Library. This will give you the proper access as a Union student or employee (googling the database won’t do that).
Gale Virtual Reference Library has maps, encyclopedic entries of all types (cultural, historical, general, etc.), and dictionary entries. You can narrow your results by type of document, so if you only want maps, you can filter results for just maps. The type of document is also found underneath the results’ title in the search results list.
Another great feature of Gale databases is the reading level filter. Some Gale databases use a Lexile number where the higher the number, the higher the reading level. Others like Gale Virtual Reference Library use colored boxes with dots in them to show the reading levels. An orange box with five dots is geared for high school and above readers, while green with one dot is for early elementary readers. This can be a great way to filter results if you are wanting some simple background information or if you are looking for more technical information. You may also just filter for lower reading levels because you don’t want to go cross-eyed reading a college level text (we’ve all been there 😉). Don’t forget to schedule a Research Coach appointment if you want assistance with research or using Gale Virtual Reference Library; we are more than happy to help.
Academic Search Complete, an EBSCO-hosted database, is a general database that the Union Library subscribes to. We call it a general database because you can find articles from many different subject areas, including sciences, mathematics, and humanities. Since this is an EBSCO database, you will find the search features and look of the site like many other databases. EBSCO allows you to search more than one database at a time. This is a nice feature because it makes your research more efficient.
Academic Search Complete starts you with an advanced search, which means you can use multiple search terms (topics or words to describe your topic). Academic Search Complete lets you filter results using date ranges, document type, location, publication, etc. You will also want to note the filters for full text (which makes sure you pull up full articles) and scholarly peer-reviewed articles (reviewed by an expert in the field). Many professors want peer-reviewed articles, so this filter can save you time and energy when searching.
I often recommend Academic Search Complete due to its simple interface and the numerous filters. Academic Search Complete pulls up results based on relevance; it also highlights your search terms within the record, so you know why that article was included in the results list. I also like being able to search in more than one database at the same time. There are some other great features in Academic Search Complete that a Research Coach would love to show you for improving your own research efforts.
Academic Search Complete is found on many of the research guides, but can also be accessed by going to the Databases, E-Books, and Media quick link on the library’s homepage. The databases are listed alphabetically- scroll until you see Academic Search Complete.
The Atlantic is a popular online magazine that covers the latest news and cultural phenomenons around the world, with a particular focus on the U.S. Some articles of The Atlantic are not accessible to viewers who don’t have a subscription or who have used up their free articles for the month. However, the library provides Union students and employees with access to The Atlantic through the database Gale Popular Magazines.
To access The Atlantic:
- Go to the library website: www.uu.edu/library.
- Click on the “Databases, E-Books, & Media” link under Quick Links.
- Scroll down the alphabetical list until you find Popular Magazines. Click the link.
- Once you are in the Popular Magazines database, click “Publication Search” on the bottom right of the home page.
- Choose the option to “List All Publications.”
- Scroll down the alphabetical list until you see The Atlantic. Click that link, and then you will be able to see articles from The Atlantic by their publication dates.
ERIC, Education Resource Information Center, is an educational database sponsored by the Institute of Education Services and free for anyone to use. ERIC is a go-to database for research related to education including almost 2 million records from the 1960s to the present. You will find reports and articles from non-profit organizations and government agencies, legislative hearings, and education journal articles and books. Please note: ERIC is for educational research, so you will not find lesson plans, textbooks, or book reviews. If you do need those things, check out some of our other databases, or reach out to a Research Coach for assistance.
As a Union employee or student, you can also search the ERIC database using the EBSCO interface. You may want to use the EBSCO version because the search features are similar to other databases you already use, such as Academic Search Complete or APA PsychInfo. The filters (like scholarly peer-reviewed, full text, date ranges, and language) will work in ERIC through EBSCO. However, the ERIC website is also user friendly and has some of the same filters like peer-reviewed and full text. These filters are found under the search bar.
You can access articles directly on the ERIC website. You can also find the link for ERIC on the Databases, E-Books, and Media quick link on the library homepage. The Database list includes access to ERIC and ERIC through EBSCO. Try both methods of access to decide which you prefer. If you access ERIC through EBSCO, you will be prompted to go to ERIC in order to download the full article (follow the prompts for finding full text).
One of the many databases that the Union library has access to is Opposing Viewpoints in Context. This database is provided by Gale, which is part of the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL).
The home page of Opposing Viewpoints in Context gives users a chance to search for information by entering search terms into the search bar. However, users can explore various topics before researching by scrolling down a bit to see many different areas of interest. These areas allow users to see which research is available in an area of interest and explore various topics.
Information comes to users in a variety of sources, which include: academic journals, newspaper and/or magazine articles, reference materials, videos, and others. But what is most unique about this database is that it provides viewpoint essays for users to read that give information about a topic from both sides of the argument.
Students can access Opposing Viewpoints in Context by scrolling down the list of databases found by clicking the “Databases, E-Books, and Media” link on the library’s home page. Students will be prompted to sign in with their Union password and username if accessing the database off campus.
For students who need to find law, business, or news articles, Westlaw Next is a great database with which to start. The library provides access to Westlaw Next through our “Databases” link on the library website. Simply scroll down the alphabetical list of databases to find Westlaw Next, click on the link, and then you can begin searching within Westlaw Next.
What can you access through Westlaw Next? A few of its resources include court cases, state and federal law information, briefs, statutes and court rules, legislative history, and more. Westlaw Next also provides a “Campus Help Guide” pdf on its search page so that you can find help with navigating and searching the database.
For more help finding the databases and articles that you need, call the library at 731.661.5070, or come to our Circulation or Research Desks for in-person assistance.
Gender Studies Collection, provided by Gale, is a database that the library subscribes to. Within the Gender Studies Collection, students can find articles on topics related to gender, family studies, health, feminism, and cultural norms. You can also limit your search to peer-reviewed, full-text articles to make your research easier.
Because Gender Studies Collection is also a Gale database, it has a “Topic Finder” that groups certain subjects together. You can use the Topic Finder to get started on your research and find articles and ideas that are similar to each other. Some of the topics include: Women’s Studies, Gender Equality, Sexuality, Female Identity Feminism, Nationalism, and more.
To access the Gender Studies Collection, or any other database, simply go to the library website. Click on the “Databases” quick link, then scroll down the list of databases until you find Gender Studies Collection. Accessing databases through the library website works much better than trying to Google them.
The Biblical Archaeology Society Library (BAS) is a database that our library subscribes to. Union students and employees can access this database by using the library website (click on the Databases quick link on the home page, and then scroll down the database list to find the BAS Library).
Through the BAS Library, students can explore special collections on King Herod the Great, Biblical Interpretation, Where Jesus Walked, The Birth of Jesus, Dead Sea Scrolls, and more. These special collections include videos, articles, and summaries of each topic. Three different publications are also available through the BAS Library: Biblical Archaeology Review, Bible Review, and Archaeology Odyssey. Readers will find helpful and accessible articles in each of these journals.
If you want to learn more about the Bible, Israeli history, and archaeology, visit the BAS Library.
Not everyone who needs to use library resources is on the main campus. For Union students who commute or attend other campuses, it is important for them to use library resources remotely. In order to use library resources off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Union credentials (guests cannot view library resources when off campus). See the paragraph below for help!
How to log in to library resources from off campus:
The databases, e-journals, and other electronic resources to which the Union University Library subscribes are available for off-campus use by students, faculty, and staff of Union University. In order to be recognized as an authorized user of these resources, you must either:
- be using a Union University computer, OR
- login to the EZProxy system.
If you are not using a Union University computer, EZProxy will automatically detect that and will give you a page from which to log in the first time you try to access a restricted resource. You will log in using your Union University network full email address (firstname.lastname for students, first initial last name for staff and faculty) and password (the same one used to log in to Union University computers). Once logged in, you will remain logged in until you close your browser. If your ID and password do not allow you to log in, contact computing services at 731-661-4357 (Jackson) or 901-759-0029 x126 (Germantown).
*If you are still having trouble using library databases off campus, please contact Stephen Mount at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-661-5419.
Watch Savannah Patterson’s tutorial for more help:
Political science is a constantly updating field, with new world leaders and policies being decided each day. Keep up with the latest news and theories in political science with these library-provided databases.
This collection provides well-rounded coverage of both the current thinking and events in US History, as well as scholarly work being established in the field.
This collection includes content from over 400 journals, covering all aspects of the past and current state of military affairs. Key subjects covered include: socioeconomic effects of war, governmental policies, the structure of armed forces, and many more.
Academic Search Complete is the world’s most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 journals and a total of more than 13,200 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887, with the majority of full text titles in native (searchable) PDF format. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals.
GPO Monthly Catalog
Consists of records published by the GPO since July 1976. Includes references for documents to congressional committee reports and hearings, debates, documents from executive departments and more.
JSTOR is an archival database providing full-text access to back issues of scholarly journals in a variety of disciplines, many dating back to the 1800’s. Union has access to publications within the Arts & Sciences Collections 1-7.