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FES 520: Posing Research Questions

Library guide to finding information resources in forest science and related fields.

Selecting Databases: Forest Ecosystems and Society

You can now search across our e-journal collection with "1Search" located in the middle of the library's home page. Also, consider the databases below for more focused subject searches. 

It is tempting to limit yourself to databases that provide a lot of full-text coverage but in doing so, you may miss important references.  The point of databases (which index the content of journals) is to show you what is available.  If the article you need is not available here at OSU, the library will do everything it can to borrow it from another library. Usually, you can expect to receive a scanned copy of an article within a couple hours or days.

Once you have connected to a database, "help" or "search tips" links will answer most of your questions on the mechanics of searching.

Finding Papers from Conferences

Locating a paper delivered at a conference will depend on

  • Whether that conference published a proceedings;
  • Whether those proceedings were widely distributed or published to the web.

 The database WorldCat is probably the best source for finding out if a proceedings from a particular conference has been published. But searching for proceedings can be tricky so it is always okay to ask for help. Searching via Google for the individual paper may also be fruitful if the author posted it to his/her institution's website -- use quotation marks " " around the title of the paper.

If the conference did not have a published proceedings very often you can get the paper from the author directly by writing to him/her. You might also consider that if the person gave the paper one year, a journal article may have been written soon after so doing a search on the author's name may be a productive alternative.

Finding the Earliest literature

Many if not most online databases were preceded by a print index.  Some of these go back one hundred or more years.  While you can do a good deal of retrospective searching using the bibliographies in articles, you should be aware that the library houses many of the classic print indexes for the sciences.  Should you need help locating these, let me know. 

It is also a good idea to look for primary sources in Archives.  For example, the University of Wisconsin Libraries has begun a digital archive for Aldo Leopold , one of their notable faculty members.  This collection will grow over time as more of his private papers are digitized.