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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

BIOS 090 Fall 2023 How Can We Harness the Oceans to Solve Societal Needs?

Search Techniques

Here are standard search tools. You may find variations between databases in terms of the symbols to use and how they behave when executing a search. Check a database's documentation for details about searching and search examples.

Background Information Sources

Background information sources can: (1) help you understand the main concepts or jargon you encounter in your research; (2) give you a mental map of your topic.

Scroll through the tabs in this box to see various resources related to finding background information.
For additional other ideas, for subjects not related to earth sciences, see the subject library guides for ideas about background information sources, or check with the science librarian. Just as one example., the biology library guide has a resource called "eLS", and encyclopedia of the life sciences. 

Books and Ebooks can be a great source of background information.o discover books and ebooks, go to ASA, the search engine near the top of the library homepage at Simplified version is below.


  • To limit to ebooks, see the filters for ebooks, and also "electronic", on the right of the search results. Print books will have the location in the library indicated. Lehigh uses the Dewey Decimal System.
  • When searching, sort the results by "Date Descending". That way the most recent items will come to the top.
  • Handbooks can be useful. They may contain good articles that provide an overview of your topic. 
  • If there is a book that Lehigh does not have, you can order them from other librariies using PALCI or ILLiad, available here. Start with Palci. You can find books that Lehigh does not own by going to WorldCat, which comes in two flavors.

Watch the video below to learn more about searching in ASA: the online library catalog.

Below on this page is a listing of some government resources. This is not a complete list by any means.

Tips for finding government resources: do a google search on advanced google search. In the interface, you can indicate that you want to search the .gov domain, that is web addresses containing .gov, to find government resources.

Article Databases

See the distinction between scholarly vs. popular, under the Evaluating Sources page.


Put in your search statement (for search tips, see help) and then scroll down and select these options under Publication Type: "Periodical or "Newspaper". (TIP: you might find some scholarly journal articles come up if you use "Periodical". Ignore those; just look for popular magazines and newspapers at this point.) You can bring up journal articles in this database as well but won't need to do so for the exercise at this point.

Sort results by "Date Newest".


You can search for popular articles, specifically magazines and newspaper articles, in this database by putting in your search terms and then scrolling down to  "Source Type" and clicking "Magazines" and "Newspapers".   (You can also search for scholarly articles in this database, but for the exercise just use it for popular articles at this point.)

After running search, sort by "Most Recent First".   


1. Browse the list of newspaper databases here to find one's appropriate for your work in the class. 

2. See the news link near the top in Advanced Google search results.

3. Elsevier: News category

Click here. Click on the magnifying glass at the top to the right of the text "journals and books".  A box will open where you can search by your topic. Run your search. On the left, at  "Article type", click "show more" and scroll down to select news.


View the video below for tips on searching for articles using the article search available from the library homepage. Limit to popular articles.


Below are some databases to help you locate scholarly articles. Some of the databases listed overlap with the ones listed in the other tab, which focuses on popular articles. So some databases are multi-purpose!  Figure out how to limit to *scholarly journal articles* in the first two databases below, which also have popular articles. For help, ask Brian Simboli

If you don't find what you need, you can search for other relevant databases. For example, look at the library guides for economics or political science, which you can find here

With any database, sort by most recent articles.

Remember that a special type of scholarly article consists of "review articles".  In Web of Science, you can run a search and then restrict to review articles on the left of the search results. Annual Reviews consists of just review articles. (Don't mix up "peer review" with "review article": different concepts! The first describes how scholarly articles are usually evaluated, namely by "peers" a.k.a. experts. The second is a special *type* of scholarly article that gives a high level view of the literature.)

To search for scholarly articles, scroll down on the search interface. Under Publication Type, select Academic Journal.

To search for scholarly articles, scroll down on the search interface. Under Source type, select Scholarly Journals.


View the video below for tips on searching for articles using the article search available from the library homepage. Limit to popular articles.

Accessing Full Text

If you are in a database and find an article citation without a link to full text, look for the Lehigh links, as below. Clicking on it brings up a screen (scroll down) from which you can access it or you will be prompted to look it up via ASA to see if it is in print, or you can order it via ILLiad. The information necessary to order it will be appear in the ILLiad screen. You can then order a copy of it. You will receive an email with a link to the article. Lehigh will order a copy of the article from another school, or it will scan a copy of it if Lehigh has a copy. Illiad requires a one time set-up.



Use ILLiad on Interlibrary Loan to request a PDF of an article that isn't available at Lehigh or a scanned PDF of a print article that Lehigh owns. You will get an email when the article is ready for download. Interlibrary loan has two flavors, ILLiad but also Palci. Palci is just for books that Lehigh does not have.

You can find books that Lehigh does not own by going to WorldCat, which comes in two flavors.

If you are reading an article or book and come across a citation for an article and want to find its full text, see this video: