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Biology Information Literacy Part I: Resources & the Library: Getting Started

Biolabs Information Literacy Guide

Photograph of Science and Technology Reference Desk.Welcome to the Biology Laboratories Information Literacy Guide!  This LibGuide is a portal to information resources to assist you throughout your career as a Biology student and beyond.

Navigate through the tabs to locate specific information and please contact the library if you have any questions.

Database vocabulary


A database "record" is a collection of information about an item that forms a unit. An example is a OneSearch Manoa record that contains information about a book, including the title, author, pages, subject, location, year.

Boolean searching

Used to combine sets.

  • X AND Y retrieves records that only contain both X and Y
  • X OR Y retrieves all of the records that contain X and all of the records that contain Y

Boolean Searching Illustration

Phrase searching

You can often enclose a phrase in " " to have the search keep words together; for example, "green turtle" will search for green turtles, not for all of the records that have "green" in the record and "turtle" in the record. Phrase searching can help retrieve more relevant records.

Library vocabulary


a) The desk where you can check out books,

b) the amount of time that you can check out an item. Undergraduates can borrow for 28 days and renew five times. (circulation policy)

Reference collection

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, data charts that you may want to scan a few pages of; these cannot be checked out. Science reference materials are located within the General Reference Collection on the 1st floor of the library (map).

Reference librarian

A reference librarian exists to help you find library resources. Each subject area has a reference librarian assigned to it.

Student library assistant

The library employs undergraduate and graduate students to work at the circulation and reference desks, to shelve books and journals, and to digitize materials.


The stacks, or bookshelves, for Science are on the first to fourth floors of the Addition (Oceanography, however, is on the second floor of the Main part). Most of the books can be checked out; journal volumes are generally not checked out but must stay in the library.


Items with the Folio location are oversized. They may be books or journal volumes. Folio sized items are on the second floor of the Main part of Hamilton in a section designated "Folio."

Need More Help?

Sci/Tech Librarians Email: