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URM 2010: Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences: Research Tools & Strategies

Hawaii- and Pacific-related library resources in biological sciences.

Hawaiʻi Voyager Search

Check for more books in the library by searching here.

Other Databases

Mouse over title for database description.

Note: This is only a small subset of all the databases available to UH-Mānoa students & faculty/staff. To browse through a more complete listing of Science & Technology related databases, click here. While some of the databases listed below provide full-text of articles online, others will only give you abstracts of article contents. For abstracted articles, you will need to find the articles either within one of our full-text databases, or in print form. To view a short video on how to find full-text articles, click here.

Other Tools & Sites of Interest

Mouse over title for information.

Some General Notes

  • The Hawaiian & Pacific Collections are "closed shelf" collections, meaning that you cannot wander through the stacks and pull books off the shelf as you see them. Instead, you need to search for them within the Voyager online catalog and request them using "Get This Item." (For instructions on requesting materials from our collections, click here). Once items have been requested they will be available for pick-up at our fifth floor circulation counter in roughly 10 minutes.
  • Don't wait until the last minute do to your research! Our hours are different from the rest of the library (During the summer, we are open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; during the regular school year). Some of our materials can only be used in the library. (For more on our circulation policies, click here.) It's therefore important to budget your time wisely when working on projects. Whenever possible, try to do your Voyager searches and requests before you come to the library, so that your materials will be waiting for you when you arrive. Find out which materials can only be used in the library -- you might want to photocopy or scan portions of these texts to take with you. (The Hawaiian & Pacific Collections have two photocopy machines and one scanner; photocopies are 9 cents per page with a copy card or 10 cents per page without one; scanning is free.)

Basic Research Checklist

1. Voyager

  • Voyager should be your first stop whenever beginning a new research project. It holds the record for every item (books, journals, newspapers, microfilms, videos, audio recordings, manuscript collections and etc.) in every library in the UH system, from Hilo to Kauaʻi. Generally speaking, Voyager allows you to search for materials by title, author, publisher and subject. It does NOT generally allow you to search for the titles of articles within journals or the titles / authors of chapters within books (there are other strategies for these kinds of searches ... see below). There are occasional exceptions to this rule -- some book contents are listed in Voyager records; some journal articles have been cataloged separately in Voyager by title -- but as a rule of thumb when starting your research, assume that you are going to be searching for title, author or subject.
  • Before you start searching, it's a good idea to log into the Voyager system, which you can do by clicking on the "Login to your account" link in the upper right hand of the Voyager search screen. This will not only save you a step when you begin requesting books, but also allows you to save your search results for future reference -- very useful when it comes time to cite your references in a paper. Use the "Add to My List" button to save search results, which will then appear when you click the "My List" tab at the top of any Voyager screen.
  • The simplest way to begin searching is via a keyword search. In the "Basic" mode, simply type some words that you think might describe your needs (for instance, Palau reef ecosystems) and hit search. This will give you a broad sampling of materials, some of which should be related to your topic. When you find something that is of interest, look at the "Subjects" field -- you can click on these links to find other materials that are on the same topic.

2. Google Scholar

  • As mentioned above, Voyager searches for the titles of journals, but it does not generally search for titles of articles within journals. As a preliminary research tool, Google Scholar can be a useful means of searching inside scholarly journals, as it searches across the full-text of a wide array of journals. In essence, it is a quick means of establishing an initial "lay of the land" in terms of seeing what sorts of articles may have been published on a given topic. It is also a good tool of last resort if you are outside the university system and don't have access to the paid databases listed at left. It should not, however, be used to replace searches within various databases listed in the "Other Databases" box at left -- Google searches are often "messy," meaning you will get a lot of material that is not on your topic, and in the process may also miss important publications that you will otherwise find using the more precise database searches.
  • Although you can reach Google Scholar on the open internet, it is best to log in through the library's electronic resources portal (use the link above) -- this is because the library's version of Google Scholar automatically recognizes articles that the library has paid for through its database subscriptions, and so you can immediately get the articles for free in full text. If you were to find the same articles using the open Internet version, you would be required to pay for access to the articles.
  • Keep an eye on the "cited by" information that appears below each article title. This can be useful for tracking how research is being picked up and used by others (clicking on the link will bring up all titles that cite the original article).
  • If you find an article in Google Scholar that the library doesn't subscribe to electronically, be sure to search in the Voyager catalog to see if we subscribe to the print version. For more information on finding articles in the library that are NOT available online, click here to view the short video "Accessing Full Text.")

3. Google Books

  • Google Books can also at times be a useful tool for searching within the contents of books: It searches the full text of books that have been scanned by Google. If a book is out of copyright or if Google has made arrangements with a copyrighted book's publisher, you will often be able to look at full-text on screen. In other cases, you will be able to see a small "snippet" of the text.
  • When full text is not available online (or even if it is, but you prefer to read the printed version), keep in mind that virtually all of the books you find on Google Books will be available in print in the UH library. So you can also use Google Books as a supplement to our Voyager catalog: Search the contents of the books using Google, then search Voyager for the title.