Using Heartland Library to Find Academic Sources

How the Library Helps

When it comes to academic research papers, college and university libraries are specifically designed to help you find reliable sources with respected research.  Although you will likely still need Google and other off-campus resources to find the best primary sources, your college library will likely have the best Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Sources available for you.

However, libraries can be limited, especially in the Internet Age.  Be sure to also check the Guide to Online Sources.

Start with

Go to the Login button and then enter your Heartland User ID on the next screen.  On campus computers, you may be logged in automatically.

Go to the Library Tab

Once logged in, the Library tab will take you to a page with multiple library resources.  From this tab, you’ll be able to access online databases, the I-Share catalog, and many citation resources.

Use Academic Search Complete

The best starting point for your research is the Academic Search Complete link at the top of the middle column.  Here, Heartland can automatically apply your search terms to all sources available through Heartland.=

Enter Your Search Terms

Use a Variety of Search Terms

Once in Academic Search Complete, you can enter any number of search terms related to your topic.  Please note that you will likely need multiple attempts before your find the right combination of search terms.  A very broad term like “dogs” might provide thousands of sources, whereas extremely specific terms like “canine leukemia in alsatians” might not provide any sources.

Use the “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals” Checkbox

By default, the Heartland database will provide you with all types of sources available.  Sometimes, there will be so many secondary sources (such as newspaper or magazine articles) that the scholarly sources are difficult to find.  By checking the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box, you can ensure that you are seeing only academic sources.

Please note that sometimes, a secondary or primary source will be mistakenly listed among the scholarly sources.  Though rare, you should be aware of this.

Speed Up Your Work with Full Text

If you click the checkbox for “Full Text,” then you will only see results with the full text of the article.  This way, you know you can immediately download these articles for your research.  If, however, you don’t receive enough sources this way, uncheck this box to see more results.  If you find sources that don’t include the full text, you can often find those specific articles through Google.

If the article requires payment to access, please see a Heartland librarian first!  Your librarians can often access these articles for free through additional subscription databases, or the Heartland will cover the cost of access.

Review Your Search Results

After you’ve entered your search terms and narrowed your results, you’ll still need to review the lists of articles that appear.  It is very, very rare that a single search will deliver the exact results you’re looking for — usually, you need to review a couple pages of results to find articles that apply to your specific research topic.  The most important advice is to run a search, scan through the list to see if any of the articles provide information you need, and then refine your search terms until you find what you need.

Also, you can check or uncheck the “Full Text” and “Scholarly” checkboxes to the left of the Search Results.  Checking these boxes will automatically update your results.  Checking the boxes will limit your results — unchecking them will deliver a larger number of results.