emily.mackenzie [at] mcgill.ca (Email)• 514-398-7876
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Finding Background Information
Encyclopedias, Handbooks and Dictionaries
Try a library subject guide for recommendations of background sources (such as encyclopedias and dictionaries) on your topic.
Contain authoritative information on a variety of topics in short or lengthy articles. Types include general encyclopedias which cover all topics, and specialised/subject encyclopedias, which focus on a particular subject area or discipline, such as:
- Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia
- Encyclopedia of Ecology
- Encyclopedia of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Concise information manuals on a specific subject written primarily for practitioners and serving for quick reference treatment. Examples:
Define the terms of a language, profession, discipline, or specialised subject area/discipline. Examples:
The best place to look for books on your topic is the Library Catalogue, called McGill WorldCat
Ebooks are also listed in the Library Catalogue (McGill WorldCat), or they may be searched by individual collection/provider, for example:
- CRCnetBASE: Allows access to full text to handbooks, references, and monographs published by CRC Press. Can search content or browse the Agriculture and Life Science categories.
- ScienceDirect: Provides coverage of chapters of books in the agricultural, biological and environmental sciences.
- SpringerLink : Access to over 15,500 book titles. Extensive coverage of Animal Science and related topics under the Biomedical and Life Sciences subject category. Includes journal articles as well, but can limit to books in the Advanced Search.
To see more ebook collections/providers available, please see the ebooks & media website
The best place to look for scholarly articles on your topic is an Article Database:
Recommended multidisciplinary article databases:
- Scopus (**demonstrated in class)
A multidisciplinary database capable of backward and forward ciation linking and includes citation counts.
- Web of Science 1900 to the present
Covers a range scientific & technical disciplines, such as biology, agiculture, chemistry, environmental science, biotechnology, physics and veterinary science. Includes citation analysis tools.
Recommended subject-specific article databases:
- BIOSIS Previews (**demonstrated in class): 1969 to the present. Comprehensive coverage of published biological and biomedical research (including botany, zoology and microbiology, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, environmental studies, and agriculture.
- Agricola: 1970 to present. Indexes more than 2,000 titles (serials, books, pamphlets, conference proceedings, research reports, government documents, monographs, theses, patents, software, audiovisual content, and microforms pertaining to all aspects of agriculture.
- Biological and Agricultural Index Plus: 1983 to present. Provides access to the core literature of biology and agriculture, including animal science.
- CAB Abstracts: 1973 to the present. Compiled by CAB INTERNATIONAL; covers the fields of agriculture, forestry, aspects of human health, human nutrition, animal health, and the management and conservation of natural resources.
- PubMed: 1950 to present. PubMed provides access to MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database covering medicine, including veterinary medicine, and the life sciences.
- Zoological Record: 1978 to 2012. Records cover every aspect of zoology, including biochemistry, behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, etc. Access is provided by author, taxon name, subject, geographical or paleontological terms.
|Boolean operator||AND||e.g. insect AND migration: will retrieve articles containing both words; this will decrease your search results|
|Boolean operator||OR||e.g. migration OR dispersal: will retrieve articles containing either (or both) words migration OR dispersal, this will increase your search results|
|Parentheses||(...)||e.g. insect AND (migration OR dispersal): will retrieve articles with insect AND migration or articles with insect AND dispersal|
|Phrase searching||“___”||e.g. "global warming": will retrieve articles containing the phrase global warming|
|Truncation||*/?||e.g. dispers*: will retrieve articles containing the words disperse, disperses, dispersing, dispersal, etc.|