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HDFS 585 & HDFS 590 - Professional Seminar/Professional Capstone in HDFS

A resource for students in HDFS 585 & 590, and starting their professional careers

Library Research Guide

Where to search

Research is simply seeking additional information about a topic. In our digital age, one of the most accessible places to begin your research is on the internet. However, the internet stores loads of information in many, many different areas and forms.

There are two basic types of search engines:

  1. Comprehensive search engines access a wide variety of information in many different formats.
  2. Focused search engines access specific types of information from specific sources.

Regardless of the type of search engine you use, there may be some restrictions on accessing the information you're searching for. Freely-available information is open and available to anyone who wants it. Restricted information often requires subscriptions or fees to access. Luckily, K-State students, faculty, and staff have access to all of the databases K-State Libraries subscribes to. 

You can view K-State Libraries' Databases by subject using the All Subjects drop-down box at the top. 

How to search

Nearly every search tool operates in the same general way:

  • They contain thousands (or millions) of records. Each record is a description of an information resource (e.g., an article, a book, a newspaper article, a video). Some records also include all of the text in the resource.

  • The search tool allows users to search or browse these records by entering search terms.

  • The search tool attempts to match the terms you enter to terms they find in the recorded information. 

Because databases can't think on their own, it is essential that you do. To pull out as many relevant documents as possible, you will need to vary your search terms and where you look for matches. For instance, you may only look for matching terms in the titles or abstracts of information records or you could search the whole record. 

For more information about how to search effectively, see the tab Search Strategies.

Search Tools

Large Search Tools

Comprehensive search engines provide unfiltered access to a wide range of information. The quality of the information provided may vary widely.

  • GoogleBingYahoo!:  these search free resources
  • Google Scholar: provides links and citations for scholarly resources, however the sources may vary in quality. Most results will not be available unless you have a subscription to the resources.
  • Google Books: allows you to search the full-text of millions of books. Only books in the public domain are able to be read in full, others will be previews.
  • Google News: allows you to search thousands of newspapers and media outlets. Some of the content is available for free, some (especially old content) requires payment.
  • Web of Science and Scopus: These are subscription-based databases available through K-State Libraries. They are large, multi-discipline databases that provide citations and information for millions of scholarly articles as well as information on who has cited the articles. 
  • ProQuest Research Library:  This is a multi-disciplinary, subscription-based database available through K-State Libraries that provides access to millions of full-text journal and magazine articles. 


Focused Search Tools

Focused search engines access specific types of information from specific sources.

  • Academic libraries strive to subscribe to the most important databases for as many subjects as possible. Most, including, K-State Libraries, provide a way to browse for databases by topic.

  • The federal government provides a number of subject specific databases and other searching tools. One good way to find them is to search

Interlibrary Loan

K-State Libraries (at all locations) have access to millions of books, journals, databases, multimedia and other resources, but what we have represents only the smallest fraction of the world's information resources. If we don't have an item that you're looking for, you can request an Interlibrary Loan of the item. This is a great tool to try and it's free to K-State students! 

Scanned items (e.g. articles, book chapters) often arrive within 1-2 days, but it can be a week or longer to borrow physical items. Plan ahead!