College English

AENG 180; Prof. J. Hoch

Guide for finding sources at the George T. Potter Library


October 19, 2006

Susan B. Kurzmann


I. Library Homepage:

  • Provides access to the catalog (OPAC), databases, interlibrary loan forms, etc.
  • Library Research in a Nutshell  Brief guide to beginning your research

II. Finding Books at the Potter Library College

  • Use the Catalog to find books, periodical titles (NOT articles ), government documents, reserve items, music,and movies owned by the Library. You may limit a search by language, year(s) of publication, type of material, etc. This may take a few seconds to load.
  • Use the Basic Search to find material using Keywords
    • For example: search for DDT to locate a broad range of materials the library has on these keywords
    • Use quotation marks around a multi-word phrase so that the catalog system will treat it as a single word, for example DDT and "environmental aspects"
    • Results will be ranked by relevance; you may then re-sort them by title, author, publish [=publication] date, or publish date descending
    • When you find an appropriate title, click on the Related Records tab located at the top of a catalog record to see which Library of Congress subject headings are discussed in that particular book/DVD/periodical to get to more titles that deal with that subject
  • Search the catalog using Subject Browse feature if you know the relevant Library of Congress subject heading, for example:
    • DDT (Pesticide)
    • Pesticides--Government Policy


  • Search the catalog using the Advanced Search option.
    • The Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) are built into the screen, and they enable you to narrow or widen the focus of your search:
      1. AND: you are commanding the system to search for material that addresses both terms you've entered
      2. OR: you are commanding the system to search for material on either of the search terms you have entered
      3. NOT: you are commanding the system to search for material on the first term you have entered and to exclude any material on the second term you have entered .
    1. Start with broad searches. It is much easier to discard too much rather than start with too little.
    2. If you don't know the Subject Heading, use the Related Records tab located on the top of a catalog record to get to the headings. This will help you focus in on more relevant material.
    3. Can "virtually" browse the shelves by clicking on the call number in a record.

III. Reference Material

  • The reference stacks are located on the 3rd floor (this is also the library's entrance).
  • Useful reference materials for your projects:
    Contemporary Issues Ref H31.C7 xxx
    Contemporary World Issues Ref H31.C76 xxx
    Current Controversies Ref H31.C97 xxx
    Opposing Viewpoints Ref H31.O62 xxx

IV. Find Articles in Databases (Electronic Resources)

Some useful Databases for your projects:

Begin with a general database:

Academic Search Premier

A multi-disciplinary database containing both full-text articles and citations.

NOTE: When only a citation is included, click on the Check availability at Ramapo link to see if the full text of the article is available in our collection.

Continue with a subject-specific database, for example:  

For health issues, see:



Health Management Journals


For environmental issues, see:

Biological Sciences (JSTOR)

Nature Journals Online


For general news, see:

LexisNexis Academic

Full-text coverage of news, business, and legal coverage.

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed/Refereed articles have been reviewed by a selected panel of experts in the discipline covered by that journal. Many of the databases allow you to limit your search to these articles.


  1. Use the Advanced Search page in a database. This will give you more control over your results
  2. Use quotation marks when running a search
  3. Always check your spelling if the database results are zero
  4. Use the Subject Terms or Thesaurus link if available to find the best terms to use in a particular database

V. Journal Finder / Interlibrary Loan

  • Journal Finder: this provides information about where to find the full text of articles when available in the George T. Potter Library in print, microform, or through a full-text database. This feature also appears in many of our databases.
  • Interlibrary Loan: allows you to borrow a book or article that the George T. Potter library does not own. There is a link from the Journal Finder screen.

Both of these links can be found under QUICK LINKS on the library's homepage.


VI. Internet Searching and Websites:


  • For Internet searching, use the library's link to Evaluating Websites t o determine if the site is authoritative enough to use in your paper

American Experience and many other PBS programs are good sources of information

VII. Bibliographies

Need more help? Visit or call the Reference Desk: 201.684.7574

Use QandA NJ: a 24/7 virtual chat with a reference librarian.