Getting Started

Reference Sources

Reference sources help us gain more context about a subject before we begin our research. These reference sources sources can help you choose a new research topic, or get a better overview of your topic:

Points of View (EBSCO) A full-text database designed to provide students with a series of brief essays that present multiple sides of a current issue.

Credo Reference Search thousands of articles in over 100 different reference titles covering a wide range of topics. A great place to get more context when starting a new research topic.

Britannica Academic Encyclopedia content plus multimedia, timelines, world data analyst, country comparison, and the Britannica blog.

Wikipedia Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.


Choose Your Keywords

Searching academic sources is a different than we are used to with Google or other online search engines. We want to use precise search terms called keywords, to get the best results.
As you read through your first reference articles, watch for and record words you think will be important for your topic. You may consider mapping your terms like in the diagram below:

Search Tips & Strategies

Just the Keywords

When searching the library resources, stick to the keywords you chose while reading your reference sources. We don't want to include extra words or type in full sentences like we're accustomed to with search engines.
Boolean Operators
Use boolean operators to to get more accurate search results. The venn diagram below shows your search results in orange.

Use AND between your keywords to narrow your search .
Use OR between your keyword to broaden your search
Use NOT between your keywords to exclude keywords from your search.
A Venn diagram showing the functionarily  boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.


Put quotation marks around multiple keywords to only return results for that exact phrase.

"Guardians of the Galaxy"
"climate change"
"LeAnne Howe"

Library Catalog & Scholarly Databases

Search the Library Catalog

Primo OneSearch 
Use the library catalog to search for physical books, eBooks, articles, media and more.

Need a source not in the FDLTCC collection? place a resource sharing request


Search the Library Databases

Where to Start?
The Ruth A. Myers Library has a large selection of databases to choose from. Some databases cover a large number of subjects and some are more specialized.
Academic Search Premier and MasterFILE Complete are two databases that cover a wide range of topic; making them a good choice when starting your research.

Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) Provides full text articles from over 4,600 publications, covering a wide range of academic subjects.

MasterFILE Complete (EBSCO Offers the largest collection of popular full-text magazines, reference books and other highly-regarded sources from the world’s leading publishers. Covering virtually every general interest subject area, it also includes an extensive collection of photos, maps and flags.

Next Steps
After searching these databases, trying searching some of the other databases in  the library's A-Z Database List. The library has online databases that cover specialized topics such as science, education and health, as well as  specific resoures such as primary sources, streaming videos, and image databases.


News Sources

Library News Databases

ProQuest U.S. Newsstream U.S. news content as well as archives that stretch back into the 1980s from national and regional news sources including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Newsday, Chicago Tribune and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

New York Times Website Full access to and the NYT mobile app for all current FDLTCC students, staff and faculty. Follow the library’s New York Times Student Guide to create your account.

Wall Street Journal Website Full access to and the WSJ mobile app for current FDLTCC students. Follow the Wall Street Journal Student Guide to create your account.

Physical Newspapers

The library has physical newspaper subscriptions to several local, regional and native news sources accessible in the library.
News sources include:
  • Anishinaabeg Today
  • Bois Forte News
  • Carlton County News
  • The Circle: News from Native American Perspectives
  • Debahjimon: Newspaper of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
  • Duluth News Tribune
  • Hermantown Star
  • Indian Life
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Navajo Times
  • Pine Journal
  • Pine Knot 
  • Voyageur Press
  • Wawatay News

Searching the Web

Getting Better Results with Google

Google Advanced Search Gives you additional options to narrow your search and get more useful web results for academic research.
  • Search by a specific type of website
    • .gov = government sites
    • .edu = academic sites
    • .org = non-profit sites
    • .com = commercial sites
  • use specific keywords to find primary sources
    • speeches
    • images
    • videos
    • interviews
    • memos
    • letters

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search the majority of articles published by major academic publishers and academic repositiories. 
  • Under settings - search for and set your library links to FDLTCC to display when you can get full text access to an article through the FDLTCC library.
  • See how influential an article is by checking how many times it has been cited by other scholars in the field.
  • If full text access is not available, use the double arrow icon to show the GetIt@FDLTCC, which auto-populates an interlibrary loan request for you.

Citing Sources

Library Databases Citation Tool

The library catalog and most of the library databases have built in tools to help you format citations for your works cited/reference page.
After finding an article, look for a "Cite" icon. Choose the whichever you are using (APA, MLA, etc.), then, copy and past the citation into your document. Always double check the format in case there are errors.

Citing Websites and Online Sources

  • Citation Generators. These sites will help you create reference list or works cited entries for your essays. Be sure to choose the correct citation style when you use them.

MLA and APA Style Guides

When using sources for your academic writing, you need to correctly format your paper using either MLA or APA rules. Here’s how: