Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Ask-a-Librarian: Library how-tos

How To... Find HCC Libraries Online on Canvas and search the library catalog

Step 1.

In the course menu for one of your Canvas courses, find and click on "HCC Libraries Online".

Step 2.

Click "Open in New Tab" when prompted.

Step 3.

Search for something in the search bar. It can be a title, author, keyword, or subject. You can use a single word, or a phrase. Hit enter or click the magnifying glass button to search. Tip: put quotation marks around a "title" or exact phrase like "global warming".

Step 4.

Browse the results. They're automatically sorted by relevance. You may need to filter your results, which you can do in the filter menu on the right side of the page. You can select only articles from peer-reviewed journals, sources available online, sources published within a certain date range, and more.

How To... Sign in to the catalog

Step 1.

If you're not automatically signed in from Canvas, click "Sign in".

Step 2.

Click on NetID. If you are signed on to HCC in another tab (like your HawkMail), the catalog will log you in automatically from here.

Step 3.

If you are not already logged in to HCC in another tab, you will have to enter your NetID (your HCC email address) and password here.

How To... Search for books & eBooks

Step 1.

Enter your keywords in the search box of either the library or catalog homepage, and click to search.

Step 2.

Sign in, choosing "NetID", and follow the prompts for your HCC credentials.

Step 3.

In the “Filter your results” section of the page, drop down the Resource Type menu and select Books. Results may include both physical books and eBooks.

  • Depending on your device, the filter menu appears to the left of the results, or when the filter icon at the top is selected.

If you want to view only physical books or eBooks, use the "Availability" filters.

Step 4.

To view eBooks, select “Available online.” Then to access an eBook, click the title. Then choose an option under "View Online."

Step 5.

To view physical books, select “Available On Shelf” or “Held by library” in the Availability filters. Physical books will vary by campus, so you can narrow the books down to your library by clicking on Library in the filters and selecting your campus.

If the book you want is at your library, simply write down or take a picture of the call number.

Example: The book below is in the Circulation section. Find the aisle(s) in the PL range, then narrow down to the 721 range, then alphabetical and numerical again.

Step 6.

If a physical book that you want is at another library and you want it sent to your campus library, you can place a hold on it. Instructions for placing a hold are located here. You can start at step 4.

How To... Search for articles or periodicals

Step 1.

Enter your keywords in the Search box on the library’s homepage or the library’s catalog, and click to search.

Step 2.

Sign in, choosing "NetID", and follow the prompts for your HCC credentials.

Step 3.

In the “Filter your results” section of the page, drop down the Resource Type menu and select Videos. Most, if not all, results will be Available Online.

  • Depending on your device, the filter menu appears to the left of the results, or when the filter icon at the top is selected.

Step 4.

To narrow down or get different results, you may add or change keywords. Make sure before you change your search terms that you tell the search filters to “Remember all filters” so it will remember you only want articles.

Step 5.

You may also filter your results. Helpful filters include Publication Date, Subject, and Peer-reviewed Journals.

Step 6.

Select a title from your search results.

Step 7.

Under "View Online", click on a resource to view the full text.

(If a title had "Available Online" on the search results page, but a "View Online" full text resource does not appear, it is a known error that is being worked on. Unfortunately, we do not own the title in online format.)

How To... Search for newspapers

Step 1.

From the homepage of the library catalog, select the Newspaper Search to begin your search.

Step 2.

Sign in, choosing "NetID", and follow the prompts for your HCC credentials.

Sign-in NetID screenshot

Step 3.

Type in your search phrase to get your results; you can search for an event, person, place, subject, etc.

Step 4.

Narrow down your search results by using the “Filter your results” options on the left side of the page. You can sort by date instead of relevance, narrow down the date range, and select a subject.

Alternately:

Instead of starting from the Newspaper Search on the homepage, you can get to newspaper results from a normal catalog search you’ve already conducted. Simply click on Resource Type, then select Newspapers search.

Step 5.

Once you’ve found a title, select it and click on the full text link below “View Online”.

How To... Open an article or eBook from the catalog

Step 1.

Select a title from your search results.

Step 2.

Under "View Online", click on a resource to view the full text.

(If a title had "Available Online" on the search results page, but a "View Online" full text resource does not appear, it is a known error that is being worked on. Unfortunately, we do not own the title in online format, but it appears in the search results for some reason.)

How To... Get to 'Databases A-Z from Canvas

Step 1.

In the course menu for one of your Canvas courses, find and click on "HCC Libraries Online".

Step 2.

Click "Open in New Tab" when prompted.

Step 3.

Click on "Databases A-Z" at the top of the library catalog​​​ page.

Step 4.

Browse the list of databases for one that suits your needs. The databases are in alphabetical order to easily find a specific one.

Step 5.

You can also narrow the list down by subject or database type by clicking on one of the dropdown menus at the top of the page.

Step 6.

You can also select a database from the list of Popular Databases on the right side of the page.

How To... Search for journals

Step 1.

In the catalog, click on the button “Find a Journal” in the main menu at the top of the page.

Step 2.

In the search box, type in the name of the journal, the ISSN number assigned to the journal, or any keywords you know are in the name of the journal you’re looking for. While you’re typing, much of the time journal suggestions will appear in a dropdown under the search box.

Step 3.

Rather than searching for a specific journal, you can also browse to find a suitable journal. You can browse journals by category on the left side of the Journal Search page. After you’ve opened a category and found a more specific subject that works best for you, results will appear.

Step 4.

When you’ve found the correct journal, or a journal that best suits your needs, click on the title to see the viewing options. Follow the link below “View Online” to open the journal’s webpage.

Step 5.

After opening the journal, you will often have to navigate publication years, volumes, and/or issues. Or if there is a journal-specific search box available, you can search for articles by typing in keywords, title, author, or subject.

Bonus.

If you’ve already been searching in the main library catalog search, you can find a journal related to the search terms and filters you’ve already used. In the “Filter your results” section on the left side of the page, simply click on “Resource Type” and select Journals.

How To... Get citations from the library catalog

Step 1.

After you have found an item in your Primo library catalog search that you have decided to use, click the citation button that looks like a quotation mark.

Step 2.

Make sure the citation style you require is selected on the left side of the popup. You may need to change it from MLA to APA. Once it’s correct, you can click “copy citation to clipboard” to paste it into your Works Cited page or bibliography.

Step 3.

!! Ensure that the citation is correct according to your citation guide. If you don’t have an official guide, you can refer to Purdue OWL, a reliable resource. !!

How To...Place a book on hold in the catalog - and have it sent to your campus

Step 1.

Sign in to the library catalog if prompted. You might already be signed in if you navigated here from Canvas.

Click sign in

Step 2.

Click on NetID. If you are signed on to HCC in another tab, the catalog will log you in automatically from here.

Sign in NetID screenshot

Step 3.

If you are not already logged in to HCC in another tab, you will have to enter your NetID (your HCC email address) and password here.

Sign in NetID screenshot

Step 4.

Select the title you want to put on hold.

Step 5.

Under "Get It", click on "Request".

Step 6.

Select the pickup location (the campus library closest to you or that you frequent the most). Then click "Send Request".

How To... Renew a book yourself

Step 1.

After navigating to the library catalog, click “Sign in” in the top right corner of the screen if you don’t already see your name there.

Step 2.

Click on NetID. If you are signed on to HCC in another tab (like your HawkMail), the catalog will log you in automatically from here.

Sign in NetID screenshot

Step 3.

If you are not already logged in to HCC in another tab, you will have to enter your NetID (your HCC email address) and password here.

Sign in NetID screenshot

Step 4.

Once logged in, click on your name in the top right corner of the page. A drop down menu will appear. Click “My Loans”.

Step 5.

Your account will come up with the Loans page open. You should see a button that says “Renew” next to your item if it’s renewable. Click this to renew.

How To... Search for videos and audio/visual

Step 1.

Enter your keywords in the Search box, and click to search.

Step 2.

Sign in, choosing "NetID", and follow the prompts for your HCC credentials.

Step 3.

In the “Filter your results” section of the page, drop down the Resource Type menu and select Videos. You could also select Images and/or Audio. Most, if not all, results will be Available Online.

  • Depending on your device, the filter menu appears to the left of the results, or when the filter icon at the top is selected.

Step 4.

To narrow down or get different results, you may add or change keywords. Make sure before you change your search terms that you tell the search filters to “Remember all filters” so it will remember you only want videos.

Step 5.

To ensure you’re only seeing videos available online, filter your results to “Available online” under the Availability filter. You can also filter by Publication Date and Subject.

 

How To... Search for reference entries (background info) in the library catalog

Step 1.

Search for something in the search bar. It can be a subject, keyword, title of a work, or author. You can use a single word, or a phrase. Hit enter or click the magnifying glass button to search. Tip: put quotation marks around a "title" or exact phrase like "global warming".

Reference step 1

Step 2.

Sign in, choosing "NetID", and follow the prompts for your HCC credentials.

Sign-in NetID screenshot

Step 3.

In the “Filter your results” section on the left side of the page, click on Resource Type to open different format options for your search results. In this case, click on Reference Entries. If you want only reference entries you can read online, click on the “Available online” option under Availability.

Reference step 2

Step 4.

You should see some results with the words “reference entry” above the title, and the source is usually an encyclopedia of some kind. If the item says it’s available at a library, you can write down the call number and locate it in the library. If it says Available Online, you can click on it to pull up its page.

Reference step 3

Step 5.

Open the title, then under View Online, there should be at least one link for you to follow.

Reference step 4

Bonus: How to find reference databases

Step 1. Click on "Databases A-Z" at the top of the library catalog page.

Click on databases a-z

Step 2: Click on the dropdown menu that says “All Database Types,” then select reference.

Databases narrowed down to reference

How To... Search and use the library's research guides (LibGuides)

Introduction.

The library’s research guides, or “LibGuides”, provide useful information and help for some course assignments, researching, understanding and finding resources, studying, understanding plagiarism, and more.

There are many guides for specific courses, such as ENC 1101 and 1102, First Year Experience, and Public Speaking. The guides provide assistance for research assignments given to you in these courses. Even if a course guide isn’t for your specific class, it can still provide useful help; for example, our guide on “Green Resources” could be useful for an ENC assignment on that topic.

Besides the course guides, there are also more general ones— like a “Website Directory” guide that provides you with all sorts of websites in different categories from government departments to online art galleries. Our “Online Library Orientation” guide provides anything you might need to know about the library and researching. We also have a “Careers and Professional Skills” guide, “Citation Guide”, “Tips on Studying and Reading for College”, and “Countries & Cultures”.

 

Step 1.

From the library’s homepage, click the menu option for “Research Guides (LibGuides)”. Or from the library’s catalog, click the menu option for “Research Guides”.

Step 2.

Once in the LibGuide page, you can narrow them down by subject. Browse guides within departments like Arts & Humanities, Nursing, Political Science, etc. Or try selecting a subject like General, Help!, or Student Success to find other kinds of guides. You can also use the search bar near the top of the page to search for a guide.

Step 3.

Once you’re in a guide, you can use the menu tabs at the top or side of the page to navigate the pages and subpages of the guide. Some larger guides even have complete tables of contents on the homepage. Page tabs that have dropdown arrows in them indicates that there are subpage(s) you can select; do this by hovering over the page to view the subpages. There is also a search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the page that lets you search within the guide.

 

How To... Improve your catalog search

How to get there

From Canvas, find “HCC Libraries Online” in the list menu of one of your courses, and follow that link. Or go to  the library homepage (hccfl.edu/library), and access the catalog from the “Search HCC Libraries with Primo” search bar or sign in link.


Think of keywords and search phrases

Think of a few words or phrases that represent your subject and thesis statement.

Examples:    respiration    global warming    education    Ernest Hemingway

You can leave out small words like articles (“a”, “an”, “the”) and prepositions (“of”, “for”, “at”), unless they’re a part of a title or phrase, like “grapes of wrath”. You can also leave out words like “relationship”, “cause”, “effect”, “comparison”, etc. For example, replace the effect of socioeconomic status on health to the simpler “socioeconomic status” AND health. (You’ll learn about the quotation marks and capital AND below.)

Keep track of your keywords in your notes so you can add more and change your search terms as you go. (Also keep track of the sources you find and where you found them.)


Try using Boolean search methods

AND, OR, and NOT

Using AND connects keywords and narrows down search results. It tells the system it needs to search for items with both one keyword and the other because you need sources that mention both.

Example:    exercise AND health

Using OR searches for multiple keywords and expands the search results. It tells the system it needs to search for items with at least one of the keywords—one keyword or the other, or both—because you need sources with at least one of them.

Example:    physical activity OR exercise

Using NOT eliminates unwanted keywords to narrow your results. It tells the system to ignore the words that aren’t relevant to your search. 

Example:    exercise NOT running

Quotation marks

Use quotation marks to do “phrase searching”. Enclosing phrases, names, and titles in quotation marks ensures that the search engine keeps all the words together in the right order, instead of searching for them as individual keywords.

Examples:     “global warming”    “mental health”    “feast or famine”

Parentheses

Using parentheses is a great way to keep your search organized, and your Boolean operators separated.

Example:    (exercise OR “physical activity” OR workout) AND (health OR wellness)

Wildcards

The asterisk (*)

You can shorten, or “truncate”, your keyword and add an asterisk (*) at the end of the root word. This finds multiple letters at the end of (or within) a word, so it can search for alternate endings of a root word.

Example:    expen* searches for expense, expensive, expenditure, expend, etc.
                     arch*logy searches for archeology and archaeology

The question mark (?)

You can replace a single letter in your keyword with a question mark to tell the search to find multiple versions of that word.

Example:    wom?n searches for woman and women


Or use the Advanced Search

The Advanced Search has Boolean options already ready to use in boxes that you can fill out. You can use a different keyword/phrase on each line, and tell it whether you want it to be AND, OR, or NOT. You can also narrow down the field of the word/phrase (title, author, subject, etc.) and whether you want the results to contain your word/phrase or start with it. The Advanced Search also has some of the search limiters available in the search results, like material type, language, and publication range.


Limit your search results

When your search results appear, you can narrow your search by selecting filters that specify what you’re looking for. You can select only things that are available online, things available on the shelf, or only peer-reviewed journals. You can select the library a physical item is held at, the resource type (material type, like article or book), or the publication range. You can also narrow down the subject or genre.


Try using new keywords and different wording

To find more results, think of other topics or areas related to your research. For example, if your topic is higher education, you might also try searching for things like college, university, professor, or graduate school.

Find more search terms by thinking of synonyms or similar terms. If your topic and key phrase is climate change, try other keywords like global warming, greenhouse gas, pollution, or carbon emissions. You can use a thesaurus to find synonyms.

How To... Improve your database search

Choose a database

From the library homepage or the library catalog, select the “Databases A-Z” link to go to the databases page. More frequently used databases are listed on the right side of the page, or you can narrow down by subject by clicking on the “All Subjects” dropdown menu. You may have to browse the databases to see which has the best search experience and results for you. Flip for a list of recommended databases.


Think of keywords and search phrases

Think of a few words or phrases that represent your subject and thesis statement.

Examples:    respiration    global warming    education    Ernest Hemingway

You can leave out small words like articles (“a”, “an”, “the”) and prepositions (“of”, “for”, “at”), unless they’re a part of a title or phrase, like “grapes of wrath”. You can also leave out words like “relationship”, “cause”, “effect”, “comparison”, etc. For example, replace the effect of socioeconomic status on health to the simpler “socioeconomic status” AND health.

Keep track of your keywords in your notes so you can add more and change your search terms as you go. (Also keep track of the sources you find and where you found them.)


Try using Boolean search methods

Not all databases use Boolean search methods, but most do. If the methods below do not work, try using other search options provided by the database, like Advanced Search.

AND, OR, and NOT

Using AND connects keywords and narrows down search results. It tells the system it needs to search for items with both one keyword and the other because you need sources that mention both.

Example:    exercise AND health

Using OR searches for multiple keywords and expands the search results. It tells the system it needs to search for items with at least one of the keywords—one keyword or the other, or both—because you need sources with at least one of them.

Example:    physical activity OR exercise

Using NOT eliminates unwanted keywords to narrow your results. It tells the system to ignore the words that aren’t relevant to your search.

Example:    exercise NOT running

Quotation marks

Use quotation marks to do “phrase searching”. Enclosing phrases, names, and titles in quotation marks ensures that the search engine keeps all the words together in the right order, instead of searching for them as individual keywords.

Examples:     “global warming”    “mental health”    “feast or famine”

Parentheses

Using parentheses is a great way to keep your search organized, and your Boolean operators separated.

Example:    (exercise OR “physical activity” OR workout) AND (health OR wellness)

Wildcards

The asterisk (*)

You can shorten, or “truncate”, your keyword and add an asterisk (*) at the end of the root word. This finds multiple letters at the end of (or within) a word, so it can search for alternate endings of a root word.

Example:    expen* searches for expense, expensive, expenditure, expend, etc.
                     arch*logy searches for archeology and archaeology

The question mark (?)

You can replace a single letter in your keyword with a question mark to tell the search to find multiple versions of that word.

Example:    wom?n searches for woman and women


Or use the advanced search

The Advanced Search of most research databases have Boolean options already ready in boxes that you can fill out. You can use a different keyword/phrase on each line, and tell it whether you want it to be AND, OR, or NOT. You can also narrow down the line’s field by keyword, title, author, etc.

The Advanced Search also often has other search limiters available to check off or fill out, like full text, peer-reviewed, document type, publication date, and/or subject.


Browse

Unlike most library catalogs, some research databases have a feature to browse through subjects and then materials. Infobase and some Gale databases let you browse general subjects or issues to find a narrower topic that has its own profile page with sources (reference entries, articles, news, videos, etc.) ready for you to use.


Tips

  • Keep track of your sources and where you found them.
  • Try using new, different keywords. (Ex: climate change → greenhouse gas, global warming, or carbon emissions)
  • Use a thesaurus to find keyword synonyms.
  • Article introductions and backgrounds are a great source for keywords.
  • The references at the end of a good article can lead to more sources.

Popular Databases

General

  • Academic OneFile
  • Academic Search Complete

Arts & Humanities

  • Artstor/JSTOR
  • Humanities Source
  • Oxford Art/Music Online

Business

  • Business Insights: Essentials
  • DemographicsNow
  • Entrepreneurship (Gale)

Careers

  • Careers (Salem)
  • Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center

Pro/Con or Topical Issues

  • Issues & Controversies
  • Opposing Viewpoints

Health Sciences

  • Cochrane Library
  • Health & Wellness (Gale)
  • Health (Salem)
  • Health Reference Series Online

History

  • History (Salem)
  • History Reference Center (EBSCO)
  • U.S. History (Gale)
  • World History (Gale)

Reference

  • Britannica Academic
  • Oxford Reference Online
  • Very Short Introductions

Literature

  • Bloom’s Literature
  • Literature (Gale)
  • Literature (Salem)

Sciences

  • Applied Science & Technology Source
  • Science (Gale)
  • Science (Salem)

Video & Streaming

  • Academic Video Online
  • Films on Demand