Research Help

Ask a Librarian

  • Contact us by e-mail, chat, phone, or in person for assistance with library research or resources. During normal semester hours help is available until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 p.m. on Fridays; otherwise we reply the next business day.

Course Research Guides

Do It Yourself

How do I log in to library resources online?

This page gives step-by-step instructions for logging in to library databases, catalog, and ILLiad (interlibrary loan platform), as well as tips for solving common problems. 

Does the library have any tools to help me brainstorm a topic?

The Mind Map tool (from Credo Reference -- see introductory video) or Topic Finder (from Gale Academic OneFile) can help you find concepts related to your original search term. You can use these to narrow your focus or find related terms to improve your search results.

How do I find an overview of a topic?

Look in Encyclopedias & Reference in our online resources (Credo Reference is a good starting point) for concise, academically credible articles that will help orient you to a topic or field of research. You can also ask a Research Librarian to show you print reference books related to your topic.

How do I find journal articles?

For best results, use Resources for all Subjects to find the best databases for your area of study. (PRO TIP: Some key databases, including ATLA Religion Database, Business Source Elite, and PsycINFO, are NOT included in the "All" tab in the library search box. If you are researching in these subject areas, it's especially important to use the appropriate database.)

To cross-search multiple databases at once, use Discovery (the "All" tab on the library search box) to search for articles and other kinds of documents. You can also try ProQuest Central or one of our other multi-disciplinary databases

How do I find books?

Use the JBU Catalog (the "books" tab on the library search box) to find books in our collection and to find out where they are located in the library. If you're looking for a particular title, Discovery can tell you whether we have it. If we don't have it, Discovery can give you a link to request it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

How do I locate a book that the Library Search says is available at JBU?

If Discovery says "Held by: John Brown University Library," click on the words "John Brown University Library" to get to the holding information and call number for that book. If following the link doesn't work, try searching for the title again directly in the JBU Catalog

If the record in Discovery is for an ebook, journal article, or other electronic resource, look for the button that says "Access Online." If you have trouble accessing materials that appear in our databases, please ask a Librarian for assistance.

Because Discovery is drawing from dozens of different databases that don't always work well with each other, sometimes it get things wrong. We apologize for the frustration when it says we have a resource but doesn't provide a working link or call number. Please let us know when this happens so we can try to get you the materials you need and improve your search experience.

I found the call number, now where do I find the actual book?

First, look at the "Shelf Location" in the library catalog to see which library collection the book is in. The great majority of JBU Library books are in the Main Collection. If a different collection is listed (e.g., Reference, Reserve, Oliver Room, etc.), ask someone at the research help or circulation desk for directions or see our collections list for more information on where to look for your book.

Books in the JBU Library are shelved according to the Library of Congress classification system. For an overview of how to find books following their Library of Congress call numbers, see this video (from University of Arkansas). For books in the main collection, call numbers beginning with A-B are on the first floor; call numbers C-Z are upstairs. Feel free to ask for assistance if you need help locating a particular book in our collection.

How do I find ebooks?

The eBooks tab on the library search box gives easy access to our two largest eBook collections, EBSCO eBooks and ProQuest Ebook Central. For a comprehensive list of eBook collections available through JBU library, see Books under Resources For All Subjects. (PRO TIP: The "All" tab on the library search box gives unreliable results when searching for eBooks in particular. For best results search the eBook collections separately.)

How do I download an ebook?

For details on your options for viewing or downloading ebooks, see here.

How do I find a specific periodical (e.g. The New Yorker or Christian Scholars Review)?

Use Journal Titles search to find out what access (print and electronic) JBU provides for that publication. If we do not have full text access to the journal you need, you can request articles through Interlibrary Loan.

How do I find "academic" or "scholarly" sources?

See this summary for an overview of the distinction between academic and popular works. Consult your instructor or a librarian if you need help evaluating a particular source.

A shortcut for articles: In most of our databases (e.g., Discovery, ProQuest), look for the check box that limits your search to “Peer Reviewed” and/or “Scholarly Journals” to find publications that are generally recognized as scholarly sources.

For books and ebooks, the distinction between a popular publication and a scholarly publication can sometimes be a little fuzzy. Some of the library’s ebook collections (e.g., Springer ebooks) contain scholarly books only, but others (e.g. ProQuest Ebook Central) contain a mix of popular and scholarly publications. Some clues that a book is likely to be considered scholarly include: (1) it has an index and bibliography, (2) its author is identified by her or his academic credentials (e.g., Ph.D., affiliated with a university or research lab), (3) it is published by a university press. 

Does the library have resources to help me prepare for professional qualification or graduate school admission exams?

Yes. Practice tests and other study materials are available through LearningExpress Academic Library Edition for several major tests, including NCLEX, Praxis®, GRE®, LSAT®, MCAT®, and GMAT®. The library also has test prep books available in the reserve, main, and ebook collections, although we do not update these every year so some of them may be dated.

What do I do if this FAQ doesn't answer my question?

Ask a Librarian for personalized advice.

What do I do if I don't even know where to start?

That's OK! Come talk to a librarian, even if you don't know exactly what you're looking for. We'll ask you about your assignment and figure out some strategies to find the information you need.

JBU Library Search

Search for articles and books in over 20 databases. Advanced Search

Tip: Use quotes for an exact match.

Search ProQuest ebrary or EBSCO for electronic books.

Search the JBU library catalog for books.

Search for journals, magazines, and newspapers by title. Results are for full-text availability. Browse by Subject