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How To Search the Library Collections

A guide to basic research skills, and how to access the Library Collections at CityU

Find Related Content

Find Related Content 

One of the biggest benefits of searching in the library is the interconnected nature of our collection. When approaching a topic from a place of inquiry, it is important to see how the literature connects and our databases make it easy to navigate that web of knowledge. Below you will find a list of simple strategies you can use to jump between related articles, subjects, authors, or publications. 

Search Strategies

Most of us know that when searching in the library databases it is important to use keywords. Examining the keywords and subject terms assigned to an article you have in hand may also assist you with locating similar or related sources. You can normally find these on the abstract or details page. Some databases, like those hosted on the EBSCOhost or ProQuest platforms, will even hyperlink these terms, making it easy to start a new searching using these terms. Here is an example from a ProQuest database: 

an example of a ProQuest details page with subject terms highlighted


















You can click through to start new search with that term or, alternatively, you can record these assigned terms somewhere and then use them to conduct new searches in different databases. 

One tried and true strategy for finding related content is to thoroughly examine the reference list of the article in hand to identify the sources used by the author(s). References are found at the end of a document or, in some databases, can be found in a separate tab. 

Keep in mind that the sources included in the bibliography will be older, so you are moving backwards in time. However, there may be seminal works or key authors on that topic which you will not want to overlook. It will also give you a better understanding of the body of work on which the author(s) built their research. 

If a title listed in your article’s reference list looks particularly promising, you may want to search for this new article in the library collection: Find a Known Item.  Additionally, a number of databases provide a hyperlinked reference list which you can follow to the full-text item. Here is an example in a ProQuest database: 

an example of a ProQuest article's reference page

Like the previous strategy, “Cited by” refers to finding the articles that have cited your article (aka. using the article you have in hand as a reference). This is a great strategy, as unlike the previous search method, you are moving forward in time. A number of our databases, as well as Google Scholar, have “Cited by” or “Times Cited” hyperlinks that allow you to explore the items that have used your article as a reference. Here is an example of what that looks like in Google Scholar: 

an example of a Google Scholar search with "Cited By" highlighted

You can find an overview of the “Cited by” tool in ProQuest and EBSCO databases in the below video:

Many databases have gone one step further by automating the process to locate similar or related research. This feature is typically distinguished by a link to "find similar results," "related articles,” “recommended articles,” "find more like this," or “articles with similar references.” Click on these links to pull up results that may be similar to your original article. Here is an example of this tool in EBSCO: 

an example from the EBSCO database with "Similar Results" highlighted


Content on this page adapted from NCU Library.