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Getting Started

This guide will assist you to learn more about the facilities of Deakin University Library and help with finding sources for your assignments.

1. Beginning your search

Beginning your search

Search terms and keywords

It is important to understand your assignment topic and define the words that describe it. These are called keywords.

Online tutorials are available for more information on determining your key concepts (Flash) and identifying search terms (Flash).Identifying Search Terms (video tutorial, 1 minute 55 seconds)

Know the information sources

Often we suggest starting with general information and an overview of the topic from encyclopedias and books before exploring more detailed and specific information in journals and reports.

To help you understand your sources better, use these tutorials to:

Searching effectively

You need to search effectively to find the best information for your assignment. Tutorials to assist you with this process are:

Evaluating resources

The following two minute video on evaluating information sources provides helpful tips on evaluating and assessing the information you find.Evaluating information sources (video tutorial, 2 minutes 13 seconds)

* Please note To view the Flash tutorials you must have Flash enabled. To view on Apple devices, a web browser app with Flash capabilities is required (e.g. Photon).

2. Finding books and e-books

Finding books and e-books

When searching for books there are two main approaches:

  • when you know the title
  • when you want a book about a topic or specific keywords.

Finding books when you know the title

If you have a specific reference, or citation, to a book or book chapter, you can search for it on the Library website by using Library Search .

Understanding a book chapter reference or citation

Torres, J 2013, 'Label us angry' in Andersen, ML & PH Collins (eds), Race, class and gender: an anthology , 8th edn, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Belmont, California, pp. 34-36.


Once you've identified the book title, key it into the search box and click 'Search'.

If the title is held by the Library, it will appear in the list of results (depending how common the title is, it might not appear as the first result). If your title isn't listed in the results, see your options for finding the book under the borrowing material tab.

Once you have found the title and edition you require, check to see which campus(es) the title is available from, and if it is available as an e-book.

To access the item, read the sections on 'Finding books on the shelf' or 'Viewing e-books' below.

Finding books using keywords

To search for books on a subject area or topic, type some keywords that describe your topic into the search bar, then click 'Search'.

Once you have your results, use the options on the left side of the screen to limit your search to a particular format.

In this case we want books, so scroll down to the 'Source types' section, and select 'Show More'.

Now tick the boxes for 'Books' and 'eBooks' and update your results.

Finding books on shelves

Books are arranged on the shelves by call numbers which consist of the Dewey Classification Number (which is subject based) and then by the author's last name and title.

The call number for this book is 303.385 And/Rca 2013

  • 303.385 - This is the number given to items covering this subject area
  • And - These letters are the first three letters of the first author's surname (Margaret L. Anderson)
  • Rca - These letters are associated with the title - they are the first letters of the first three words of the title (Race, class, and ...)
  • 2013 - This is the year the item was published. This year is added to the end of the call number when the item is a new edition of an item already in the collection

Before looking for the item on the shelf, first look at its status. If the item is listed as available, it will likely be on the shelf. You will need to note the complete call number, including letters and further numbers, to locate the exact item.

Viewing e-books

To open an e-book from a search result:

  1. Click the provider name (e.g. Ebook Library or Ebscohost eBook Academic Collection).
  2. You may be prompted for your Deakin Username and Password.
  3. You will then be taken to a more detailed description of the e-book and from here you can access the online version.

Some e-books allow you to print, copy or download, however these vary between providers - see our e-book help for more information.

3. Finding journals and articles

Finding journals and articles

For an introduction on finding resources using Library Search , complete the interactive tutorial Finding information resources using Library Search (Flash).

When searching for journals or articles there are two approaches:

  • you know the title of the article or journal you are searching for
  • you have a topic or key words you want an article to cover.

Finding a known journal or article

If you have a specific reference, or citation, to a journal article, you can search for it on the Library website by using Library Search .

Library Search includes articles from most of the databases the Library subscribes to, so there is a good chance you will be able to find the article using this tool. (For information on what a database is, complete the Use databases effectively tutorial (Flash)).

Understanding a journal article reference or citation

Griffiths, R & Casswell, S 2010 , 'Intoxigenic digital spaces? Youth, social networking sites and alcohol marketing', Drug & Alcohol Review, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 525-530 .

Search using the article title

  1. Once you've identified the article title, key (or copy and paste) it into the Library Search box and click 'Search'
  2. The link to the article will display in the search results screen As with this example, the article we searched for is available through a number of databases. Select any of the links to access the full text.Search result display showing articles found

If the article doesn't appear in Library Search , you could still find it by searching for the journal title.

Search using the journal title

  1. Once you've identified the journal title, key it into the Library Search box and click 'Search'

    Tip! If the journal you want doesn't come up in the first page of your search results, try changing your search from a 'Keyword' to a 'Title' search ... and Limit your search result to the Library catalogue

  2. Select the database that covers the date of the article (in this case, you will need to select one that covers all of 2010) Enlarge screenshot of journal coverage
  3. All databases group their issues firstly by year of publication, then volume number (you may need to look under 'all issues', 'previous issues', 'archives' or similar). Use the information from the breakdown of the citation to find the article. For above example:
    • Year: 2010
    • Month / Volume: 29
    • Issue: 5
    • Pages: 525-530
    Note: For journals that are held in print, check the campus location, call number and available issue dates before going to the shelf.

Finding articles on a topic

Find articles quickly using Library Search , a Google-like search engine that allows you to search across multiple databases simultaneously.

Enter your search terms into the search box on the Library website and click 'Search'.

If you need to find Scholarly (peer reviewed) articles, select the Scholarly (peer reviewed) check box on the left hand side of the search results screen.

Enlarge screenshot of results when searching for articles on a topic

You can see the limits you have applied, listed at the top left of your results.

Click the 'x' next to the limit to repeat your search without that limit.

Only getting an abstract? Use FIND IT @ DEAKIN

Many article results link directly to the PDF or full text of the article. If you're only getting an abstract, look out for Find it at Deakin, which will suggest possible leads to the full text.

Search a specific database

Searching a specific database is another way to find articles for your assignments. To help you begin your research Library Resource Guides contain a list of databases relevant to your subject area.

Check your Google Scholar settings to make sure you can access full text articles.

4. Finding other resources

Finding other resources


The Library subscribes to a number of newspaper databases, as well as a selection of local, national and international newspapers. These are available in a variety of formats - electronic, print, or microfilm and microfiche.

Find newspaper articles on a topic

To find newspaper articles in Library Search type keywords into the search box on our homepage, then select Search.

To the left of your search results, under Source Types - select News.

You could also use the 'Content Provider' facet to limit your results to just the newspaper-related databases, such as Newsbank and Newspaper Source Plus.

Search a specialist news database

Searching within specialist news databases such as Newsbank is another way to find newspaper articles.

Visit the:

Reading lists and past exams

Find reading lists and past exams via Library Search

To find prescribed and recommended texts, eReadings and past exams through the library:

  1. Key your unit code, e.g. mll110, into the Library Search box and click 'Search'
  2. From the search results, select the unit material you require
Find reading lists and past exams for MIBT students

To find prescribed and recommended texts:

  1. Key your unit code, e.g. mll110, into the Library Search box
  2. Select the 'I am an MIBT student, alumni, community or other member' check box and click 'Search'
  3. From the left hand side of search results, locate 'Unit Material' and select the material type that you require.


There are a number of free and subscribed resources available for finding Australian and international theses.

Finding Deakin theses

To find Deakin theses using Library Search, enter the title or keywords for the thesis into the search box, expand the 'Options' for searching and click the 'Catalogue only' tick box. Now click 'Search'.

Expand Library Search options to select Catalogue only

From the menu on the left of the results screen, locate the 'Source Types' limit and tick the 'Dissertations/Theses' tick box (this option may be hidden until you click 'Show more').


There is a lot of information of the internet, however you can't trust everything you read.

Search tips

When using a search engine:

  • Choose your search terms carefully; be as specific as possible;
  • Leave out common words, such as the, and, in and at;
  • Don't worry about using capital letters;
  • Enclose "exact phrases" in quotation marks;
  • Use domains to limit your search to material on specific websites for example:
    • for Educational websites
    • for Australian government sites;
    • for Australian organisation websites
  • Use specialist search engines such as Google Scholar
Evaluating what you find

How do you know if the information you find is reliable and accurate?

Evaluating information sources (video tutorial, 2 minutes 13 seconds)

It's always important to consider the quality of the information you use. It is especially important to critically evaluate web resources, as there is no quality control on the Internet. No single person or organisation has the task of verifying the authenticity and accuracy of sites. As a student, the responsibility for assessing the merit of information lies with you.

What to look for when evaluating online sources:
  • Can you identify who the author is?
  • What authority does the author have?
  • Do they have affiliations, credentials or a specific reason for publishing the information?
Type of Information
  • Look at the URL or address. Where did the document originate?
  • Is the information scholarly, governmental, from a private business or association, or an advertisement?
  • Do other reputable Internet sites point to this one?
  • Is the author making an argument for personal gain, offering an opinion, giving a factual report or relaying a personal observation?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information from original research, experiments, observation, interviews, books or documents?
  • Are references provided?
  • How old is the information?
  • Has the content been updated recently?

If you can't find the answer to these questions, that may be reason enough not to use a particular website or resource.

If you do use a website for an assignment, make sure you record the URL and the date you visited it. This information is essential for referencing in your assignments.

5. Referencing


It is important to reference your information sources for many reasons, including:

  • to acknowledge your sources and avoid plagiarism
  • to enable the reader to locate the sources mentioned in your paper
  • to show that you have researched the topic

The Deakin guide to referencing offers breakdowns and examples for a number of different styles including Harvard, APA, and AGLC.

The Language and Learning Advisers are able to help with writing skills, referencing and more.

Also available from study support is information on avoiding plagiarism and collusion, as well as handy FAQs on common referencing questions.

6. Borrowing material

Borrowing material

Deakin staff and students can borrow items from any of our four campus libraries.


If an item you would like to borrow is on loan or available at another campus, you can use the 'Request it' button to place a hold. An email will be sent to the email address on your Library record when the item is available to collect at your campus library.

If you are a cloud student you can have items delivered to your home or work address using the delivery service.

Note: Items in special-collections are not available for loan or request, and are marked in the catalogue as LIB USE ONLY.

Didn't find the title you wanted?


If the book you are looking for appears in your results, however it is on loan or on hold, click the BONUS+ icon, located next to the 'Request it' button.

BONUS+ searches for the title in several other university library collections (Note: Not all university libraries participate in BONUS+. See our BONUS+ help page for more information.) This service is not available to overseas cloud students, non-award students or MIBT students.

If the book you are looking for does not appear in your search results, click the BONUS+ link available in the right hand menu on the search results screen.

2. Interlibrary Loan

If you've searched Deakin Library and BONUS+ and still can't find the item, request the item through Interlibrary Loan (not available to MIBT or DUELI students). Unlike BONUS+, you can also use Interlibrary Loan to request journal articles, conference papers and theses.



Request a CAVAL borrowing card from the Library service desk and you can borrow in person from other Victorian academic libraries (not available to MIBT or DUELI students). For information on obtaining a CAVAL borrowing card, and a list of participating libraries, see our CAVAL help page.

Take a look at our Access and Borrow page for further information.

7. Help


At Deakin University we have a number of support services available including:

Liaison Librarians

Every school and faculty has designated Liaison Librarians located at each campus, who can help you with your research skills and techniques.

Library Resource Guides

For a directory of key databases, books, journals and other resources, relevant to your area of study, check out Library Resource Guides.

Digital Literacy skills

For quick tutorials and videos on finding, using and sharing information, head over to Digital literacy tutorials.

Study Support

Language and Learning Advisers are available for appointments or during designated drop in sessions and experienced in supporting student in a number of areas including referencing, assignment writing, time management, oral presentations and lots more.

Library staff at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, the Geelong Waterfront Campus and the Warrnambool Campus can make an appointment for you at the service desk.

Find out more information about study support services.

Support from your faculty

Some faculties also offer tailored support to their students. Information on these services is available via the following links:

Students helping students

Mentors are available on campus to provide personalised support in areas such as time management, achieving a study-life balance, and getting to know Deakin resources and services. For more information on this program, go to Students helping students.

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