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How to Navigate the Library

This guide provides an introduction to library resources and how to find, evaluate, use, and cite them.

How to Print Tutorial

Take our quick "How to Print tutorial" to learn the printing procedure at SC4 Library.

Advanced Search Strategies

Boolean Operators

One of the easiest ways to refine your search is to use the Boolean operators. The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT, but there are others available. The operators AND and NOT will narrow your search and OR will usually increase your search results. (The AND operator is not necessary in Google; Google automatically adds the AND between words unless a phrase is put in quotation marks.)

The chart below explains differences between the Boolean operators.

Boolean operators

Boolean operator




· Narrows search result

· Finds articles/websites with both terms in them. Terms may not necessarily be next to each other

"global warming" AND hurricane* (retrieves articles with both terms)


· Broadens search result

· Use to combine similar terms. One or the other search term must appear in the article/website

· Put parentheses around your ORs

"global warming" OR "greenhouse effect" (retrieves articles with either term)


· Narrows search result

· Use to eliminate terms from search

"global warming" NOT Antarctica (eliminates articles that have the word Antarctica in them)

Phrase searching

Most of the databases and search engines will AND the words of a phrase together. If you wish to search the term as a phrase, put quotation marks around it to refine your search.

identity theft = identity AND theft

“identity theft” keeps the words of the phrase together


Most databases use the asterisk * to truncate words. For example, child* will search for the words child or child’s or children. Another example is listed below.

develop* = develop + develops + development + developmental

Google automatically looks for the singular and plural of a word.

Combining some of the skills together

Some examples:

(dog OR dogs OR canine*) AND (kennel* OR board*) AND “port huron”

(ipad OR tablet) AND (evaluat* OR review*)


Other Libraries and Resources

American Library Association (ALA) Recommended Websites for Students

  • ABC-CLIO Online History Award, with complete list of all previous winners, from 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015: Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The award, offered every other year, beginning in 2005, from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, seeks to encourage the development of freely available, sustainable online history resources by singling out innovative projects and the individuals who created them.
  • Best Free Reference Websites for 2015 - Best Free Reference Web Sites Combined Index (1999-2015). Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (ETS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association
  • Best Historical Materials. Historical Materials Committee of the History Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association
  • BRASS Best of the Best Business Websites. Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association
  • Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles, 2014: Top 10 Internet Resources - Choice Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT). The Choice subject editors recognize the most significant titles reviewed each  calendar year by compiling the “Outstanding Academic Titles” (OAT) list, which is published each January in Choice magazine and on Choice Reviews Online.  As a special preview to the full 2014 list, which will appear in the January 2015 issue, the Choice subject editors have selected from among the 2014 list their favorites for the following “Top 25 Books” and “Top 10 Internet Resources” lists.
  • Using Primary Sources on the Web. This brief guide from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, is designed to provide students and researchers with information to help them evaluate the internet sources and the quality of primary materials that can be found online.


Other Libraries

Summary of what the SCCPL website has to offer:
What's New, Calendar of Events, Hours,Catalogs, S.T.A.R, Library Policies, New Materials, How to Get a Library Card, Community Links, Kids Korner, Information on each library branch, and more...

The Michigan eLibrary provides all Michigan residents with free access to online full-text articles, full-text books, digital images, and other valuable research information at any time via the Internet; and provide an easy-to-use interlibrary loan system to allow Michigan residents to borrow books and other library materials for free from participating Michigan libraries.

WorldCat connects you to the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos—all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries. You can also discover many new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks.


University Center Affiliated Libraries


Get More Out of Google

Google can be a useful tool when searching. See the "Get More Out of Google Infographic" to learn strategies for becoming an expert "Googler". Many of these tips will also help you in searching SC4's databases for academic materials.

google like a boss


Image: "7 Simple Google Tips To Search Like A Boss." TeachThought, 20 Mar. 2016, 

Your Librarian

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Jane Lewandoski
Phone (810) 989-5640
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