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Getting Started With Your Paper / Project

Tips from UMSL's Reference Librarians on researching papers and projects.

Finding Materials

Where to look next?

The bulk of your research may require sources such as journal articlesacademic book chapters, or primary sources.

Your professor may require using a certain amount of a specific source (e.g., 5 peer-reviewed journal articles), or leave it up to you.  Scroll down for advice on finding different types of materials!  If you get stuck in your search, please contact the library for help.

Finding Materials: Resources

Library home page; red box around Summon search bar.

Summon is the library's discovery tool that lets you search across a variety of resources (print and e-books, article databases, newspapers, etc.) at the same time.  Therefore, it is an excellent place to begin your research.

Start your search on the library home page, or get started using the search bar below.

Once you have clicked "Search," use the left side  of the page or the Advanced Search feature to narrow your results by content type, date, subject area, and more.



Search Summon for articles, books, and more!

You can find and access articles/journals using Summon as well as subject-specific databases.  Additionally, you can find print journals by searching the UMSL catalog (see Books tab).

  • Library Databases
    • A complete list of databases to which the library provides access.  Search by name, subject, or content type.
  • Subject Guides
    • Online research guides prepared by UMSL librarians for each subject area.  These guides usually link a selection of databases that are appropriate for your subject.
  • Journals by Title
    • Best if you already know the name of the journal you are looking for, or would like to browse a very general subject area.

You can also find great sources by searching in an interdisciplinary database (offers resources for more than one subject area).  Some suggestions are linked below.

In addition to using Summon, you can also find library books several other ways:

  • Look in the Databases A-Z list for e-book collections (use the second drop-down menu to filter)
  • Browse the library in person
    • Books are organized using the Library of Congress system (to explore, see the LOC Outline).  Books about similar topics will be shelved together.
    • Have a call number, but not sure where to start looking?  See the library floor plan.
  • Search using the UMSL, MERLIN, or MOBIUS catalogs.
About Catalogs

Use the search box below to look for books and other materials held by UMSL or other libraries.  It does not search our subscription databases for things like online research articles, streaming audio, etc.

  • UMSL Catalog: Materials held at UMSL.
  • MERLIN Catalog: Materials held at UMSL or other libraries in the UM system.
  • MOBIUS Catalog: Materials held at libraries in the MOBIUS consortium, including some public and special libraries.

Books at other libraries are usually free to request!  If you're looking for something you can't find at UMSL or through MERLIN/MOBIUS, place an interlibrary loan request.

Search the UMSL catalog for books and more

Thomas Jefferson Library and the Mercantile Library hold a variety of materials useful as primary sources for research on St. Louis/Missouri history as well as waterway and railroad transportation.

The Library also subscribes to databases that offer digital access to sources such as photographs and other artwork, newspapers, government documents, etc.  Many are also available for free online!  The resources below should help you navigate these options.  If you have questions or get stuck, please contact the library!