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Information Literacy at Idaho State University: Find Articles

It defines information literacy and leads students to useful resources.

Find Articles + More

Search across many (not all) of our resources simultaneously, locating scholarly articles, books, and audiovisual items.
Limit to:

Journals by Title

Did you find an article you'd like read, but don't know if the library owns the journal?  Enter the journal title below to find the full text.

Search for Online Journals




Interlibrary Loan

Can't find the full text?  Don't despair!  You can request the article from another library using our ILLiad interlibrary loan system. 

Still need help?






If you find you're still needing help, ask a librarian.


Need help finding articles?

How should I search?

Searching Strategies

Search Terms: How do I describe my topic?

Most researchers confront an initial struggle to come up with a good set of terms that describe a particular topic. For example:

Image with text: Topic idea: Teens on social media. Research question: Research question: Are teens on social media more likely to suffer depression or anxiety? Why or why not?

1. Do a preliminary search

As you begin to brainstorm ideas, you might also try some preliminary searches with the terms you have already identified:

Teens / social media / depression / anxiety

You might wish to start a search with the most important terms. Let's try "social media" or you can try your own search terms in the box provided below.


Academic Search Complete
Limit Your Results

2. Identify the best 'subject terms' for your topic

This might be a good article, but even if it is not, note the subject terms associated with this topic:

  • Young adults
  • Millennials
  • Truthfulness and falsehood
  • Teaching

And those are from just one of the hundreds of articles your initial searches might produce.

3. Construct a new search

Using the most relevant of these and any others you discover, construct a new search! You can start with a 'broad' search and narrow as you go:

By searching with the terms that library databases prefer (subject terms), you should yield better, more relevant articles.

Search result with article title: "Suicide rates increasing; researchers especially worried about teens."

Your research or exploratory essay will be far better if you: [Update and customize.]

  • Seek out and review a variety of sources
  • Go well beyond the 'minimum requirements' of your assignment
  • Search for sources in library catalogs, databases, and the web
  • Conduct several searches using a variety of terminology related to your topic
  • Ask a librarian, "What might I be missing?" once you have searched for a variety of resources

1. Books and documentary (non-fiction) videos are great for:

  • Addressing the basic facts, history, background or major themes for your topic. 

Find books, DVDs, streaming media, and ebooks in the Oboler Library catalog.

Image with the text "ISU Libraries"

Further Reading:

2. Try OneSearch!

On the library home page, try the main search box to get a sense of what source types are available for your topic:

Picture of library home page and OneSearch box, where researchers can search many databases at once.

Consider narrowing your results by source type after running your first search. 

Image that shows the types of sources searches can select to limit their search, such as books, academic journals, news, magazines, conference materials, etc.

Above you can see the types of sources that are most plentiful in a quick search for 'coral reefs', including 325k academic journal articles, 191k+ newspaper articles, and nearly 60k magazine articles and almost . 

3. Consider sources beyond the ISU Libraries

As an Idaho State University student, you have access to Interlibrary Loan (ILL); just use the ILL request form to let us know what you need. Provided you allow yourself some lead-time, there's no reason your search for sources needs to be limited to our materials and electronic sources. 

See links below:

Choice of terms matters: What are the best terms for searching?

As you work to discover good source material, you will encounter specialized language that describes your topic:

"keywords" AND "subject terms"

Image: search boxes indicating where keywords or subject terms should go

keywords: When you search using keywords, you have brainstormed a term associated with your topic, and you are hoping that there is a book, video, or article that is related to your search term. In database terms, however, the search looks for your term anywhere in the item's record.

subject terms: When you use a subject term, your search will only produce records of those items (articles, videos, or books) that have been indexed with that specific term.

For Example:

If you try a keyword search such as: va programs

Image: screenshot of words or phrase search "Va Programs"

You find a book's record that looks like this:

Book record with keywords used and subject term pointed out

However, you also get these two books on finance. Why?

Image: Book Cover for 'Decoding the New Mortgage Market"         Image: Book Cover for Real Estate Finance

Because the two terms 'VA' and 'programs' were in each record, although the terms weren't even next to one another. So in our books and AV catalog, only 3 items were found using VA programs as our search terms. By searching, instead, with the subject term 'Veterans', however, you would find well over 90 books and videos, all of which are far more relevant and helpful for your topic.

Image: Search box of subject search using the term 'veterans'

Image: Search results showing the number '93 titles'

It's important, of course, that you do some initial searching with keywords in order to discover the best subject terms for your topic.

Meet with a librarian! 

Come to the Oboler Library during the following hours without an appointment to meet with us.

  • We are located at the main Circulation Desk on the 1st floor of the Oboler Library, on the corner of 9th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
  • Fall and Spring Reference Desk hours 
    • Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    • Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday Noon - 3:00 p.m.
    • Sunday 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Summer Reference Desk hours
    • Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    • Other times by appointment.

View the extended hours for the library and its departments.

So long as you give us a bit of notice, you can meet with a subject librarian for one-on-one help with your project:

Get Help!


Eli M. Oboler Library (Pocatello): (208) 282-2958

  • Reference Desk: (208) 282-3152
  • Renewals, fines, & account information: (208) 282-4489
  • Circulation Desk: (208) 282-3248

ISU Library - Meridian: (208) 373-1817

ISU Library - Idaho Falls: (208) 282-7906


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[Embed videos in other box. OneSearch, Building a Keyword Search.]

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