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W.B. Ray IB High School

This guide was created to help student visitors to Bell Library navigate library resources and make the most of their time in the library.

Getting Started!

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Just know....

You might need to change your topic slightly or change your keywords depending, and it's going to be a repetitive process! But that's ok!

Combining Your Keywords

The three words that you can use to combine your search keywords most efficiently are: andor, and not. Take a look at the image to the right to get a sense of how they work. 

AND tends to narrow searches because all words must be included in results.

OR tends to broaden searches because one or other terms (or all) can be present in results.

NOT selectively eliminates any results containing a specified word.

The two symbols you can also use to further refine your search keywords are "quotation marks" and the asterisk *.

"Quotation marks" searches for groups of words together. This works best if you are looking for a title or phrase.  

The asterisk * is usually found above the number eight on most keyboards. Use the asterisk * to abbreviate words so you can find all possible spelling variations in your search results. It will also make your search results increase, typically.

Here's an example of what a keyword search might look like in MLA International Bibliography:

Always Double Check Generated Citations!

Most databases, Quick Search, and Google Scholar have citation generators. That being said, they are never 100% correct, so you will want to double check using your assigned style manual or a reliable online site.

Selected reliable online sites for citations are:

Citation Generators in Databases & Google Scholar

Typically Citation buttons look like stylized quote marks, but sometimes they are links labeled Cite. Here are some examples:

A database:

Quick Search:

Google Scholar:


The Information Timeline

The information timeline is the process in which information changes over time. An event happens and the information timeline begins!

Typically as the timeline progresses from newest (left) to oldest (right) it also progresses from free to pay-to-access. 

The information timeline: social media, news, magazines and blogs, scholarly and peer reviewed journal articles, and books

The format of information can make an item more or less suitable because of the process it went through to be published.