Skip to Main Content

LOOP (Library Online Orientation Program): Doing Research

Welcome to the LOOP!

Finding Books

Scholarly Books Versus Popular Books

Books used for scholarly or academic purposes tend to be highly specialized, focusing on one aspect of a topic. They are usually written by scholars or experts for others in the field and, therefore, use discipline-specific language. Additionally, scholarly works are works of original research, so authors list (cite) the references to other research works that they used when writing the book.

College libraries, including the Brooklyn College Library, usually purchase more scholarly works than popular books (though we do have both). Public libraries usually have more extensive collections of popular books if you cant' find what you're looking for in our collections.

To search for either kind of book, and books available online or in print, use OneSearch.

Using OneSearch

You can do a simple keyword search to look for books (print books and ebooks). You can type in the title, author, or whatever information you have. However, OneSearch also allows for more focused searching. Click on the Advanced Search option in OneSearch to search for books by author, title, and subject. 

Locating Items

Every print book in the Library has a call number associated with it. For a list of locations & call numbers in the Library, see the Call Number Locations page. If a book is available online, it will display an "Available Online" link below the item.

Renewals & Returns

Print books are returned to and renewed at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor (when the Library is open). Books can also be renewed online via your account in OneSearch. For more information, see the Circulation page.


This video provides a quick overview of how to use OneSearch.

Finding Articles

There are many types of published articles. They can be in popular magazines (e.g. entertainment, news, or opinion articles in magazines like Newsweek) or in scholarly journals (peer-reviewed articles based on research in journals like Modern Drama). Peer review is the process by which an article is evaluated and judged for quality, originality, and accuracy by other scholars and experts before it is published.

Many full-text articles are available online. The Library also has a collection of print periodicals on the Lower Level.

A good way to find articles on your topic is to use OneSearch or to use an article database. Many of the articles you find will be available full-text online. If an article is available online, it will display an "Available Online" or "Full Text" link below the item.

Videos & DVDs

Some students are surprised to learn that the Brooklyn College Library houses more than just books and journals. In fact, the Library is home to many films and videos. In addition to a small (but growing) collection of online videos (accessible via OneSearch), physical videos are held on the second floor, either in the New Media Center (for most videos) or the Music Library (for music-related videos).

Using OneSearch, you may look up specific titles to see if the Library owns a copy. If the video is available for streaming online, you will see an "Available Online" link below the item. Some physical videos "circulate" and therefore can be checked out of the Library. Please see the staff at the New Media Center for assistance (when the Library is open) or talk to a librarian via our Ask A Librarian service.

The Library provides access to streaming videos via databases such as Docuseek, Kanopy, Alexander Street Press, and PBS Video Collection.

Circulation of Media Material

Circulating videos are charged out at the Music Service Desk on the 2nd floor. The loan period for BC students is 10 days. Loan periods for reserve media are usually 2 hours (for in-library use only) or 3 days. Borrowing time limits are placed on materials to ensure that they are accessible to as many people as possible. Videos and DVD's may be returned to the Music Library Service Desk or the Main Circulation Desk.

Viewing Rooms

Items that circulate may be taken home and viewed at your leisure. However, items that are on 2-hour reserve must be viewed in the Library.

The New Media Center (2nd floor) has rooms that can be reserved for group viewing/listening. For more information, contact the New Media Center at (718) 951-5327 or

Returning Videos on Time

Once you are finished viewing the video (whether it was in a viewing room or at home), you must return the item to the NMC service desk on the 2nd floor. 

Google & Wikipedia

What is Google good for?

Google can be a good place to start looking for information if you are unfamiliar with your topic, but the quality of what you find can vary widely.

TIP: Do an "Advanced Search" in Google when searching for information about a topic. Under the "Advanced Search" option, you can search .edu, .gov, and .org domain sites. Typically .edu, .gov, and .org domains will provide more reliable information about a topic than a .com search.

What is Wikipedia good for?

Like Google, Wikipedia can be a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with your topic, but you never want to use it as a source in a paper.  As with Google, the quality of Wikipedia entries can vary widely.

Does the library provide better ways to find background information about a topic?

Yes! We have many different online encyclopedias and reference databases that will allow you to find authoritative information about a topic.  Try Gale Virtual Reference Library and search across hundreds of different reference works quickly and easily.

What should I do if my professor told me NOT to use Google or Wikipedia for my research?

Listen to your professor! Again, it might be okay to use Google and Wikipedia when you are beginning to familiarize yourself with a topic, but you definitely do not want to use these as sources for your paper, especially if your professor told you not to.

Can I find full-text articles using my favorite search engine?

You can try to search for full-text articles using a search engine such as Google. Google Scholar is a better way to search for scholarly articles online, and it can sometimes lead you to the full-text via the Library's databases. However, many times the full text is only available for a fee. Always check the Library's collections before you pay for any articles. The article might be available for free through one of the Library's databases, and if not, we can help you get it (for free) through Interlibrary Loan.

English 1010 LOOP Quiz