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Research Support

Virtual Services

In addition to in-person services, we are continuing to provide virtual services, including research consultations, online reserves requests, and workshops. For general questions, search our FAQ, send an email, or use the chat service. Please refer to the hours and locations page for specific times.

Library Orientation

Overview of the resources, people, and support available from the Brown University Library, as well as the special focus of academic libraries from Joseph Meisel, the University Librarian.

Library Tutorials

Online guidance to navigate and use resources as well as develop new research skills.

Research Guides by Subject

Resource lists for research in a specific area of study assist you with getting started with research, navigating research databases, and connecting you with the information you need at any point in your research.

Meet with a Librarian

Move forward with your research with guidance on search strategies and identifying resources in a specific area of study. Contact a Subject Librarian for help through email, chat, or video

Course Reserves

If your instructor uses Canvas, online reserves can be accessed via the e-reserves link in Canvas. (If your instructor does not use Canvas, log into Course Reserves with the course password provided by your instructor.)

Find Resources

Library databases are similar to Google; searching for a specific topic gets you many results: websites, articles, etc. Library databases will give you a variety of informative results, but with a focus on research-specific results like study results, scholarly articles, primary sources, book chapters, and dissertations.

  1. Start with the subject guide that best describes your research topic. Find a Research Guide by Subject
  2. Within the guide, look for the navigation tab that contains the kind of information you need (for example: “Finding Articles” and “Databases”).
  3. Browse using the descriptions provided for each resource. If prompted, log in using your Brown ID and password.

Research is often interdisciplinary and intersectional. Consider exploring other related subject guides that may address your research topic from a different perspective.


You can easily search for ebooks by simply clicking on the Ebooks button beneath the search box of our discovery tool BruKnow as it appears on the library homepage. Or you can filter your results to show you only ebooks after you have carried out a search.

For an overview of the features of BruKnow, take a look at our new resource guide:

Comparing Google, Google Scholar, and Library Databases

Recommendation: Use Google Scholar in addition to the Library search box and databases.

If you would like help developing a research strategy, please Contact a Subject Librarian

Google: Google indexes the entire web and is different from Google Scholar.

Google Scholar: Google Scholar indexes a wide range of scholarly literature. Use of the Google Scholar search box will provide many search results, most of which are scholarly in nature. Google Scholar includes content that is not in library databases, such as grey literature and content from university repositories. It also includes content that is in library databases, but not all of that content (though there is some overlap). The options for narrowing your search in Google Scholar are limited.

How to use Google Scholar: In your Google Scholar search results, look for text that says "FindIt@Brown." Clicking this will take you to a page with links to the document or to the document itself. Brown community members who log into Shibboleth have full access to this content. Logging in to Google Scholar

Library Databases: Each Library database has a specific content focus and offers the ability to fine-tune search results. These specialized, scholarly resources are often licensed by the University for your use. In order to access these resources you must be logged into Shibboleth with your Brown log in.

Find an Article from a Citation

Find an Article from a Citation Let’s look at a citation for a journal article:

Van Dokkum P, Danieli S, Cohen Y, Merritt A, Romanowsky AJ, Abraham R, Brodie J, Conroy C, Lokhorst D, Mowla L, O’Sullivan E. A galaxy lacking dark matter. Nature. 2018 Mar; 555(7698):629-32.

While citation formats vary, there are a few standard sections:

Author(s). Title. Journal Name. Date published. Volume(Issue): pages.

You can do a few things to get a copy of the article. If you don’t find it with one option, you can try another just to be sure. For example:

  1. Put the citation into the search box on the Library homepage. This may yield an exact match.
  2. Put the title of the article in Google Scholar. If you are logged into your Brown account through Shibboleth, you will see a link to the article.
  3. Search the Library’s Journal A-Z list to see if Brown has access to the journal. In this case, a search for a general title like Nature is best done by selecting the “Title equals” option from the pull down menu. Questions to ask yourself when searching for content in a journal:
    • Do we have access to the journal?
    • Do we have access to the issue of the journal that the article is in? (The best way to check this is to look at the publication date.)