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College 101: Getting to Know Your Library: Finding background info

This guide provides a virtual tour and introduction to your TCC Library

Getting started with Gale eBooks

Reference materials, like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks give you a brief overview of your topic and are a great place to begin your research process!

You can think of these reference databases as credible alternatives to websites like Wikipedia. In them you will find detailed information about a wide range of topics. The who, what, where, why, why and how types of questions you can ask about a topic are often addressed here. Additionally, these books are thoroughly researched and written by well-educated people, often experts in their fields.

The information in these digitized books can also help you identify relevant names, places, ideas, and dates to use as search terms. So whether or not you know a lot about your topic or are still just brainstorming, these kinds of materials are also a great place to explore topic ideas!

Gale eBooks (formerly known as GVRL)

Gale eBooks, formerly known as Gale Virtual Reference Library or GVRL, is a database that provides access to encyclopedias and subject dictionaries. It's a great place to start your research. 


Use the link below to look for articles using Gale eBooks.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Step 1: Searching for an article

Consider the MAIN concept you are exploring, and use that as a keyword to search this database for relevant articles.

Keyword closeup in Gale Ebooks search box

Step 2: Selecting an article

To read an article in Gale eBooks, click on the article title. Be sure to note the titles of the encyclopedias the articles come from. Finally, always read through more than one article to get multiple perspectives or views on an issue.

Click the article title to read the whole article.

Look at more than 1 article to get multiple views

Step 3: Saving and citing an article:

Once you click on an article title, look at the tools on the side for how to cite, send/email, download, etc., so you can take that article with you.

Article sample in Gale eBooks

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher is a database that provides access to extensive, but easy to read reports that offer thoughtfully written analysis of social, economic and political issues.

CQ Researcher Reports graphic with examples

Use the link below to look for articles on today's controversial topics using CQ Researcher.

Click the images below to open and view in a new window.

Navigating to search

You can search for reports using the search box, or browse for reports or topics.

CQ researcher screenshot

Browsing through topics

Click on "Browse topics" to see a drop-down menu of potential broad topics to explore. 
CQ Researcher screenshot

Viewing a full report

Full reports include a table of contents along the left side, where you can jump to specific sections. The right side includes an "Issue Tracker," where you can see additional, related reports. Be sure to use the "Cite Now!" tool to get an MLA or APA citation so you can cite the report for your assignment.

CQ Researcher screenshot

CC BY SA license

Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.
This openly licensed content allows others to cite, share, or modify this content, with credit to TCC Library. When reusing or adapting this content, include this statement in the new document: This content was originally created by Tacoma Community College Library and shared with a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

Tacoma Community College Library - Building 7, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98466 - P. 253.566.5087

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