You Found Some Resources! Now What?


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Most library databases give you the option to save, download, or email the resources that you find. You will want to get familiar with how the library databases present these options to you. For example, some library databases allow you to create your own free account within them. The advantage of creating an account (for example, with EBSCO, or ProQuest) is that you may be able to create folders to store links to resources you can easily find again later. You might also be able to save searches, so that you do not have to remember which keywords you entered. You can sometimes set up alerts attached to those searches, so if new resources are added to the library database (which can happen daily), you will be notified about those new relevant resources.

Emailing Sources

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But maybe you do not want to set up an account. Not a problem! Many library databases allow you to send an email to yourself with the article or a link back to the article, without ever creating an account for the company that makes that database (You will, however, have to log in to your college library’s website to access library databases from off campus, so the database knows you are a student there. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask a librarian at your college.) This is where you will need to explore what options the library database offers. Sometimes, the email option is simple; sometimes you will have to fill out a form. If you see a form that needs to be filled out, review it carefully. The library database might be offering some great ways to save you time later, such as an option to include the citation of the article in the email. You can also send the article to other people: If you’re working on a group project and everyone needs to look at the same resources, you might want to include your group members on the email form.

Downloading Sources

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Some people prefer not to email the resource and they just want to download it. This is sometimes an option, depending on the library database and the resource. If it’s available as a download, you might want to keep notes about the resource, so that you remember which library database you found it within, and any publication details you might need to build a proper citation for the resource.


Image: “Down Arrow” by Becris, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from

Image: “Mail” by Tomas Knop, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from

Image: “Settings” by Freepik, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from


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Introduction to College Research Copyright © by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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