This is the pdf of the presentation I gave in PLNT-310. If you have any comments regarding this guide or questions on databases, citations, or how to search, don't hesitate to send me an email or to drop by the library.
You are looking for information on a specific plant for an assignment. You searched on Google and on Google Scholar, you even searched the library catalogue and still can't find what you're looking for? These tips will help you find books on your topic that the McGill Library has. If you are specifically looking for journal articles, please refer to the "Finding articles" tab in the left-side menu.
Let's use peperomia obtusifolia as an example (EOL or Encyclopedia of Life is a great website to start your search).
1. What information do you already have and what are you looking for?
You may know already (through previous research, or by looking at Wikipedia or searching on Google/Google Scholar) that peperomia obtusifolia is a perennial and a popular housplant. You could also look at where it grows and search that flora from that region.
On WorldCat, you can then search for perennials and indoor plants. Some of these books might have chapters on your plant. On the left-side menu, you can choose if you want ebooks or print books or both.
For print books:
- The library uses a subject-specific classification, which means that all books related to a same topic will be together on the shelves.
- If the books are available downtown, you can request them to be sent to Mac.
Let's say that you are looking for propagation methods for peperomia obtusifolia. You found in your previous search a book that mentions that it can be propagated through leaf or stem cuttings. You can then check books related to plant propagation. Most of them will describe in great details how a plant can be propagated through leaf cuttings.
Use what you know or what you found in your previous searches to help you broaden your search. This method can be used for any topic.
2. Reference list
Most books and all journal articles will have a list of references at the end, check it to see if any reference might be useful. If a title seems relevant, check WorldCat to see if we have it. If not, you can ask for an interlibrary loan (but don't do that if your assignment is due the next day. We still don't have transporters to beam the book to the library in a few seconds, so it might take from a few days to a few weeks depending where that book is located).