Search for books, journals, articles, media and more.
Where to search
Using the University Libraries online catalog, you can browse both our physical and digital holdings and you can search for known items. Visit lib.umn.edu to get started with searching with the search box. Important tip! If you are off campus make sure to log into the library website with your X500 and username. This is how publishers and databases can tell that you are a current student, staff, or faculty member and should be provided to access full text. If you ever log in and have trouble getting full text let us know!
Our subject guides are also a great place to search for resources on a specific topic. These are lists of databases and resources that the librarian who is responsible for that area has put together that are the best fit for that topic. If you ever have questions about a database listed on a guide you can reach out to that librarian and they will be happy to help!
You can also go directly to a database to start searching. Here are several great places for resources dealing with plant science! If you would like more information around using databases you can check out the libraries database search tips tutorial or reach out to your librarian.
Once you have decided where to search here are some tips that can help in finding the best sources for what you need. You can also check out the library tutorial creating an effective search strategy to learn more about these tips.
Putting quotes around a phrase tells the database that you want those words in that exact order. For example "genetic sequence" instead of genetic sequence.
Scholarly words and spell out acronyms and abbreviations
Try to use scholarly words for your topic. Try thinking about who has created the sources you are looking for and how they would talk about the subject. For example a geneticist might use the scientific name of the organism they are working with instead of the common name.
It can also be helpful to think of any synonyms, or other words that mean the same thing, that you can use in your searching. This way if different experts are talking about the same topic in different ways you can still find them.
Limits and advanced search
Improve your search results by using checkboxes, drop down lists, and filters (just like a shopping website). For example you can limit your search to scholarly or peer reviewed or a particular date range.
Use the resources you find to locate more
Once you have found a good source you can use it to find more like it by
- Looking at the title and/or abstract for additional keywords
- Looking at the reference list to see if any of the sources the author used to write their work can also be useful to you.
- Looking at what sources have cited your original source to see if they fit your needs.
- For more information about using sources to find more sources check out the library tutorial using citations to find journal articles and books
A citation manager is a software tool used to create personalized databases of citation information and notes. They allow you to:
- import and organize citation information from article indexes and other sources,
- export your citations into Word documents or other types of publications,
- format citations for your papers and bibliographies using APA and many other styles, and
- include your own notes.
Choosing a citation manager
- Guide to Citation Managers at UMN
- Citation managers used at UMN compared
- Wikipedia's comparison of reference management software
- If you want to explore citation managers in more detail. you can use the libraries tutorial What is a citation manager and when to use one.
Libraries & online resources available during COVID-19
The UMN Libraries spaces are different due to COVID-19 AND we are here to help with your research online!
Studying at the Libraries during Covid-19
Four of our largest libraries are open - Wilson Library (west bank), Walter Library Health Sciences Library (east bank), and Magrath Library (St. Paul). These spaces are open for current U of M students with U Cards. Per University guidelines, masks are required. We have reconfigured furniture and are requiring physical distancing with one student per table. You can reserve a study room - one person per room. The coffee shops in Wilson and Walter are closed. Read through our FAQs for more details on visiting.
Getting physical materials from the Libraries
If you know the item you are looking for, search by title or author or search by your keywords in Libraries search. You can go to our open libraries to find your items or browse the stacks. Or sign in to Libraries search and place a “get it” request. You can pick up items at one of our four open buildings — Wilson Library, Walter Library, Health Science Libraries, and Magrath Library — or have them delivered to your office, home, or residence hall. You can also request to have part of a book or physical item scanned and we will send it electronically with our Digital Delivery service. Read through our FAQs including details on checking out and returning materials.
Help isn’t available in our spaces this semester, instead use Chat with a librarian 24/7, schedule an online consultation with a librarian or schedule a 30 minute virtual appointment with a Peer Research Consultant (a.k.a. peer tutor for library research).