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Accessing Research Information Sources Remotely when On-campus Access is not Possible: Finding Books and More

This Library Guide is designed for times/situations in which Houston Cole's physical collection (print books, DVDs, etc.) is not available or accessible, yet assignments -- especially research projects -- still must be completed.

Page Overview

This page provides information on finding books in non-print format and also offers tips on how to adapt Google for academic research.

Finding Books

Even when the physical print book collection in inaccessible there still are ways to access books in digital format electronically.

Through databases

EBSCOhost databases such as Academic Search Premier and GemFinder do include a few books, even reference books.  Either look for the books thumbnail in the Results List (center pane) or filter for books (Limit To) in the left pane.


Ebooks also are available.

Through JaxCat

1. Go to JaxCat Advanced Search (three search boxes stacked with Boolean operators included).

2. Type your search term(s) into the search box(es).

3. Under Add Limits (Optional), go to the dropdown for All Types; click on Electronic Resources.

4. <Search> (The lower of the two Search boxes. This search should harvest electronic books but also may pick up such other things as videos.)

Through Google Books Advanced Book Search  

Google Books Advanced, among other things, offers Previews of some of the books it indexes even though the complete book is not available.  Still, the part of the book needed my be included in the Preview.


Go to Google Books Home  
 Advanced Book Search About Google 

Find results


Search Algorithm

Boolean operators:

  • Invisible but still functioning Boolean AND between the all box, the exact phrase box, and the at least box
  • Boolean OR within the at least box
  • Boolean NOT between the at least box and the without box

Search boxes:

  • all box: usually essential words, but not phrases
  • exact phrase box: where word order is essential to the success of the search
  • at least box: for alternate search terms with roughly equivalent meanings
  • ​without box: words whose inclusion might sabotage the search results

Once you have clicked on Search

Peruse your results list

  • click on Preview button beneath Snippet to view the part of the book that is included in Google Books Advanced
    • peruse your results, at least through the first two screens, for previews useful to you
      • useful content will have to be photographed and then uploaded; GBA is not print or copy/paste friendly

Google Scholar Advanced

Google Scholar Advanced is useful for locating full text of articles which may be indexed in a database but without full text attached.  Through university Open Access institutional repositories, it also may provide full text of articles which are not indexed in any database.  To access Google Scholar Advanced, just open a window to Google and type in Google Scholar Advanced; the link to Advanced will be found by clicking the waffle icon in the upper left-hand corner.

The search interface

  • Boolean operators and search boxes function largely as they do in Google Books Advanced
    • note that searches are limited to articles

Advanced search

Find articles

e.g., "PJ Hayes" or McCarthy
e.g., J Biol Chem or Nature
e.g., 1996


Google Search Advanced

While many university faculty, with good reason, forbid their students from using web-based sources (i.e., Google Search), in times of diminished access to the full spectrum of library resources a "BSA" (Best Source Available) approach may be allowable.  Google Search, Google Scholar, and Google Books all permit certain tweaks which make them more suitable for academic research.  One such tweak is using the Advanced rather than the Basic search mode in all three Google silos.  To access Google Advanced Search, just open a window to Google and type in Google Advanced.

The search interface (edited):

  • very similar to a database set for an advanced search, but uses ? for the truncation sign rather than *
    • multiple search boxes stacked for easier viewing of a complex, multi-term search
    • invisible but still functional Boolean operators
      • AND between the first and second and second and third search boxes
      • OR between terms in the third box
      • NOT between third and fourth boxes

Search Algorithm

Type the essential words; word order not important
Both the words themselves and the word order are important; "  " are optional
Alternate, equivalent search terms that have approximately the same meaning; typing OR between all the words you want is optional
Words you don't want; a minus sign just before words you don't want is optional
The refinements (edited):  
 Limit your results to a domain; .edu, .org or .gov are the most useful for research; domains you do not want can be typed into the none box  
pdf should be first option
 Unique Contribution
  • can access academic theses and dissertations
    • not published, so not accessible through databases or Google Scholar
      • available in institutional repositories through open access
    • have been through a sort of peer-review, having to be passed by a committee
    • can be written about subjects for which little published information is available
      • BSA (best source available) principle

Search Algorithm

Type the important words: words vital to the search, but where word order is unimportant; submitted -- the magic word -- must go into this box
Word order is as important as the words themselves; titles of literary works, for example 
Type OR between all the words you want: dissertation OR thesis (OR is optional; dissertation thesis are not)
Words you don't want or whose presence will sabotage the search