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BIO1004S - Biological Diversity - Library Guide: How to information

How-to videos

UCT Libraries' webpage is equipped with resources, services, self-help tools and useful links. Learn to navigate the website. 

Use Off-campus login to access electronic resources when you are not on UCT grounds. 

Search engines and databases better retrieve most relevant items when we search by keywords combined with Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT). Boolean Operators tells the search engine how the keywords are related to each other.

Interpreting your reading list

In your reading list books, book chapters and journal articles may be listed. Here is how you can differentiate based on reference elements.

Book reference: Author/s or Editor/s, Year of publication, Title, Edition, Place of publication, Publisher.

Example: Mohr, P. 2015. Economics for South African students, 5th ed, Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Chapter in a book reference: Author of Chapter. Year of Publication. Title of the Chapter. Title of Book (in italics). Editors of Book. Place of Publication. Publisher. Pages.

Example: Ruiters, M. 2009. Collaboration, assimilation and contestation: emerging constructions of Coloured identity in post-apartheid South Africa. In Burdened by race: Coloured identity in South Africa. M. Adhikari, Ed. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press. 104-133.

Journal article reference: Authors. Year of Publication. Title of Article. Title of journal (in italics). Volume and Issue Numbers, Pages.

Example: Luckett, K. 2009. The relationship between knowledge structure and curriculum: a case study in sociology. Studies in Higher Education. 34(4): 441-453.

Finding books

Primo is UCT Libraries one-stop-shop searching platform for all resources that provides brief information about physical and electronic resources. Primo enables you to searchselect and locate library resources.

What you can do using Primo:

  • Search using keywords
  • Browse indexes
  • Manage your Library Card: view borrowed items, renew borrowed items before due date, make hold-request etc.

For more detailed guide refer to Primo guide page.

Finding journal articles

The following databases have journal articles in their collection.

In order to retrieve the most relevant resources when searching, follow the following simple steps.

  1. Identify relevant keywords. Consider if broader or narrower terms of the keywords of your choice would help your search.
  2. Group them in to concepts
  3. Use Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to tell the search engine how the keywords are related to each other.  
    • Boolean operators follow the same logic as operators of set in mathematics OR = union, AND = intersection and NOT=complement.
    • use OR between keywords of a concept. OR maximizes our search by collecting all items that contain the keywords
    • use AND between different concepts. AND refines our search by selecting items containing only both concepts
    • use NOT to exclude irrelevant keywords
  4. Construct your search statement
    • enclose phrases within inverted comma to tell the search engine to find the words together in the same order
    • enclose keywords of the same concept in bracket in order to priorities operation within bracket as we do in mathematics.
    • Operators should be written in capital letters  


Topic search: The use of microorganisms in the food & agricultural industry

  • Keywords: main keywords: microorganisms, food, agriculture
  • more keywords that can be used alternatively: bacteria, fungi; vegetable, diary, meat
  • Group keywords

Concept 1

Concept 2

Concept 3

microorganism food agriculture
bacteria vegetable
fungi diary

Concept 1: microorganisms OR bacteria OR fungi

Concept 2: food OR vegetable OR diary OR meat

Concept 3: agriculture

  • Search statement: (microorganisms OR bacteria OR fungi) AND (food OR vegetable OR diary OR meat) AND agriculture

Similarly you can conduct your article search in the above listed databases. For your Dalebrook assignment here are some of the keywords you could use: "rocky shore", zonation, diversity, ecology.

Ones you get a good article, you can also check its reference list at the end of the document for more sources.

Learn effective searching strategy to retrieve relevant resources from the How-to Videos box.

Terms & definitions

Journal article: is scholarly literature often a product of research or critical review of topic area published in scholarly journals.

  • Articles can be authored by a single researcher or group of collaborating researchers.
  • Usually articles are reviewed or checked by experts of the field before publication (peer reviewed).

Scholarly Journal: a magazine that publishes scientific articles.

  • published regularly weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually … Therefore the publications have volume numbers and issue numbers to distinguish between recurrent publication.

Databases: Organized collection of journals, books and other resources in a digital format.

  • They have search boxes to enable searching across their collection.
  • They can be subject specific or multidisciplinary.