If you are doing a taught course, rather than a purely research one, you are likely to be handed a reading list.
You can find yourself looking for
* chapters in books
* articles in journals,
* conference papers, proceedings…
* unpublished papers
You must be able to distinguish between these types of references in order to find them, and know the tools for finding each.
Once you know that you're trying to find a book, identify the author's or editor's name, or the title of the book and search the library catalogue.
Finding a CHAPTER in a book:
So you’d look for the book, (not the chapter in the book) on the library catalogue, either searching under the title of the edited book, or under author for the name of the editor.
But you will NOT find it on the catalogue if you look for the title of the CHAPTER or the AUTHOR OF THE CHAPTER.
Finding articles in journals:
Finding a journal in electronic form on our A-Z list of electronic journals.
You can search the list for a journal alphabetically or by title.
You can browse complete issues of a journal, or search within it for particular terms.
Often the latest electronic version is available weeks before we get the latest issue in print, so it is a good way of keeping current with a favourite journal.
Unfortunately, publishers sometimes embargo the latest electronic issue (delay it by a few months) to protect their print sales.
Finding a thesis:
If a Master's or Doctoral thesis was done at UCT, you will find it on the catalogue the same way you would a book – look for the author’s last name or words from the title or both.
If it was done at another South African university we can get a copy through Inter-library loan or, increasingly, simply download it for free from that university’s web site.
Finding South African theses - three options:
Bibliographic records of theses and dissertations at Master's and Doctoral level submitted to universities in SA since 1918. Updated annually.
* South African Studies (Incorporated with African Studies to form Africa-Wide: NiPAD)
anthology of 9 different databases providing access to over 592,000
records. South African Studies supplies unprecedented access to the
great majority of documents published in and about
* Nexus Database System
Provided by the National Research Foundation, Nexus includes databases of: Current and Completed Research Projects in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The database of Current and Completed Research Projects requires a password - please contact the Library on 650 3703.
Finding other African theses:
* Database of African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD)
The Database of African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD) is a program to improve management and access to African scholarly work. It is an abstracts database containing information from 11 African institutions, some as far back as 1982.
Finding American and some
WorldCat Dissertations and Theses
This database provides access to the dissertations and theses available in OCLC member libraries. Many theses are available electronically, at no charge, directly from the publishing institution. (Librarian’s note - a tab labeled “internet” comes up with the search, allowing you to restrict the search to those theses which are freely available online.)
With more than 2 million entries, Dissertation Abstracts is the single, central, authoritative resource for information about doctoral dissertations and master's theses. Dissertations published from 1980 forward include 350- word abstracts written by the author.
Master's theses published from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. Titles available PDFs include free twenty-four page previews. UMI offers over 1.8 million titles for purchase in microform, paper or electronic formats.
Some of our other databases, particularly Humanities International, SocIndex for general social sciences, MLA for literature, EconLit for economics, and PsycInfo for psychology, provide abstracts of theses along with abstracts of books and journal articles. You will often encounter a reference to a relevant thesis when searching for journal articles or book chapters on these databases.
Finding conference papers or proceedings:
A reference to a paper from a conference or seminar will often contain the words Proceedings of..., Conference..., Symposium or Papers from... in the title, followed by the organisation involved or the title of the conference.
Find them as you would any other book on the library catalogue, searching for title or editor or both.
In that case look on the catalogue for the report of the conference, not the individual paper, just as you would look for a journal, not a journal article, or a book, not a chapter in a book.
Finding unpublished papers:
Errrm – these are tricky. Also they can mean two things – (1) papers composed and read out at a conference, seminar, as a draft of an article, etc…. Or (2) papers left, often in a bundle, to an institution or archive by an individual, living or dead.
(1) Modern papers – things read out at conferences and the like - will sometimes be on a catalogue or the national catalogue if they have been donated to a library.
Sometimes they will have been written up or developed into a proper journal article and published, perhaps with a new title – searching for the author and main keywords of the paper on our journal databases can help to dig them out.
If there isn’t a donated print or free electronic version to be found, then we are down to asking the author if they would please e-mail us a copy directly. The library can do this for you, or simply provide you with the contact details if you’d like to make one-to-one contact.
(2) Collections of an individual or organisation’s papers.
But do get in touch with the library or archive before flying out to some repository in
Sometimes digital versions of the original document will be available from that library or archive, or copies of a particular letter or field report can be made and sent to you (for a fee, as a rule).
A last point: