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Research Support: Research Resource Discovery

The Library offers a huge range of services and supports for research . This Research Support guide is designed to make UCC researchers aware of research-focussed services and resources available through the UCC Library.

Plan & Discovery

Plan & Identify Information Sources

Information sources come from different sources (commercial, scholarly commercial, scholarly open access, specialist association/institutions) and in different formats (both in print or electronic), for example, books, images, journals, databases, websites, newspapers, grey literature, conference proceedings etc.

There are 3 types of sources: Primary sources, Secondary sources & Tertiary sources.

Primary source: It is the evidence one collects firsthand during the course of research. It could be raw data, direct observations, contemporary account of events etc. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, empirical studies, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects.

Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources.

Secondary source: Review, analysis or interpretation of primary material. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

Tertiary source: contain information that has been compiled from primary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources include almanacs, chronologies, dictionaries and encyclopaedias, directories, guidebooks, indexes, abstracts, manuals, and textbooks.

There are also archival materials, government documents and grey literature, that you may need to consult in the course of your research.

Why use the Library to find resources

Taken from BYU Library's FAQ section with minor adaptation.

Library Resources

The Internet

Why should I use the Library?

Paid for by the library so  you have free access to scholarly information.

Some resources are free, but others require you to pay for them.

Content is evaluated for authority and accuracy.

Information is not evaluated for accuracy and may be incorrect, misleading, or biased.

Information is stable.

Websites come and go.

Use Subject Guides to find databases relating specifically to your topic (and get connected to an expert for guidance).

The internet is a vast sea of information with no organization.

Library resources offer options to quickly limit or expand your search to find the articles you need.

A search engine (like Google) often returns an overwhelming number of results with no quick way to narrow them down or ensure they relate to your topic.

Resource Discovery

Resource Discovery is discipline specific. Some disciplines have unique resources, e.g. formulas, statistics, chemical abstracts, maps, music scores etc.

You will require a defined research topic, an understanding of the background context, and knowledge of the relevant terminology.

Search the Catalogue

A Library Catalogue is a database of all the items held by a particular library. Most of the items listed in a library catalogue will be either e-books or print books for borrowing. You can access our catalogue from the main Library page.


How do I write

Finding Articles through database searching

A database is an online collection of journal articles, e-books, newspapers etc. There are different types of databases:

Subject Indexing and Abstracting databases, e.g. FSTA, MLA.

Full text databases, e.g. Springer, Taylor & Francis, JSTOR.

Aggregated databases (a collection of titles from different publishers on one platform), e.g EBSCO, ProQuest.

Specialist subject specific databases, e.g. MathSciNet, IEEE, Royal Society of Chemistry, Project Muse, Fame.

You can find articles through our  database portal if you know the name of a specific database. Or you can use Web of Science, Scopus, EBSCO, ProQuest portals to do a general search for relevant articles for your research.


OneSearch searches across a lot of the Library print AND electronic resources at the same time, including:

  • Library Catalogue
  • Journals
  • Databases
  • Books, eBooks
  • Newspaper articles
  • Theses
  • Open Access resources

Information on how to use OneSearch

Reference Material


Patents. Also see our Libguide on Academic Integrity.

Repositories including Data repositories  Please note that most LibGuides have a list of repositories within the Web Resources tab.

Archives & Special Collections

Grey Literature

Using the Web

General internet search services such as Google indexes a proportion of web pages, including many of interest to researchers. Dedicated web portals can act as a guide to the resources for a specific discipline to be found on the web: examples are H-Net Commons (Humanities & Social Sciences Online)

Research colleagues are one of the most important sources for virtually every type of enquiry. They are also important providers of advice to colleagues about resources and tools, and sources of recommendation for new services.