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PPOL: Public Policy

General Guide on Researching Public Policy. Intended for individuals enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy.

Discovery Tools

What is the Big Box or Library Search Box?

The Big Box is "Google-like" in that it searches a variety of resources available at the University of Calgary Library at one time.  The searcher does not need to choose a specific research tool to carry out their research. 

This search box may also be referred to as:

  • Library Search Box
  • Unified Search Interface (USI)

Where is the Big Box?

The search box is featured prominently on the Library's Home (Main) Page and on the home pages of the branch libraries.

What is included in the Search Results?

The search results are sorted into "categories" that include:

  • Articles & Book Chapters
  • Journals (titles of Journals not the articles in them)
  • Books & Media
  • Background Information
  • Recommended Databases

Why use the Big Box?

  • This is a good place to start your search for information.
  • You don't need to know where the information is located
  • You don't need to know the research tool to use for the information that you are looking for
  • This is also a good place to go to when finishing your research

Classic Catalogue

Classic Catalogue and eBooks

You will find an "Internet" button above the book icon in the results display. Click it to access the book online.

To limit your search results to eBooks only at the start of your search in the Classic Catalogue, go to the Classic Cataloguet and checkmark the "Show Online Library Resources Only" box underneath the search box.

NB.  From campus computers, you'll get seamless access. If you're accessing the book from off campus, you'll be asked to enter your user ID and PIN.

Are all of the databases available at the U of C being searched?

No, not everything is being searched. 

You can see a list of the databases and packages being searched in the Summon Key Databases and Packages listings

What is Summon?

Summon is a unified search index that combines databases, books and journals from publishers, open access sources, as well as the Classic Catalogue and local collections like the U of C Institutional Repository - PRISM.

A guide for using Summon has been created by ProQuest.

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is a search engine that is used to search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources including:

  • abstracts
  • articles
  • books
  • court opinions
  • theses
  • etc.

Where does the scholarly content come from?

The content comes from a variety of sources including:

  • academic publishers
  • online repositories
  • professional societies
  • universities
  • other web sites

Where do I find Google Scholar?

Google Scholar may be found in two places:

  1. Via the Web at
  2. In the listings of databases available at the University of Calgary - Google Scholar

Which version is the better one to use?

It is better to search Google Scholar from the listings of databases that may be found on the Library web pages.  This is because there are links to the full-text of the articles to which the Library subscribes.  In Google Scholar via the Web, you will find abstracts (summaries) of the articles but, usually, not the full-text. 

If you do access Google Scholar directly, you will need to adjust the settings so that they will reflect U of C holdings.  Below is a "how-to" on how to do this.

What is Citation Mining?

Citation Mining, also called "citation chasing", is a research technique that examines or mines the sources listed in footnotes, bibliographies or references in an article, book, book chapter, dissertation, thesis, etc.

You are using the citations that have been provided by a researcher and following up or trying to find them for additional information.

How do I mine a citation?

There are a number of ways to mine a citation:

    • In the search box, type in the title of the article, book, book chapter, etc.  You will either get a "Best Bet" that matches what you had typed in.  If not, scroll down the list of results until you find one that matches what you had typed in.  If you know that the citation you have is for an article in a journal, you should be able to find it in the column for Journal Articles.  If you know that the citation is for a book, you should be able to find it in the column for Books & Media

Method Two:  Use the Citation LInker