Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research 101: Finding Sources


How to Find Databases

Follow these steps to access the library's databases:

1. Log in to Atlas.

2. Click the "Search the Library" link. 

3. Select the red buttons "Databases A-Z" or "Databases by Subject" to find a database that meets your research needs. 

How to Search in Databases

Did you know there is a special way to search in the databases? Searching like you would in Google isn't the way to go for databases. Pulling key words from your research question will help you get more precise results. Let's look at an example of a research question with the key words in bold.

What are the effects of consuming caffeine on a daily basis?

What if you typed in each key word into its own search box, but you didn't get the results you were hoping for? You might have to think of different key words to search with. Brainstorming or using a thesaurus is a great way to come up with more key words. See the chart below for some examples:

Effects Caffeine Consume Daily
Impacts Stimulant Ingest Everyday
Consequences Energy drink Intake


When searching in databases, there is usually an option to search using AND & OR. How do these words impact your searches?

Search results for effects AND caffeine must contain all three key words. Searching with AND gives you less (but more specific) results. 

Search results for effects OR caffeine must only contain one of the key words. Searching with OR gives you more results (but usually less specific) results.


How to Find Books

Follow these steps to access the library's databases:

1. Log in to Atlas.

2. Click the "Search the Library" link. 

3. Click the yellow "Library Catalog" option to search by title, author, or keyword. 

Other Database Tips

  • Are you being asked to log in with a Borrower's ID and PIN? 
    • Borrower's ID is your Valencia ID (VID) # which is found on your student ID or Atlas account
    • Borrower's PIN is the last four digits of your VID
  • Don't know what to write about?
    • Some of the databases have a "Browse Issues or Topics" section that can help you find a research topic
    • Meet with a librarian to help you create a research question
  • Beware of the citation generators as they aren't always correct. Check the library's citation guides for correct formatting examples. 
The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.