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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Getting Started

Page address: http://lib.mnsu.edu/distlearn/FAQ.html

How do I find Books?

Use the MnPALS Online Catalog when you want to find books, government publications, video and sound recordings, maps, or periodical titles owned by Memorial Library.

You can use the Catalog's Basic Searches page or Advanced Searches page to find items in the Memorial Library.

Examine the Search Hints at the bottom of either the Basic Searches page or Advanced Searches page for tips on how to use the MnPALS Online Catalog.

Do not use the Catalog to find journal, magazine, or newspaper articles. You must choose either Databases A-Z or Find Articles to locate citations to articles or full-text articles.


 

How do I find Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper Articles?

The Memorial Library's databases help you find articles that were published in journals, magazines, or newspapers. Many of the articles can be found full-text within a database.

If you know the name of a database you would like to use go to the Databases A-Z page to select your database.

If you do not know the name of the database you would like to use or if you need assistance selecting a database for your topic go to Subject Guides page .

When there is no full-text available for an article please use Memorial Library's Interlibrary Loan or Document Delivery Services.


 

How can I search efficiently?

While each catalog, index, or database creates its own protocols for searching, some general principles apply. Boolean Operators, "AND", "OR", and "NOT" allow you to combine search terms.

Advanced search screens, or the use of parentheses (nesting) allow you to specify in what order you would like terms combined.

Truncation allows you to add a symbol at the end of a word root to retrieve variant endings, such as plurals. All catalogs, indexes, databases, and search engines have "Help" screens to inform you of their specific protocols.


 

How do I use Boolean Operators?

Boolean Operators are used when searching the MnPALS Catalog Online, indexes, databases, and some search engines to combine terms or concepts.


AND makes your search more precise by saying both terms must be present: example: cancer AND treatment. See a video on Boolean AND.


OR broadens your search because you are looking for either term. It is usually used for synonymous terms: example: somatropin OR hgh. See a video on Boolean OR


NOT narrows the search because it eliminates terms: example: river otters NOT bulimia lutra lutra. See a video on Boolean NOT


More than one operator can be used per search by parentheses for nesting or by using pull-down menus that allow this feature: example: anorexia AND (teens OR youth).


How do I use Truncation?

Truncation means adding a symbol to the root of a word to retrieve its variant endings.

In the MnPALS Online Catalog the truncation symbol is the "?" or " * ". Thus, a search for "market?" retrieves: market, markets , marketer, marketers, and marketing .

Be careful. The search for "cat?" is less efficient because it retrieves: cat, cats, catalog, catacomb, cataclysm, etc!

Truncation allows you to add a symbol at the end of a word root to retrieve variant endings, such as plurals. Other indexes truncation symbols. Here are some examples:

EbscoHost * (asterisk)

Wilson Web * (asterisk)

Cambridge * (asterisk)

ProQuest ? (question mark)

Lexis Nexis ! (exclamation point)

Be sure to check a database's Help section to make sure that you are using the proper truncation symbol.