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Information Literacy

Relay LibGuides

The Relay Library has a number of other resource guides designed to help you in your research and practice! Feel free to browse these guides for subject-specific journals, online resources, and more. 

For additional resources on using the Relay library, including certification materialscopyright and fair usefinding books and articleshighlighted resourcesusing the Relay proxy, using Google Scholar, and more, check out our Intro to the Relay Library guide (linked below)! 

Interlibrary Loan ("I can't find an article through the Relay library!")

Maybe you've found an article cited in a literature review that's exactly what you've been looking for; or you found an article on Google Scholar that the Relay library doesn't have access to; or you need a chapter of a book that the Relay library doesn't have an ebook copy of. Not to worry! Email us at or fill out this form - we can help you to track down a copy of the article or chapter that you're looking for, or we can submit a request for the article through Interlibrary Loan.

  • Keep in mind that Interlibrary Loan typically takes between 1-5 business days to provide copies of an article (so it might not be your best option for a midnight deadline). 
  • When submitting an ILL request, the more information you can provide, the better! If possible, please include the article/book title; the author(s); the journal title; the volume/issue; publication date; page numbers; and/or a link or DOI. 


What is Zotero? 

Zotero is a citation management tool that allows you to build a personal library of information from articles, books, documents, web pages, and more! You can use Zotero with any word processing tool to help format your research paper. With Zotero, you can:

  • Save citations from databases, web sites, and library catalogs
  • Manage, categorize into collections, and organize books, articles, and websites
  • Cite sources "in-text" as you write and create reference lists in most citation styles (including APA!) 
  • Attach PDFs, images, web page snapshots, reading notes, and more to citations in your collection
  • Automatically proxy subscription websites and databases (ex. EBSCO, JSTOR, EdWeek, Chronicle of Higher Education)

Why should I use it? 

Zotero can be a really helpful tool for students and researchers! Although it's described as a "citation management software," it does more than help you format citations and bibliographies (although that's a super useful tool, too!). Zotero automatically imports tags and keywords from any books or articles, which not only makes your personal library much more searchable, but also automatically provides keywords that you can use in future searches. You can organize your articles into folders or create your own tags (perhaps you want to group articles from particular classes in one place, or maybe you want to create a separate folder for your Master's defense). 

tl;dr: Zotero will save you a lot of time and help you to keep more organized while doing research and other coursework! 

How do I use Zotero? 

You can download Zotero (or Zotero Connector, the browser extension) here.

For guides tutorials, and other information on how to use Zotero, check out some of the links below: 

Are there any alternatives to Zotero? 

There's a lot of citation management software out there! We typically recommend Zotero because it offers the most for a free account, and it's fairly intuitive - however if Zotero just isn't your thing, there are a number of other well-known citation management tools, including: 

Google Scholar

When would I use Google Scholar instead of the Relay library search bar? 

There are a few reasons you might turn to Google Scholar over the library search! 

  • If you aren't getting results from the Relay library - Google Scholar sources from a wider selection of resources.
  • Different features - Google Scholar offers some features that aren't as immediately available through the library search bar, such as the "Cited" feature.
  • If you have access to multiple libraries - for example, if you have access to another university library and you want to search both libraries at the same time.
  • Personal/aesthetic preference - sometimes you might just prefer one interface over the other! 

Google Scholar is a really useful search tool - however, it's important to take these resources with a grain of salt! There are a few things to keep in mind when searching on Google Scholar

  • Criteria for inclusion as "scholarly"  in Google Scholar results is based on publishers submitting information to Google Scholar about their web sites, and is not necessarily based on the attributes of the sources themselves - not all sources on Google Scholar necessarily count as scholarly or peer-reviewed. You can verify the sources that you find by looking up additional information about the author and the journal that the article was published in - does the author seem to be an expert on the topic? Have they written other articles on a similar topic? Is the journal peer-reviewed or otherwise a credible source? 
  • Google Scholar typically includes at least the author, publication title, and date for articles, but the bibliographic details and accuracy thereof can vary. 

How can I access Relay library articles through Google Scholar? 

You can set up Google Scholar to link to articles that the Relay library provides access to! Learn more about how to set this up here

If you find an article on Google Scholar that you can't access through the Relay library, email us at! We can request the article for you via Interlibrary Loan. Please include as much information as possible in your request (including article title, author, journal title, volume/issue, and/or a link or DOI). 

What features does Google Scholar offer? 

Google Scholar offers a lot of search and filtering options, including an Advanced Search that allows you to search for words or phrases in the title or the full text; search for articles by a particular author or published in a particular journal; or filter by a particular date range. It also allows you to "Favorite" articles and save them to your personal article library. However, there are two particular features that we'd like to highlight that you might find most useful when using Google Scholar: the "Cited by" feature and the Author Profile page

"Cited by"

Google Scholar indicates how often an article has been cited in other articles. This can be helpful if you're looking for seminal works or other articles that are well-known and well-read within the field. Articles that have been cited more often are typically credible and reliable sources (although it's always important to critically analze and consider the articles that you are reading!). 

If you click "Cited by", you can view all of the articles that have cited this particular article. This can be useful if you're searching for similar articles, or if you want to find more recent articles on a similar topic. You can also search within citing articles - this can be helpful if an article is frequently cited (such as the example above) and you want to filter or narrow down the results. 


Author Profiles

Authors sometimes have profiles that list information about them (such as where they work or teach and what their research specialty is) as well as a list of articles that they have authored or co-authored. You can click on the author's name to access their profile page

Author profiles also frequently include keywords associated with the author's work - you can use these keywords to help find articles on similar topics.