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Last Updated: Jan 22, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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How to Use this Guide

So you're looking for information about physics?  You've come to the right place.  This guide will help you navigate the frequently confusing yet highly rewarding world of research.  It is separated into five categories:

  • Books: Use this tab to learn how to find books and start searching for books in our catalogs.
  • Articles and Databases: Go here to see which databases are best for physics, search for a specific journal or for a specific article.
  • Websites: This page contains websites selected by the library experts. 
  • Handbooks, Dictionaries, etc: Check here for reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias that are specific to your subject.
  • Search Tips: Find all sorts of search tips that will help you find exactly what you need.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to meet with a librarian about your specific topic, email

Create Your Library Accounts

We recommend creating your two library accounts before you begin researching to increase efficiency when researching. You'll need the accounts to request books and articles from other libraries.


Read These Tips Before You Start

Librarians often find themselves repeating the same research tips when they meet with students and faculty.  Taking a few minutes to read this list of helpful hints could save you tons of time when you are searching.

1. Always start from the library website or this guide when you want to access a database.  Most databases need to know that you are authorized to access their materials.  When you go to a database's web site it will not be able to identify that you are an approved user.  When you go through an IIT library page you will be able to authenticate correctly and use the database right away.

2. Spend a few minutes test driving a database you've never used before.  Check out the help guides, try a few searches, and see how this database may be different from ones you've used before. 

3. Most databases don't search the way Google searches.  Entering a long phrase such as "how computer automation is used in federal government" in one search box doesn't usually work in a database.  Check the database's help section to learn how to best search that particular database.

3. There is no one perfect search.  Try many searches in many places to find what you are looking for.

4. Take advantage of any "folders" or "lists" available in the database or library catalog.  Use these to keep track of articles or books you will want to read later.  The URL at the top of the page is often a session-specific URL, meaning it will only work that one time. 

5. Does the library not have immediate access to the article or book you want?  We can get you nearly every book or article you want to read using our I-Share catalog for books or MyILL for articles.  These are fast and free services.  Use the box above to create your accounts so you can begin requesting items.

6. Please let us know when you are having any troubles from choosing the best databases to fixing a dead link.  We can't help or fix it if we don't know there's a problem.  See our Ask a Librarian page to contact us by IM, email, phone or in person.

Subject Guide

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Carol DeBiak
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Paul V. Galvin Library
35 West 33rd Street
Chicago, IL 60616

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Phone: 312.567.3616   Fax: 312.567.5318   Email:


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