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Welcome to the Library: Search Tools & Information Sources


With the tools around evaluating information, it is time to consider tools for finding information; information we should habitually read laterally and evaluate for quality.

Now let’s look quickly, just to get you started, at two general search tools in the COD Library -- the Library Catalog and the Article Databases.  Along with search engines (e.g. Google, DuckDuckGo), these are your primary electronic search tools. Each has strengths and each has weaknesses.  We should exploit the strengths of each.  An excellent researcher/professional uses all three.

Source Types

As you are searching for information for a variety of research projects, you should be aware of the qualities and kinds of information sources that are out there.  Read Know Your Sources Infographic from Portland Community College Library to get a basic sense of them.  It is important to incorporate more search tools and kinds of sources into your habits.


Remember this is just to get you started.  You will meet and learn with many of the Librarians at COD through a number of courses you take for your degree.  In your classes with Librarians, you will get into more specifics and advanced ideas around information literacy and the discipline specific information sources associated with your course.  The lessons with Librarians tend to be focused on the research project for that course, but not always.  Ask questions.  If you are confused or uncertain at the beginning of a research project, that is just fine.  That means you are doing it right.

Please watch the 3 videos below to get a basic sense of your primary search tools.  Open a new browser and follow along if you like, starting here at the Library home page.

Explore the Library Catalog

Grab and Go Services Instructions.

Use this reference page to help with using the COD Library catalog.

Use Finding & Using Ebooks for extra help with ebooks.

Explore the Library Databases

Here is the Database Help page if you have any trouble accessing them.

Have trouble logging into Blackboard, MyAccess, AND the Library databases? Contact COD's Information Technology Help Desk to fix your credentials.

Better Google Searching

Some resources for creating better google searches.

From PC Magazine (Sept, 2020): 23 Google Search Tips You'll Want to Learn and the website

Also, you should try different search engines.  Try one of these: DuckDuckGo or Bing (Microsoft) or OneSearch (Verizon)

Looking for copyright-free images and designs for your project that you can reuse? Check out the Creative Commons search engine: CCSearch

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