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What is Open Access?

Have you ever found the perfect article for your research, only to realize it’s behind a subscription paywall? If you are doing research from outside of The Claremont Colleges or another institution, you may not have access to resources which require a subscription for access. Fortunately, the increase in open access publishing means that a great deal of scholarly information is available without journal subscriptions.

Even for those of us fortunate enough to have access to subscription-based materials through our library, locating open access resources is helpful for finding articles or books that are freely available. Consider using some of the tools below to help you in your search.

Use Google Scholar to Access Library Subscriptions

Google Scholar uses a familiar interface to help you search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.

Connecting The Claremont Colleges Library to Google Scholar will allow you to find sources from our Library subscriptions as well as open access content typically found in Google Scholar.

Follow these easy steps to set up Google Scholar so that you are searching for sources in both our Library subscriptions and Open Access sources typically found in Google Scholar.

Please note: You will need to be signed in through CAS (central authentication system) before you get started.

  1. Go to Google Scholar and click on Sign In.
  2. After signing in, select Settings on the left side drop down menu.
  3. On the right-hand side menu, select Library Links and search for Claremont Colleges.
  4. Select “The Claremont Colleges Inc – ProQuest Fulltext” and “Open WorldCat – Library Search” – then click on Save.

Use Open Access Tools

The Library is committed to connecting the 7Cs faculty, students, and staff with sources for their teaching and research needs, whether we own or subscribe to the content or not.

Resource Sharing Service is able to provide access to scholarly content the library does not subscribe to or own.

There are also a range of new tools that have emerged in recent years to improve discovery and access to both subscription and open access (OA) publications.

Content behind a paywall means it requires subscriber authentication or payment to access the content. OA content, on the other hand is freely accessible to anyone. While the majority of scholarly publications are still published behind a paywall, the amount of literature published as OA at inception, or opened up by the author or publisher at some point after publication, is steadily growing. This shift has significantly expanded the variety of ways that reliable scholarly content can be accessed—even without a subscription. Read more about OA

Below are some of the powerful tools that can make your online research process easier and more productive:

LibKey Nomad: A browser extension (currently only available for Chrome). Once you add it to your browser it will automatically provide instant links to the full text of articles to which the Library subscribes or to OA alternatives (using Unpaywall data), as conduct searches and do research on the open web. After you install LibKey Nomad you will be prompted to select your subscribing institution. Select: “The Claremont Colleges Library”. Once you do this it will be saved and you’re all set. View some FAQs about LibKey.

unpaywall logo

Unpaywall: A service that provides an open and legal database of millions of free scholarly articles, harvested from over 50,000 publishers and institutional repositories. Unpaywall also has a Chrome/Firefox browser extension that will point you to open access versions of any articles you may be seeking either on a publisher website or in a tool like PubMed or Web of Science.

Open Access Button (OA Button): A site that serves the same function as Unpaywall and allows you to search for an article’s URL, DOI, title, or other information to find free and legal open access versions. OA Button also offers Chrome and Firefox extensions. Clicking on the extension button from a paywalled article initiates a search for that article and, where available, instantly delivers free access. When free access is not found, OA Button can contact the corresponding author directly to help them make a self-archived version available.

Search the Deep Web

What is the Deep Web?

There are many layers of information available online. The easiest way to imagine it is in three layers; the surface web (about 5% of information on the web), the deep web (about 90% of information on the web) and the dark web (about 5% of information on the web), which generally, one would avoid as it primarily deals in illegal activity. 

When you perform a search in Google, you are doing what is called a natural language search. This will typically only skim the surface web, including the links most clicked by users who also used the same search terms or phrases and the items which have been paid to be pushed to the top. 

infographic exploring the hidden internet
Photo Credit: Hacker Combat

If you want to search Google to find information in that deep web layer to find credible and reliable sources such as government records, white papers, scientific reports, legal documents, academic records and more, use some of these methods and tools:

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are a mathematical way to search across the Library catalog, databases, search engines and even for files on your home computer! It helps to find the most relevant results by narrowing your search, broadening your search, or eliminating something from your search. Since search engines and databases don’t speak our language we have to let them know that we want the operator to be recognized as a command, therefore, we need to always capitalize the operators. 

There are three Boolean operators: 

AND = Narrows your results

OR = Broadens your results

NOT = Eliminates something from your results (Please note that the NOT operator does not work in search engines. You instead will use a hyphen. Example: (“climate change” – news)

Truncation

Truncation allows you to search for multiple variations of a term without having to type all variations out in your search. To use this technique, you take the common part of the term and affix an asterisk to the portion which needs variation. 

It helps to understand how it works if you think about the connecting part of the word as a tree trunk (the trunc part of truncation) and the wild card or asterisk as the branches and leaves on a tree, finding all the variations.

Example: Canada, Canadian, Canadians, Canadienne, Canadiennes

Truncation Search: forestry AND Canad*

Exact Phrase Searching

Exact phrase searching occurs when you lock a term or phrase (two or more words that belong together) into quotes in order to find the exact words as they appear together. This is very helpful with author names, titles, latitude and longitude, acronyms, telephone numbers and more!

Example: “Edgar Allan Poe” AND “the raven” AND poem

To learn more about advanced search strategies, take our 10 minute, self-paced tutorial:

Search Strategies or watch the video, below:

Clark, Sarah. Online Research: Tips for Effective Searching. 2016

Advanced Search Techniques for Search Engines

Site Searching

While all of the search techniques above apply to the Library catalog, Library databases and the World Wide Web, site searching is something you can only do on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. 

You begin first by telling the search engine how you want to search, then where you want to search, then finally what you are searching. When you type out your search, it sometimes helps to see the search (also known as a search string) as a sentence.

Example:  site:.gov diabetes health facts

“Google, show me the results for ONLY websites that end in [dot]gov for information about diabetes health facts.”

You can also search other credible domains such as .edu and .org. However, be wary of .org as you may find sites that are credible (www.aclu.org) or other types of sites such as celebrity blogs. Use .com only for specific types of searches as it stands for commercial, which means that anyone can purchase the domain and may be using it to sell information or content. 

Using the site search is not limited to just the domain. You can also search specific sites for information straight from your search engine. 

Example: site:harvard.edu “ballast water” AND pollution

“Google, show me results from the harvard.edu website for anything that has the terms ballast water and pollution together.”

Explore additional tools (PDF)