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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Applying to Graduate School: Other Library Resources

A guide on UIUC Library resources and tools to help guide recent graduates through the application process.

Essential Library Resources

Easy Search

  • Top search box on CPLA Virtual Library Homepage 

  • Good for searching a wide number of resources at once. 

  • Not the best tool for specific subjects.  

Library Catalog

  • The main search engine for finding books, journal articles, & databases.  

Journal & Article Locator

  • Great for finding a specific article. DOI: Digital Object Identifier:  

    • A persistent link that will lead to a stable version of a document.  


  • Search from over 400 general and subject-focused scholarly databases. 
  • Search by discipline, topic, or library. 

Tips for Searching Databases

  1. Use keyword combinations rather than specific phrases

  • Academic databases often don’t behave like Google, where the results become more refined with larger search terms. You will often want to use a few keywords related to your article and then filter search results using the different tools available.  

  1. Booleans:  

  • AND: shrinks search results 

  • OR: expands search results 

  • NOT: Excludes following keyword(s) 

  1. Quotation Marks – use to expand keywords to phrases.  

  • i.e. “Natural Resources” will look for articles that mention the words together, where a search of Natural Resources without quotes will often search for “Natural” OR “Resources” separately.  

Research Guides  

  • LibGuides are a widely-used resource for aggregating subject-specific information and educating library-users on different resources available.  

Inter-Library Loan & DocExpress

Inter-Library Loan:

  • A tool to request print materials from other institutions.  
  • Obtain scanned copies of chapters or other print materials from libraries around the U.S.


  • A tool for requesting digital copies of scholarly articles held in print journals within the UIUC collection.  
  • Not used for articles from other institutions.