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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Philosophy 435U3/G4: Social Philosophy

Guide to completing the library research component of your Research Challenge assignment.

Find a letter

The "easiest" way to find a letter for this assignment would be to use a digital collection called Electronic Enlightenment:

You can also find edited collections of correspondence by using the Library Catalog. The easiest way to locate these collections is to browse the name as a subject:

Then look to see if there's a heading for correspondence:

To search the catalog in this way, use the "Browse Search" interface:

Find a scholarly article or book chapter

To find a scholarly journal article or book chapter, we recommend that you begin your search in Philosopher's Index:

If you wish specifically to find book chapters, limit your search to document type "Contribution." To retrieve records for books, choose document type "Monograph." Document type "Journal Article" is probably self-evident.

You might also find relevant articles in ATLA Religion Index:

You can also find books in the Library Catalog:

Find an article in a reference work

There are three main encyclopedias for the discipline of philosophy:

Other subject encyclopedias of possible relevance include the following:

Biographical encyclopedias are similar to subject encyclopedias, except that people's lives are the subjects.

Some basic terminology

Article Index: An article index will usually have begun as a serialized, print bibliography (q.v.). It's similar to a catalog (q.v.) in that it comprises records that identify sources, but like a bibliography it lists sources whether or not they are available at the library where the article index itself is being used. If you find a relevant source in an article index, and it is not available here at the University of Illinois Library, then you can request the source through interlibrary loan.

Bibliography: A bibliography is, in its most literal sense, a list of books. Many students are familiar with bibliographies from writing research papers, where a list of works cited is sometimes called a bibliography. In libraries, bibliographies serve an additional, important function in helping patrons identify books, journal articles, and other library resources. These bibliographies are usually centered on sources about a particular subject, and such a bibliography is often a book-length work itself. Some bibliographies run to several volumes. A bibliographer includes sources without reference to the institution where that source is to be found, and some sources that appear in bibliographies are no longer extant in any library collection whatsoever. The Oxford Bibliography of Philosophy is an example of an outstanding bibliography.

Catalog: At its most basic, a catalog is an inventory of sources in a specific collection. Thus, the University of Illinois Library Catalog lists sources in our library collection, as opposed to the University of Chicago Library Catalog, which lists sources in that institution's library collection. A catalog comprises records that identify sources; when you search a library catalog, you are searching these records, not the actual sources they identify. Library catalogs should be used for the following tasks:

A catalog should also bring together records for works on a common subject under a single, standardized heading.

Encyclopedia: An encyclopedia summarizes knowledge in a field of inquiry. Expect to find "established knowledge" (current consensus) in an encyclopedia; an encyclopedia does not propose new ideas (that is the purpose of peer-reviewed, secondary literature). An encyclopedia will sometimes use the word "dictionary" in its title, and this denomination usually refers to the alphabetical arrangement of entries (though less common, some encyclopedias have a classified arrangement).

Contact us

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library

Or visit us in room 246 of the Main Library.