UCB Libraries


Resources for IAFS 4500: Arab Spring

Provides an introduction to finding library resources.


  • Starting Your
  • Finding Sources
    in the Libraries
  • Finding Sources
    in Databases
  • Interlibrary
  • Further

Getting Started


First things first. If you are off campus, you will need to configure VPN to access library resources.


Next: get ready to keep track of the sources you find. Chinook and many of the relevant databases include tools to export citations into RefWorks. If you are not using another citation manager (Zotero, etc.), you might want to set up an account. RefWorks can format your bibliography in Chicago Manual of Style format. For sticky questions, consult the online version of the manual.


A good way to start is to make a list of the types of sources (such as books, articles, encyclopedia entries, statistics, etc.) that you think you will need for the topic.


Reference resources such as encyclopedias can be a great place to start when you are developing a new topic. They can provide you with an overview and background information, summarize established knowledge and important facts, discuss key figures, and offer a list of recommended sources or readings.


Country profiles are also available from a variety of sources. In addition to these links Cornell Library has a nice guide to the Arab Spring with copious links to information.


+ Reference Resources


This small selection of electronic reference resources is intended to give you an idea how useful they can be.

General encyclopedias, such as Encyclopedia Britannica, can be found in the Reference menu of Find Articles and More


Discipline-specific encyclopedias and dictionaries are often found under the "Most Useful" or "General" subdivisions of subject areas. Example: Brill Online Reference Works under "Religious Studies--Most Useful".


Also useful: CQ Researcher


+Tips for Developing a Search Strategy

Before starting your search, break down your topic into discrete concepts that represent its major aspects. These concepts will be used to develop search terms, that is, significant words or phrases (nouns or noun phrases work best) that can be used when searching in online catalogs or research databases. Your search terms will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve.


Searching is an iterative process. You will probably need to test your strategies several times, refining them as you start to look at the results from the databases. Keeping a search log is a good way to organize the process.


+ Tips for Choosing Search Terms
  1. For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms:

    • synonyms (related terms)
    • broader terms
    • narrower terms
    The Search Strategy Process Worksheet can be quite helpful in helping you develop search terms for your own topic.

  2. You need to tailor the search terms to the type of material you are searching. When searching for:

    • Books and other larger units, broader terms tend to work better because the topics covered by books tend to be more general.
    • Journal articles and other smaller units, narrower terms tend to work better because the topics covered by articles tend to be more specific.
    • Full text of books or articles, narrower terms or even unique terms like names or places tend to work better because you are searching on the full text.
  3. Adding terms that represent geographical or chronological facets may be useful.

  4. If you get too many results, try using narrower search terms or add another facet to your search. If you get too few results, try using broader terms, synonyms or subtract a facet from your search.

  5. Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, e.g. using "19th century" AND "Victorian period", or using "Middle Ages" in the International Medieval Bibliography. This is a common reason for getting too few results.

  6. Keep a search log in which you note the databases you used, dates, and most relevant search terms for each.


+ How to Combine Search Terms




  • AND: taxation AND revolution AND colonies (must find all terms)
  • OR: revolution OR rebellion (must find one of the terms)
  • NOT: Massachusetts NOT Boston (must find first term NOT second term)



  • Phrases: “Stamp Act” (must find that phrase in that order)
  • Synonyms: (revolution OR rebellion) AND taxation
  • Truncation and wildcards:
    revolution* will find revolution, revolutions and revolutionary
    wom?n will find woman and women

How do I?


Finding Secondary Sources in the CU Libraries Collections


You can locate secondary sources for your research in the CU Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. Chinook is where you want to search for books, journals, microforms and other materials but not articles.


The Advanced Keyword search in Chinook Classic is the most flexible way to search for titles on your topic. Notice that you can specify available items, electronic version, language, location, and material type, among other limits.


Possible keywords: Arab Spring, Arab Awakening, Middle East Unrest, Middle East Uprising, Pro-democracy Movements Middle East, Revolution Arab World, Civil War, Social Media, Twitter, Democratization, Constitutions, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Yemen, etc.


+ Chinook Classic Searching Tips


The following tips will help you make the most of your Chinook Classic searching:

  1. From the full record of a relevant title, you can find similar titles by:

    • Looking at the Subjects listed and clicking on the links to find other titles in the catalog with the same subject heading.
    • Good subjects Starting Points for this topic include:

      • Arab Spring, 2010- (Looks good but this search will not retrieve all of the relevant material)
      • Country Name- History- (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Country Name Politics and Government (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Country Name Social Conditions (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Revolutions - Arab Countries (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Protest Movements - Arab Countries (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Democratization - Country Name (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Democratization - Middle East - (then scan down the list for the most relevant subdivision)
      • Social Networks-Political Aspects
    • Clicking on the "Nearby Call Numbers" button. This will allow you to virtually browse the collection by showing you what other titles would be shelved next to that one.
  2. Titles may have different locations in the CU library system, for example, Norlin Stacks, PASCAL offsite, or Norlin Library Periodicals Collection. If you are wondering where these locations are, click on the location link.
  1. You can use the "Request It!" button to:

  2. Requesting electronic copies:

    • You can order an electronic copy of a book chapter in a book we own through ILLiad.
    • You can order an electronic copy of an article in a print journal we own by clicking on the "Request a PDF (UCB only)" button in the record for the print journal (sample record).
  3. If an item is checked out or we do not own it, search the Prospector consortial catalog by clicking the brown "Search Prospector to find it in another library" button that appears on the left. You can order a copy of what you want online if is available to be loaned from another Prospector library. Circulation will contact you when it is available for pick-up.

  4. Click the "Find More Resources" button to look up a topic in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, search Google Scholar, or export a citation into RefWorks bibliographic management software (available to all CU students).



Finding Articles in Library Databases:


Use the Find Articles and More page to access databases by broad discipline. Many databases include features that allow you to restrict your search to scholarly resources.


Relevant disciplines might include the following. Expand the discipline area to select a subdivision of the topic.


  • General and Interdisciplinary (Academic Search Premier, CQ Researcher under "Most Useful)
  • History (Historical Abstracts under "Other World Areas-Secondary Sources")
  • International Affairs (Yearbook of International Organizations under "General")
  • News and Newspapers (Lexis Nexis Academic, Factiva, Keesing's World Archive under "Current Resources")
  • Political Science (CIAO, International Political Science Abstracts under "Other Countries/Non-US')
  • Religious Studies (ATLA Religion with ATLASerials under "Most Useful")
  • Statistics (World Development Indicators Online under "WorldWide (Data)")
  • Women and Gender Studies (Women's Studies International under "Social Issues")
  • Finding Full Text


Some results will have a link to full text and others will have the "Find It at CU" icon. When no full text is available, use this icon to search for full text in our collections, in either electronic or print, by searching Chinook.




For articles, be sure to note the citation information so you know what volume and year of the journal you are seeking. Your next steps in "Find It at CU" are:


  • Search for an electronic or print copy of the journal by searching Chinook by ISSN or Title under "Library Catalog"
  • If you do not find electronic but we own print, you can order an electronic copy by clicking on the "Request a PDF (UCB only)" button in the record for the print journal (sample record)
  • If we do not own either, order an electronic copy from another library under "Articles", through ILLiad (document delivery/ILL). Please be sure to indicate a realistic date by which you can last use the material.

Books, Book Chapters, DVDs...


Do a Title search in Chinook to see if the CU Libraries hold it.


  • You can order an electronic copy of a book chapter we own through ILLiad



Unless you are doing comprehensive research on a topic, it will probably not be worth your while to pursue the loan of a dissertation. If you're interested in looking at the abstract, and potentially a preview of the first pages of a dissertation, you can search ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.


If we do not have the material in question, order through Interlibrary Loan by visiting this page.



You can make requests for any item we do not hold through ILL. Visit this page for your basic ILL options. Please note the decision to loan items is up to the holding library. How much time it takes to fill the request can range from 24 hours to 3 weeks, depending. Articles and book chapters are generally faster than books.


The ILLiad interlibrary loan system is used to make requests:

  • Log in using your Identikey, and submit the required information. Also, the more of the non-required information you can provide the easier it will be to expedite your request.
  • The first time you log in you will need to fill out your contact information.
  • If you enter ILLiad from a database like America: History and Life, it will often supply most of the required information automatically.
  • Specify a realistic "Not Wanted After Date". If you order an item and do not use it, the Libraries will have to pay for the loan anyway.

Still need help after trying the strategies listed on this guide? Or can't figure out how to use a particular resource? Here are some options for further assistance:


+ From the Libraries


  • How Do I...? helpful web guides on a variety of research-related topics

  • Ask Us! email, chat, text, and phone reference services are available extended hours

  • Walk-up reference services at the Research Desk on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library as well as at some branch libraries (see "Hours Staffed")


  • Contact Government Information at govpubs@colorado.edu or 303-492-8834 to make an appoint.
  • Request a research consultation at least a week in advance