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Check our COVID-19 Guide for updates on Library services and resources.


This guide will help you find information relevant to Biology topics.

Search the Library Collection

Search Tips

OneSearch: Find articles, books, & media

                                                        (Does not search all RDC resources; view exclusions)


RDC students, faculty, and staff can access RDC Library's physical collection by placing a hold in advance. Library staff will retrieve your item(s) and email you when your hold is available for pickup at RDC Library.

RDC students, faculty, and staff may place holds on NEOS library materials through the library catalogue, and may place requests for interlibrary loans. For up-to-date information on receiving NEOS holds, please see the COVID-19 guide.


NEOS Catalogue Search
Borrow books from other Alberta Libraries including University of Alberta for free! Learn more about NEOS.

RDC Digital Repository
Find scholarly and creative work by RDC faculty, staff, and students.

Use your Library Barcode Number and NEOS PIN
to access RDC resources off-campus

Search RDC

Articles can be found in newspapers, magazines, and journals (sometimes called periodicals).

An article database will show you which newspapers, magazines, or journals have articles on your topic. When you use an article database, it quickly scans thousands of issues of many different periodicals to find a match for your search terms. Databases can provide you with information such as:

  • Citation - the information that you need to find the article, such as the author, title, page number, etc.
  • Abstract - a summary of the article's content.
  • Full Text - the complete text of the article.

The Library provides several article databases. Which article database you should use depends upon your topic. To find the best database for your topic, use one of the Subject Guides.

Sometimes you may already have the title of an article that you want to find, or you may be wondering in which database a particular journal is housed. You can find out this information using the Find Journal Title tool.

You can also use Google Scholar to search for academic literature on many subjects. Google Scholar indexes scholarly literature including many peer-reviewed online journals.

Articles located at or licensed by RDC Library will display a Find It @ RDC link (if you are using Google Scholar on an RDC computer). Click on the link to be connected to the article in one of our databases.

Searching Google Scholar off-campus? From within Google Scholar, click on "Settings", then "Library links" (on the left side of the screen). Search for "Red Deer College Library" in the box, then select the options you want.

Books & e-books may be found physically on a shelf at RDC, online, or at another library.

Like most academic libraries, RDC Library's collection is organized by subject using the Library of Congress classification system. When you find a book you like, look at the books around it and see if they might be helpful too.

Each item has a unique call number. To find out how to read a call number and find your book on the library's shelves, watch this!

Electronic books (e-books) are accessible through the Library Catalogue, rather than having a call number:

When you find an e-book in the Library Catalogue, look for the Red Deer College Access link:

Access is limited to students, staff and faculty at Red Deer College due to licensing restrictions. If you are off campus you will need to enter your NEOS barcode and PIN to access an e-book or other licensed resource.

You may start with a very broad topic, for example, marketing.  Soon, however, you would find there is way too much information on this subject.

To make the topic more manageable, think of some aspect of the general subject of marketing that interests you, for example:

  • Corporate sponsorship in colleges
  • Greenwashing
  • Marketing to children

Let's say that you are interested in marketing to children ...

You could further narrow that topic by choosing a sub-topic such as:

  • a specific item  e.g. marketing fast food
  • a location  e.g. marketing in Canada
  • a specific medium  e.g. marketing on television
  • a population  e.g. marketing to boys or marketing to girls

When doing research, your chances of finding relevant information can be improved by brainstorming and selecting good search terms or keywords. Keywords are:

  • typically nouns
  • the main points of your topic

Take a look at your research question or statement and note the main terms.

E.g., What is the effect of sleep deprivation on the grades of post-secondary students? (Words highlighted in green are the main terms.)

Then think of synonyms or related words:

  • Sleep deprivation: sleep disturbance, sleep difficulty, sleep loss
  • Grades: academic achievement, academic performance
  • Post-secondary students: college students, university students

Be sure to consider:

  • alternate spellings
  • abbreviations
  • plurals
  • synonyms
  • alternate scientific or technical terms

As you research your topic, make note of relevant search terms that you come across along the way.

Most library catalogues and article databases will let you search by subject. The advantage of subject searching is a more focused search. However, when you start, you likely will not know what pre-determined subject terms describe a topic.

For article databases, look for "Subject Terms" or a "thesaurus," or check the Help menu to find out if there is a specialized set of subject terms used.

Here are some examples of database subject terms generated from a search for "marketing to children":


And here is an example from the RDC Library Catalogue:

A good strategy for subject searching is:

  1. First, use your own terms as a keyword search.
  2. Look at the records retrieved for the search results that are on your topic.
  3. Jot down any good subject terms that are listed and use them later in subject searches, or click on the linked subject term.

A subject search can be especially useful for finding out about authors, rather than finding works by the author. E.g., books or articles about Oscar Wilde rather than works by Oscar Wilde.

Choose a Subject search vs. a Keyword search in the Library Catalogue or an article database to see the difference.

Broaden or narrow your search by linking together two or more terms using connectors like AND, OR, and NOT.

AND narrows a search; you get fewer results because both words must be present in the records found. Use AND to combine different concepts in one search: computer AND history.

OR broadens a search; you get more results because OR looks for each of the words separately, as well as all words when found together. OR is often used to link together related words: teenager OR youth OR adolescent.

NOT narrows your search; you get fewer results because it excludes terms from your search: pluto NOT Disney

Use parentheses to group concepts when you use two or more connectors. Like in a math formula, the search engine will search for keywords in the parentheses before the rest of the keywords.

Example: alcohol AND (adolescents OR teenagers)

This search will retrieve records on alcohol and adolescents, as well as records on alcohol and teenagers.

Adding a truncation character to the stem of a word will tell the search engine to find that stem plus anything that comes after it. Example: childwill return records that contain child, childhood, and children. This saves you time when searching, since you don't have to search for child, childhood, and children separately.  

You can sometimes use truncation in the middle of a word, too. Example: wom*n or wom$n will return records that contain women and woman.

Tip: The symbol used to truncate a word depends upon the search tool you are using. Check out the help feature of the specific tool to find out if truncation is supported and what symbol to use.

When you want specific words to appear together in your search results, put quotation marks around the phrase to be searched. E.g., "women in advertising"

Key Biology Resources

Use your Library Barcode Number and NEOS PIN
to access RDC resources off-campus

Find Streaming Videos

Find Databases & Journals by Title

Interlibrary Loans & Other Libraries

RDC Library can bring in items from libraries across North America for you. Use your Library Barcode Number and NEOS PIN for requests.

Use your Library Barcode Number and NEOS PIN
to request items from other libraries

Off-Campus Access

To access databases and e-books off-campus, enter your 13-digit iCard barcode number and your NEOS PIN when prompted.

Get help with your barcode or PIN

RDC iCard

Alternate option: 
Use VMware virtual desktop software to access library resources. Learn how by reading our FAQ