A couple of tips to get you started. The default search screen on the library home page is for UMA Worldcat. This database has been set up to search for not only books, videos, music, journals but also articles in databases that we subscribe to. It can be overwhelming and you really should use the advance search feature to narrow down your results.
In UMA Worldcat, you will see if UMass owns it (or if there is an e-copy), if a copy exists in the 5 Colleges, in the Boston Library Consortium or elswhere among the Worldcat member libraries. There are links built in to allow you to export data to your Refworks account or to request copy/loan through interlibrary loan.
Often there isn't a table of contents available through UMA Worldcat, or the Five College Catalog. If you want to see what is inside a book before you request it, there are a couple of options. One is always Amazon. The other is Google Books.
When you are trying to find out if UMass has a copy of a particular article or whether you need to request it through interlibrary loan, please remember that in the Library Catalog you need to search for the title of the journal/magazine not the title of the article. The same is true for articles that are published in edited books. Please search by the name of the editor or the title of the book not the article.