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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

CICS 305 Social Issues in Computing

Try Your Search in Multiple Databases

Using your concepts and keywords -- try a couple of different databases and resources!

Look critically at your results: How are they different or similar between platforms? How does the search function of each impact your results? 

ACM Digital Library

ACM Digital Library

Search Tips: 

  • Basic search default assumes OR between terms; use " " for phrase searching, or an OR relationship will be assumed. 
  • Advanced search default assumes AND between "Search Within" fields or OR within "Search Within" fields. 
  • Use the "Edit Query" option in advanced search to specify different combinations of terms (AND/OR/NOT). 
  • Use wildcards for truncation: * will look for multiple unspecified characters; ? will look for a single unspecified character. 

Register for a free account to: 

  • Save your searches
  • Create binders
  • Share binders
  • Create alerts

IEEE Xplore

IEEE Xplore

Search Tips: 

  • There are 4 types of search functions in IEEE Xplore: Global, Advanced, Command, and Citation. Use Global and Advanced for keyword searching. 
  • Global (default) search assumes AND between terms; use " " for phrase searching, or an AND relationship will be assumed. 
  • Advance Search can use AND/OR/NOT between and within search fields. 
  • Use wildcards for truncation: * will look for multiple unspecified characters at the end, beginning, or middle of a word; ? will look for a single unspecified character. Terms must have at least 3 characters to use wildcards. 
  • Search within results to narrow your results set. 

Register for a personal (free) IEEE Xplore Account to: 

  • Set search preferences
  • Save and manage research projects
  • Save searches and search history
  • Get email or RSS alerts 

Choose an Appropriate Database

The Libraries pay for subscriptions to many journals and databases, which gives you access to many resources that are otherwise behind a paywall for folks without access to a major research library. When you start your research with the Library, you are also starting in the right place, which saves you time!

Multidisciplinary and Computer Science-focused databases are excellent sources of articles to support your assignment. Try these databases first. 


  • Academic Search Premier
    Great starting point! Includes a variety of different resource types across disciplines, including newspapers, trade magazines, popular magazines, and videos, as well as academic peer-reviewed scholarship. Indexes 160 publications in Computer Science. 
  • Web of Science
    Index of peer-reviewed articles across disciplines, including 120 publications and proceedings in Computer Science.
  • Scopus
    Index of peer-reviewed literature across disciplines, including book chapters, journals, and conference proceedings in Computer Science. 


Computer Science:

  • Association for Computing Machinery Digital Library (ACM Digital Library)
    ★ One of the main venues for current research in Computer Science ★ Includes both the ACM Full Text Collection (all association-published books, peer-reviewed journals, and conference proceedings) and the ACM Guide to Computing Literature.
  • IEEE Xplore
    From the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, with access to publications and conference proceedings in computer science, electrical engineering, and electronics.
  • Engineering Village
    Comprehensive engineering database, includes articles and proceedings in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and more.
  • ArXiv
    Open access pre-prints in Physics, Math, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and more. Not peer-reviewed!

For this Social Issues class, if you want to explore different perspectives on a topic in computer science, the following discipline specific databases may be useful:


  • Business Source Complete
    Peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and business magazines, including the Harvard Business Review.  


  • Communication and Mass Media Complete
    Communication scholarly journals and trade journals, plus articles on communication topics from related disciplines, 1915-present.
  • ComAbstracts
    Abstracts of articles and books on communication theory, interpersonal communication, mass communication, advertising and marketing, broadcasting, journalism, public opinion, and public relations. Coverage varies - earliest is 1915-present.

Current events:

  • Science Daily - Computers & Math Section
    ★ A great resource to explore if you are still trying to define a research topic! ★ Current events in computer science. Will often point you to the original paper or source of information. 


  • ERIC (Education Resource Information Center)
    Education journal articles (EJ references) and ERIC documents (ED references), 1967-present.

Environmental Science:

  • GreenFile
    Scholarly, government, and general-interest articles on climate change, renewable energy, green building, sustainable agriculture, green building, pollution, recycling, education, law, health, and technology. Covers 1973-current.

Legislation and Public Policy:

Philosophy and Ethics:

  • PhilPapers
    Comprehensive index of research in philosophy, including an open access archive. The largest bibliographic index of the field. 

Psychology/Public Health:

  • PsychINFO
    Published by the American Psychological Association (APA), PsycINFO is the largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed journal literature in psychology, behavioral science and mental health - 2,500 journal titles indexed - 2.8 million records - 1887 to present.

Reference (background information):