Research may begin with a question, topic, or an idea. To contribute new knowledge to a field or discipline, researchers will often begin by reviewing what has already been published. Much of an academic library's purpose (our collection and expertise) is devoted to collecting and preserving the academic, scholarly record. Libraries provide access to reference materials (e.g. encyclopedias, handbooks, reviews) so that scholars can quickly:
1. Gain background by using materials that summarize existing knowledge: reference materials, indexes, and reviews.
2. Begin to build a list of relevant resources for that topic [a literature review] cited (or referenced) in these materials.
Engage with us! UCLA Librarians specialize in subjects or academic programs (e.g. Anthropology, History, Gender Studies), formats (e.g. film, maps, digital library, or archival materials), or regions (e.g. Middle East or Latin America). Librarians work together as a community to support interdisciplinary scholarship. We often send email messages with our contact information to UCLA departments to introduce ourselves. UCLA researchers can tap into our network of expertise by contacting a subject expert or by visiting the reference desk at one of our libraries.