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YSE Alumni Research Guide: Welcome

Help finding free and low-cost resources and databases

How to Use This Guide

Welcome! This guide is a companion to the more general Alumni Access Guide

This guide provides information on publicly accessible material related to Environmental Studies and is intended to be used by Yale University alumni, members of the public, or anyone interested in learning more about open access research material.

General Web Resources

These links provide access to books and other publications in the public domain.

There are hundreds of citation management tools available online, but these are three of the most popular. The basic versions of EndNote and Mendeley are free, though more options are available for a fee. Zotero, which is open-source, only charges for additional storage space.

Open Access? Public Domain?

Open Access and Public Domain are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Open Access or Open License refers to materials (articles, data, software) that are freely accessible to the public, but still protected by copyright. 

By comparison, materials in the Public Domain are not protected by copyright either because the creator waived their rights (as with the majority - though not all! - of the documents published by the federal government) or because the copyright has expired.

Why is it important to know the difference?

Remember, copyright still protects open access material, meaning that the copyright holder can still determine the ways in which their material can be used. For example, the copyright holder might stipulate that their work (often called intellectual property) must be credited in a particular way, or they might place a limit on the ways in which their work can be altered. No such protections exist for works in the public domain - though you should always acknowledge your sources.

For more information on copyright, see Copyright Law of the United States and the Yale University Library Guide to Copyright.

If you're curious...

Here's a list of intellectual property that entered the public domain this year (courtesy of Duke University)!

Social Science Librarian, Research Engagement

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Rachel Sperling
Marx Science and Social Science Library

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