The best way to find books related to life in the universe — and your star — is to use the library catalog in conjunction with Google Books previews. The library catalog will tell you that we have something. A book preview helps you verify that it is relevant.
If you are not on-campus and need to interact with library materials digitally, keep in mind that:
In the library catalog, you probably won't find something about your specific star. However, you will find information about the general type of star you're interested in, along with information about stars in general.
The best way to use the catalog is not to look up keywords. The word star is used in many different ways — it describes celestial objects, celebrities, the state of being very good at something, and so on. Here, we will look at subject term searches in both Quicksearch Books+ and Orbis that will help you get to books about the right kind of star.
The best way to view all of the stars-related subject headings at once is to use Orbis. Either click on the link directly here or go to library.yale.edu and click on it in the Find, Request, and Use menu.
Once you click on the link to Orbis, go to the drop-down menu and select "Subject Browse." Type in the word stars and you will be taken to the results list — a place where you can browse by subject.
The results show the subject categories used for stars. You will see both relevant and irrelevant results. Clicking on any of the links will take you to the list of books held by the Yale Library that are related to the topic. Here are some images of what that looks like.
Quicksearch Books+ also supports searching by subject, but it will not give you the list shown above. Instead, Quicksearch is useful when you want to start with a specific topic and browse around the subject keywords to see what you want to check out. The best way to access Quicksearch is to use the main library website. The large search box in the center of the screen goes directly to Quicksearch when you type in a search.
To do a subject search in Quicksearch, do a basic search for the subject. Here, I have chosen "stars" because that is broad. When we search, we will start at the "everything" page that shows us snippets from all types of resources at the library. We want to click on Books+ just below the search box.
The subject search is hidden in the drop-down menu by the search box. We can switch to a subject search very easily.
From there, you can check a record and view the subject terms for a book. Many of the books in our catalog will also have a space on the right-hand side for you to view the preview in Google Books, which will help you make a decision about whether you want to check the book out. You can also make your Scan and Deliver request by clicking "Request scan of an article/chapter →" and filling out a form.
Many people find very useful materials by viewing books and clicking on their subject headings (the broader or narrower term — that's why, in the screenshot, there's a > between Stars and Structure. The latter is a narrower term). An example is shown below. Note that sometimes, new catalog terms are created to reflect that there are more books available in a specific topic area. Older books may not have had changes made to their records.
Google (or Google Scholar) are common places to start searching. The types of search operators (things you put in the box to structure a search a bit more) are the same in each.
One of the benefits of searching Google Scholar is the breadth of content. However, that is also its major shortcoming. When you search, you will find things from across all disciplines with no way to filter down to just the one you need. I recommend using Google Scholar in tandem with other tools (see the tabs for the ADS and other useful databases) to ensure that you can quickly find what you need.
And here's how you can string that together in a search — try it out!
The Astrophysics Data System is a tool used by everyone in the astronomy community, from undergraduates to professional astronomers to science journalists covering the field. It is an example of a subject-specific database — a tool customized for locating resources in a specific research area.
As a quick note, if you're looking for life sciences articles, I recommend going to the "Other Useful Resources" tab to take a look at other databases you can access.
The front page of the ADS contains useful examples of the types of operators available to users. You can also type in free text or view the ADS help files to learn more about the less common ones. (For the purposes of your star assignment, you will likely not need to use those.)
The results page has some interesting things that you may want to look at. There are filters on the left-hand side — these are useful! You can limit to peer-reviewed/refereed publications, which means that the article has been looked at by other scientists before publication. (Many professors ask students to limit their article use to peer-reviewed publications.)
You can also choose from SIMBAD Objects and NED Objects, which include the ability to limit to specific objects. (It's not human-generated, but based on text mining the astronomy literature corpus, so it sometimes misses things.)
The above is what you will see when you view a record. Note that there will be options for viewing the full text and related data products in the upper right.
Databases and Web Resources
National Academies Reports
If something from one of these reports jumps out at you, look at the citations for that section to see if there are academic articles that can give you more information. You can also explore the scientist bios in each report. These reports convene experts on panels to discuss and create important summaries, often at the request of Congress and government agencies. The scientists typically have a deep background in the area they have been asked to discuss within the group. Look up the authors in Google Scholar and other search databases.
Use the VPN!
To access online resources from a non-Yale network, you will need to connect to the VPN using Cisco AnyConnect. Instructions on installing the VPN software are available here.