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Literature Research

A comprehensive literature research and reception is the groundwork for every good paper (Hausarbeit). But how does one find all the books, articles, conference contributions and online publications that are important for one’s own questions?

Usually a simple online search helps quickly because these days a lot can be accessed online. Authors often give free access to their publications through Academia.edu or Researchgate.net.
A second source is the online catalogue of the university since all the collections of all institutes are united here and detailed information about the number and location can be found.
A list on digital catalogues can be found under „E-Learning“ It is suggested to try different keywords. If one is interested in i. e. the Latène Culture, „Celts“, „celtic tribes“, „La Tène”, “Latène”, “late preroman Iron Age”, “Europe 4000 BC”, “Age of Latène”, “Latène Culture” can be used as keywords. If the name of the author is already known, one can also search for this directly.
So-called file-card boxes (Zettelkästen) can sometimes still be found in some (few) libraries. This refers to an outdated file-card system where one can only search for the name of the author. In some instances, though, it is worth using it because not all holdings are always digitized and therefore not to be online.
Another starting point for the analogous research are journals that are concerned with the sought for region or time. Register volumes are available, so that one does not have to go through all volumes of the journal: All articles of the journal that have been published before a certain date are listed here by the author.

If one has found a book or an article on the sought for topic, it is recommended to check the literature bibliography at the end first. Here, recent publications on the topic are of most interest because often the most important works on the topic are given first. By doing this, a good overview on the topic and the its literature can be gained.
The nice thing about the research in real libraries is that one is standing in front of book shelves and is able to browse through them! If one has found an interesting book, other interesting and relevant ones are often rather closely located to them.
Talking about the topic with fellow students can also be beneficial. Maybe they already have experience with the topic or have some tips for the research. Always try to aim for a comprehensive research on the existing literature. You will not have to read but it would be suggested to evaluate the texts by skimming and to take the most important information into account.

Don’t be afraid of foreign-language literature! Many things can be understood and thus practiced. English and French literature are part of studying but even Italian and Spanish are easier to understand than one might think at first.