Research Guides

E-Research Basics

Simple how-tos for the first steps of finding materials through the GC library's website.

In This Guide: The Basic Basics

This guide is meant to acquaint you with the basics of doing research in the Graduate Center's electronic holdings. Here you'll find information about logging in for remote access, deciding on and searching within a database, locating specific articles and doing broad exploratory searches, determining whether the GC has access to a particular journal, and more. Feel free to check out our FAQ page, which answers common questions. 

If you have another question, feel free to get in touch with us via live chat or email! We're happy to meet with you. 


Logging In for Remote Access

For remote access to most of the library's electronic resources, you will need to log in with your Graduate Center Network ID and password. This is a unique username/password: it is different from the CUNYFirst username, and not the same as your email address. 

Your GC network ID is the same as the first part of your GC email address, usually your first initial followed by your last name. (There may be a number at the end of your username if there are multiple GC affiliates who share the same first initial and last name: Adam Smith = asmith or asmith4). 

If you are uncertain of your GC network password, you can reset it with the self-service password reset tool or contact IT Services at ( To use this tool you will need your EMPLID and the secondary (non-GC) email address you have on file. The network password is not necessarily the same as your email password; changing your network password will update your email password to match, but changing your email password does not update your network password. [Please note: If you are from the School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU), you can contact the HelpDesk at:].

You will be prompted to enter this username and password when you first click a link to a database, article, or e-book. 

Digital Research Techniques

In looking for or within any type of library resource--database, electronic journal, e-books--there are a few techniques that are always useful.

Work with Keywords

Your first search term or terms may not bring up the results you expected. You should expect to run any search a few times with variant words in order to find the most relevant results. For example, "e-sports" and "competitive digital gaming" might return different but overlapping or complementary sets of results.

Fewer words will give you more results, though those results may be less germane. Conversely, more words will make the results list more specific but also shorter. Compare, for instance, a search for "weather" with one for "tornadoes United States Midwest."

Use Filters

Individual databases as well as the OneSearch catalog offer ways to filter your results list if you have too many or insufficiently relevant results. Usually located in the left or right sidebars, these limiters can include full text, date range, subject area, material type, and so forth.

Try Multiple Avenues

Journals are often found in more than one database, so if you have trouble accessing an article via the first place you find it, you can look up the journal title, then use the databases to browse the journal and find the article. This is particularly useful if you are looking for a specific item but can't get to it through OneSearch.

Keeping Track of Your Research

The option that we recommend is to use reference management software such as Zotero, RefWorks, Mendeley, or a similar program. This kind of software allows you to accumulate a bibliography (or bibliographies) on your own computer, with not only item metadata but also links to the resources (and often the resources themselves) held locally.

Other Options 

If you are logged into your OneSearch account, you can keep a list of resources you find by pinning them. This will, of course, only allow you to pin items that are in the library's catalog. You will also lose those lists when you graduate from the GC and no longer have active access to the GC network.

Database providers offer you the option of creating accounts within specific platforms, such as JSTOR or EBSCO, where you can keep lists and sometimes folders of resources you find. This can be cumbersome since you won't have a single, unified collection of your research. As with the OneSearch option, your access to the GC's databases will end when you leave the GC, and though your individual accounts may persist, those resource lists will no longer link you to the full text of the items.


Reference Desk

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Reference Desk
The Reference Desk is located on the 2nd Floor of the Mina Rees Library, and there are many more ways to get help with your research.