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PolyU Library

Resources for CAR Subjects

Your starting point in finding information and resources for Cluster Area Requirements (CAR) subjects

Starting your search

Here is an overview and step-by-step guide to help you get started on finding various resources for your CAR term papers. We also introduce some search tips to help you get more relevant and precise results whether you are searching Library's OneSearch, databases, or on Google.

Find Definitions & Related Keywords

To get an overview of a topic or the definition of a subject, start from reference books like handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Do a quick search to find definitions and related keywords for further research.

Credo Logo

Credo Reference is an online reference library, providing access to millions of full-text articles and images from reference books covering a broad range of subjects.

Find Books

Books are great to get the whole picture or context of a subject. You can find e-books with the following steps:

  1. Select Books & Media + from the top bar.
  2. Keywords search is the default setting in OneSearch. You can change it to Title search, Author search, ISBN search, etc.
  3. Input the search terms and press on the SEARCH button.

  4. Show results with e-books only by clicking on the filters of Books and Full Text Online from the sidebar.
  5. Access the full-text online via the link provided. Login with your NetID and NetPassword if you are accessing off-campus.
  6. Limit the range of publication date here if you wish.

To find e-books by platforms, click here.

You can find print books from OneSearch with the steps below:

  1. Select Books & Media + from the top bar.
  2. Keywords search is the default setting in OneSearch. You can change it to Title search, Author search, ISBN search, etc.
  3. Input the search terms and press on the SEARCH button.

  4. Show results with print books only by clicking on the filters of Books and Physical items.
  5. Click on the link to check the loan policy and availability. You can request a book if it is currently on loan.
  6. Check the book location by clicking on LOCATION. You can then pick up the book from the shelves with the call number provided.
  7. Limit the range of publication date here if you wish.

You can also borrow a print book from other UGC libraries via HKALL. Learn more from here.

If a print book is currently on loan, you can request the book (which means placing a hold to reserve the book) with the steps below:

  1. Sign in with your NetID and NetPassword.
  2. Click on Request.
    request books
  3. Click on REQUEST again to confirm. The message of Request placed will be shown. You will then receive a pick-up notice later when the requested item is available.
    Request books


Notes: You can only request items that are on loan. Item available on the bookshelves is not requestable.

Alternatively, you can try to borrow the unavailable book from HKALLLearn more from here.

HKALL is a shared platform by 8 UGC-funded university libraries in Hong Kong. Eligible users can request a book from other libraries if PolyU do not have that title, or when the copy in PolyU is not available. The book will then be delivered to our Library in about 2-3 days for pick-up. 

To request a print book via HKALL, you may follow the steps below:

  1. Click on Other Hong Kong Academic Libraries (HKALL).

  2. Conduct a search in HKALL.
  3. Click on the book title that you would like to request.

  4. Sign in with your NetID and NetPassword in order to show the HKALL Request button.
    If you cannot see this button, it means that the book cannot be requested via HKALL with either of the following reasons:
    1. The print book is currently available in PolyU. You cannot request an available item in our collection via HKALL. 
    2. The print book is currently unavailable in other UGC-funded libraries.
    3. The available print book in other UGC-funded libraries is limited to their own users only. You may still access the book via your JULAC Library Card.
    4. The item you would like to request is not a print book. Please note that you cannot request ebooks or other e-resources via HKALL.
  5. Click on the HKALL Request button.

  6. Click on REQUEST. The message of Request placed will be shown. You will receive a notification email to pick-up the book from our Service Counter, normally within 2-3 working days. You can always check the progress of item(s) requested from HKALL via MyRecord if you wish.

Notes: You can only request a print book from HKALL if the item is unavailable in our collection.

Each physical item is labeled with a call number, which contains both letters and numbers representing the source's location in the library, e.g., TX911 .V33 2019. Books on the same subject will be placed in the same range on bookshelves. When you search a print book through OneSearch, you will get a call number, which tells you where you can find the book.

Call numbers can be divided into 4 rows:

  • The first row is simply sorted in alphabetical order.
  • The second row is sorted in numerical order.
  • The third row consists of a character and a set of numbers.
    The character is sorted in alphabetical order; The set of number is sorted as decimal numbers.
  • The last row represents the publication year, which is simply sorted by the year.

Below are some examples of the rules mentioned above:

Notes: Large books which cannot be accommodated on the normal shelves are kept at the end of the collection in each Wing. The word [QRT] beside the call number indicates large book. E.g. [QRT] TX911 .A84 1995 is shelved after books with class nos. T to Z on Gound Floor North Wing.

Find Articles

Google Scholar vs OneSearch vs Databases

Read journal articles to understand the current development of a very specific topic. Each article details scholarly research on a particular topic published in a subject-specific journal. 

Generally, there are three ways to find articles:

  • Google Scholar is a quick search tool when you have an article title in hand, but not very convenient when searching by keywords - too many irrelevant and non-scholarly results.
  • OneSearch is a one-stop search of local and remote resources Library has, most of them being scholarly materials. You may still find too many results when your keywords are not specific enough.
  • Directly search in a Database if you have a concrete subject to research, try search articles in a database. A database is usually a collection of journals, and each journal is a collection of articles. Some databases focus on a specific subject area, e.g. IEEE Xplore covers articles on electrical and computer engineering, and Medline mainly covers biomedical literature. 

To search for articles with a specific title or some keywords from the Library, you can:

1. Select Articles tab.

2. Choose the field you would like to search for (e.g. Keywords & Title)

3. Type in the related information and conduct a search.

4. Filter the results to see Peer-reviewed journals, by Type, Date or Subject...etc. (If appropriate)

5. Click on Full text available and then select one source to get the full text.

To get the full text of the articles found in Google Scholar, it is recommended to access via Google Scholar@PolyU, so that PolyU eLinks will be shown for the articles within our subscription for you to access the full text even you are off campus.

1. Choose Articles tab from Library homepage.

2. Click on Google Scholar@PolyU. (Login with your NetID and Password for off campus access)

3. Search for your desired topic/ title and click on PolyU eLinks to get the full text for those within Library's subscriptions.

Search in a database

Searching within a database helps you narrow your search as the coverage of the database can be very selective. Some databases focus on one specific area, which can help you filter out the contents that are not relevant to the subject; some may cover peer-reviewed journals only, to ensure the articles covered are of certain quality. Almost all databases will provide an Advanced Search option, which allows you to search in a more precise way, e.g. search within article title, journal title, or subject terms (that are tagged to each article). This helps you find the most relevant results quickly and effectively.


Jump to see suggested databases for different CAR subjects below:

Search Tips

Boolean Operators (AND, OR and NOT)

  • AND combines search terms so that each result contains all of the terms. AND narrows your search.
    e.g.: youth AND drug finds articles that contain both youth and drug.

  • OR combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms. OR is often used to connect synonyms or similar concepts. OR broadens your search.
    e.g.: youth OR teenager finds articles that contain either youth or teenager or both.

  • NOT excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows it. NOT narrows your search.
    e.g.: drug NOT alcohol finds articles that contain drug but exclude alcohol.

Search Order of Boolean Operators

  • NOT AND > OR (in most databases, including OneSearch)
  • Use parentheses () if you need to override the order. 


  • youth OR teenager AND drug finds articles that contain either youth (only), or teenager and drug (both words are present);
  • (youth OR teenager) AND drug finds articles that contain either youth and drug (both words are present) or teenager and drug (both words are present).

Truncations & Wildcards

Truncations (*) and wildcards (?, #) are used to include different spellings therefore broadens your search.


  • comput* searches computer, computers, computing
  • colo?r searches color, colour

Truncation and wildcard symbols may vary by database. Check the Help page in the database to learn the symbols and operators that database supports. (or, google database name + "operator" to locate the search help page directly)

Phrase search with quotation marks ""

Phrase search is used to search the specific expression or concepts. Usually quotation marks "" are used to search the exact phrase. Phrase search narrows your search.


  • "knowledge sharing" searches only the phrase "knowledge sharing" and will NOT search knowledge creation and sharing (additional words in between) or knowledge shared

In some databases, quotation marks cannot be used with truncation or wildcards. e.g.: "knowledge shar*". Do check the Help page in the database to learn the symbols and operators that database supports.

Keyword searching Subject Heading searching

Keywords are natural language words or phrases that describe the search topic.

Keyword searching looks for the keywords in any field of the record (if not specified).

Subject headings are a group of "controlled vocabularies" that describe the content of each item. These controlled vocabularies are usually given by subject specialists or indexers.

Subject heading searching looks for the subject heading terms in the subject heading field (e.g. Subject, Subject Terms) of the record.

Commonly used subject headings include  MeSH and Emtree, both are used to search biomedical literature.


  • Subject heading searching helps you find articles by "meaning".
    e.g. search "knowledge management" by Subject returns results that may not contain the phrase "knowledge management" but discuss organizational learning (which is a related subject to knowledge management).
  • Some databases can recommend subject headings when you do a keyword searching. After that you may select appropriate subject headings to search again.
    e.g. EBSCOhost uses "Suggest Subject Terms".