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Ge/ESE 170: Microbial Ecology: Getting Full Text

A short guide to resources for students taking Ge/ESE 170 at Caltech.

From database search to full text document

Many of the databases we search for relevant literature do not themselves contain the full-text of the item we wish to read.

To connect between the database (such as Web of Science, NAL Agricola, or Energy & Power Source) and the full text document, we must rely on a combination of linking tools, library services, and  online resources. Most of the time the connection is reliable and straightforward; sometimes, though, one approach may not work so a back up plan is required.

This page covers the most reliable tools to use to get your full-text document. If additional assistance is needed, please do not hesitate to contact your Research Librarians at We will do all possible to get you the document as quickly as possible!

Caltech Connect

Whenever you're looking for articles in databases that don't give you full text, look for this icon, or the words "Caltech Connect," for help in determining whether we have access to that article.

Helpful tip: To add CaltechConnect options to Google Scholar results:

  1. Sign into (or create) your Google account and navigate to Scholar settings.
  2. Select "Library links" and search for "California Institute of Technology".
  3. Check the box next to "California Institute of Technology - Caltech Connect" and then click "Save".
  4. You should now see "Caltech Connect" on the right hand side of your search results.

Citation Linker

If you have a citation that you are trying to locate, and have any of the bibliographic info (DOI, author, journal title, year, etc.), use the Citation Linker to locate the paper.

Open Access

In both Google Scholar and Web of Science, there may be options to retrieve items that are freely available via Open Access. These items may be free from the publisher, free in a full-text repository (such as PubMed Central), or free through an institutional repository or other website.

Google Scholar will list links to the right of the search results. Web of Science will list any full text options as buttons next to the CaltechConnect button.

DocuServe - Caltech Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan

What Is DocuServe?

DocuServe is Caltech's in-house document delivery and interlibrary loan service. If you need a copy of a print article that we have in our journal collection, we can scan a copy and send it to you. If you need an article or book chapter that we don't have in our collection, we can obtain an electronic copy for you to use. If you need an entire book, and we are unable to purchase it, DocuServe will borrow a print copy from another library for you to use. Electronic copies do not need to be returned, but print items do need to be returned to Sherman Fairchild when you are finished using them.

How Do I Use DocuServe?

In order to use DocuServe, visit the DocuServe web page to register for an account. When you click on the CaltechConnect button, you will automatically be prompted to submit a DocuServe request if we do not have the item in our collection.

You can also fill out a request manually through the DocuServe interface using the item's citation information.