Answered By: Greg Szczyrbak
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2016     Views: 532

Using Library Search--The Basics!

  • From the library's home page, enter keywords or phrases in the empty search box near the upper left of the screen (directly above library hours).Library Search with Brief Instruction

    • Note, you can also enter natural language searches, such as "Why is the sky blue?"

    • Click on the gold Search button.

  • The next screen that appears is divided into three columns, with the widest one in the center showing a numerical listing of results.

 Library search results screen with three columns labeled: left, center, right


  •  Right Column

    • This column lists more databases and electronic resources that can be added to the material to be searched. Select a database or source to add results from that source.

    • Mousing over the dialog cloud icon   will reveal the breakdown of results from the different databases and other items included in the search.

  • Center Column

    • Results appear in a numbered list according to relevance as determined by a a relevance formula.

    • The icon following the number respresents the format of, or type of, information source, such as Academic Journal, News, Report, etc.  Academic Journal Icon

    • The title of the item or document is a link.  Click on this link for more details including full publication information as well as Subject Headings that apply to the item, author affiliations, an abstract, etc.

    • After selecting a result item to view, you can print, save, email, add to an EBSCO folder, or learn how to cite the source.

    • To obtain a full-text version of an item in your results list, look for an icon and link to one of the following:

      • Pdf Full-Text--provides direct link to full-text using Adobe Reader

      • Request It! or Request It! (E-ZBorrow)

      • Find it @ Millersville

      • HTML Full Text or Linked Full Text--provides a direct link to full-text

      • Retrieve Full Text or Retrieve Item--may or may not provide a direct link to full-text

    • If you item only has the Request It! or Request It! (E-ZBorrow) link, you do not have a direct link to a full-text version.  Please see the "How do I use Request It to get a full-text article?" question/answer provided by this service.
    • If you click on a Find it @ Millersville, an article linker service will attempt to establish a link for you to the item in full-text, but if it is unable to do so, you may be instructed to use Request It or Request It (E-ZBorrow)
  • Left Column

    • The left column of the results screen in Library search or any EBSCO-facilitated search presents options for narrowing (or expanding) your search.

    • Three main ways of narrowing your search in ways that will most likely reduce the number of titles in your results list are...

      • By selecting full text to only show items with direct links to their full-text versions

      • By selecting Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals which would cause the display of only articles from scholarly journals.  For more information on the characteristics of a scholarly journal, see....

      • By adjusting the publication date to limit the results to only itmes published within a specified date range

    • Changing your search using the subject-related modifiers.  These can help to focus your search because when you add subject terms from the pull-down menu suggestions, you are changing the search so that it places more weight on the term(s) identified as subjects.  After you make a selection from the pull-down menu, click Update to see how your results change. 

      • Subject: Thesaurus TermSubject Search Expansion Menu

      • Subject: Major Heading

      • Subject

    • Even more options

      • Based on the content of your search, EBSCO provides additional options for other ways you can change your search.

      • Examples include by Publication, Company, and Content Provider

  • Still unsatisfied with your results? You can always go back to the original search box and enter different keywords or use the Ask a Librarian service for more help.

  • Another option is to go back to the top of the page where it shows your initial search and click on advanced search, which shows you more than one search box with adjacent "Select a Field" boxes.  Adjusting these can make your search more focused.  Again, use Ask a Librarian for assistance.

Library Search gives you countless ways to conduct a search and to change it while in progress.  This answer represents some (but not all) strategies you can try!