EBSCOhost Databases


Contents of this tutorial:

1.) Description of EBSCOhost

2.) Accessing EBSCOhost

3.) Basic Searching

4.) Printing, E-mailing or Saving Records/Articles

5.) Getting Articles not Full-Text in EBSCOhost

6.) Advanced Searching

7.) Citing Sources Found in EBSCOhost

1.) Description of EBSCOhost and its Databases: USM Libraries purchase several databases from a company called EBSCOhost. These databases are used to find citations, abstracts and/or some full-text articles from journals, magazines and newspapers. To see a brief description of the EBSCOhost databases and years of coverage, click here - EBSCO Databases.

Click here to return to the library's Research page.

2.) How to Access EBSCOhost:

A. On campus access:
USM faculty, staff and students may access EBSCOhost through the library's Research pageby selecting "Databases and Web Resources by Subject" and selecting an individual EBSCO database title (e.g. Academic Search Elite) or all EBSCOhost databases can be displayed by selecting "Choose From All Databases (by title)" and "EBSCOhost."

B. Off campus access:
No adjustments to your computer are necessary to access library resources from off-campus. Simply go to the library home page at http://www.lib.usm.edu, select the resource that you need and type in your 10 digit ID (Empl# preceded by four zeroes) when requested. Note: Please be sure that your computer is set to accept cookies. If you are at work and your company operates a firewall, you may have trouble accessing USM Libraries’ resources via the library’s proxy server. Also, be aware that disabling pop-up windows may make it difficult for you to access some features of library resources.

Practice Session
1.) On the library's Research page to your right, locate “EBSCOHost” under "Choose From All Databases (by title).” Once again, this information will be located underneath the “Find Articles” section. (Note: If you are working off-campus, you will be first be taken to a screen asking you to verify your affiliation with USM. Enter your 10 digit ID (Empl# preceded by four zeroes).
2.) A list of EBSCOHost databases is displayed. You may search more than one database at a time by check-marking each database you would like to use. For our practice session, we're going to use 2 databases - "Academic Search Premier" and "MasterFILE Premier." Check-mark both of those and click on the "Continue " above "Academic Search Premier."
3.) You should now see a search screen with a " Find” box in the middle for inputting search terms. Take a moment to get familiar with the screen. Notice the options located under the green tab labeled “Refine Your Search,” which appears near the bottom of the screen.
4.) Notice also the 2 menu bars in blue and green above the "Find ” box. The top of the screen contains various options for changing or expanding your search. These options will be discussed later in this tutorial.

Quiz Question #1

1. Below the "Find" box are options for:
Limiting and expanding your search
Using a thesaurus
Other searches
Document Delivery

3.) Searching: Above the search box and above the green bar are 3 tabs for choosing your search type - Basic Search, Advanced Search and a tab to change and/or add Databases. The default option when opening up the EBSCOHost databases is actually “Advanced Search.” Along the green bar at the top of the screen are some search options which help you focus your search. These vary slightly depending on the features of the particular databases you are looking at, and may include items such as "Subjects," “ Thesaurus,” “Indexes,” "Publications," Company Info," and "Images. "

Basic searching allows you to combine words and/or phrases in order to find citations matching your terms. The database is not searching for a concept but only the words or phrases that you give it. As a result, there may be some citations in the search results that are not relevant. You may want to try a combination of synonyms in your search. Each combination will return different results. (Example: gun control and second amendment may give you different results than handguns and rights though both represent the same basic concept).

gun control and second amendment

university or college

titanic not movie

Words with no boolean operator between them (gun control) will be searched as a phrase. **Note: Do not use quotations, plus or minus signs in the EBSCOhost databases. You may use as many booleans and boolean combinations as you need, but be sure to use parentheses, when appropriate, around combinations

(college or university) and tuition increases

2.) Truncation: You may search a combination of word endings in Basic searching by using a truncation device. The truncation device in EBSCOhost (and most databases) is the asterisk (*). (Example: religio* searches for the words religion, religions, and religious).

3.) Limiters: You can narrow or expand a search in the keyword search screen by choosing options from the menu below the "Find:" box. These options may include limiting to full-text, limiting to a specific magazine or limiting to peer-reviewed journals.

Practice Session
For this practice session, let's do a search for information on abortion. If we keyword search for the word abortion only, we will get thousands of citations. It is important to add several keywords to help limit our search results to the type of information that is relevant to our needs. In this case, let's look for information about abortion law and how it relates to teenagers.

1.) In the "Find:" box, type the keywords for this search
abortion and law and teenagers
Be sure to join each word or phrase with AND. (You can type each term on a separate line, or type them all on the same line and add the word “and” – it does not matter). Click "Search."
2.) With these search terms, we get over 94 results. Though this is a good number, its not all of the records that we COULD retrieve since the computer is looking only for the words we gave it - teenagers, not teens or teenager - law but not legal or laws. Scroll up to the "Find" box at the top of the screen so we can revise our search terms.
5.) Type abortion and teen* and (law* or legal*), then click "Search." This has now expanded our search to over 256 items. The result screen will show the first 10. Links to pages containing the rest of the articles/citations are located on the top and bottom of the page.
6.) The main result screen only provides brief information about each article. To view the full information about the article, including a detailed summary or abstract, click on the article title (which is highlighted in blue. If the full-text of the article is available, the label " Full Text" appears beneath the citation. Click on "Full Text" to view the complete article. (You may also click on the article title to view a summary of the article to decide whether you are interested in it. A link to the full text of the article will also be provided on the summary screen).
7.) There are several types of "Full-Text" indicators - "PDF Full Text," " HTML Full Text,” or “Linked Full Text.” "PDF Full Text" is a scanned-in version of the article as it appeared in the original publication which must be viewed using Adobe Acrobat (available on the web as a free download). "HTML Full Text" contains the typed-in text of the article and does not require any special software for viewing. In some EBSCOhost databases you may see articles with the indicator "Linked Full Text." This means that the article is available full- text in another one of the 30 or so EBSCOhost databases owned by USM Libraries, and EBSCO has provided a direct link to the article in the other database.

Quiz Question #2
2. Truncating the word legal* will search for all the following words except:


4.) Printing, E-mail or Saving Records/Articles: You can print, email or save a number of selected records by clicking on the "Add" folder located on the far right of the records that you would like to keep. When you have all the record(s) you want, click on the link on the top right that says "Folder has * item(s)." Remember: An article has to have a Full-text indicator in order to print, email or save the article. If you email a record that has only a citation, only the citation will appear in your email.

Practice Session
Let's go through the process of printing a few citations/articles. We won't actually print, we'll just go through the process.

1.) Using the result list for our search on abortion, "Add" the first 3 items.
2.) Click on the "Folder has 3 items" option on the top of the EBSCO page.
3.) A list appears with the selected items. Click on the "Print" button next to "Delivery Options." On this page, note that there is a link below the box for "Estimating the number of pages" in case you want to know how long it is.
4.) Click on "Print." EBSCO has opened up a new browser window and reformatted the 3 separate citations/articles to one screen. At this point, you would use your browser's "Print" button on the top toolbar to print, but since this is just a practice session, click on the "Back" buttons until you are back to the "Results" page.

Quiz Question #3
3. True or False - Printing or emailing a record always guarantees that an article will be delivered to you:


5.) Finding Articles that are not Available Full-Text in EBSCOhost: If the full text of an article is not available through the EBSCOhost database, you can check the “Find It!” button beneath the citation for the article. The “Find It!” search engine: (1) first checks other databases at USM Libraries for a full-text version of the article, then (2) checks ANNA to see whether USM owns the journal. If those steps do not help you find what you are looking for, “Find It!” can also assist you in (3) performing a Google search for the article or (4) filling out a form to request the article through Document Delivery.

Practice Session
1.) In our search above, look through the list of citations. Look through the citation list and find one that is not full-text and has a yellow button labeled “Find It!”. Since the full text of this article is not available, it is necessary to check “Find It!” to see whether we can find either (1) an full- text online version of the article in another USM Libraries database; or if that is not available (2) a copy of the journal if it is actually owned by USM Libraries (so you can photocopy the article).

2.) Clicking on “Find It!” opens a new window with a menu of options. The options are different depending on the availability of the item. If “Find It! ” has located a full-text version of the item, you will be taken to a list of online issues which are available for that journal. (Note: Sometimes “Find It!” may take you to a publisher’s web page. If you are asked to pay for the article, do not do this – check with a librarian about options for obtaining a free copy of the article.

If “Find It!” offers you the option to check ANNA, a new window opens and “Find It!” performs an automatic ANNA search for the journal title . If a record appears with the journal title, USM Libraries does own the journal. Though we may own the journal, we may not own the volume and issue you need.

3.) To check the record in ANNA to be sure that we own the volume and issue you need, view the holdings within the record. If only one record appears on the ANNA screen, scroll down to view holdings information (under “Library has”). If a list of items appears for the same journal, this means that we own the same publication in several different formats (such as paper, microfiche, or online). Click on “Full Details” next to each record and scroll down the page to view what volumes/issues we own in that format and where they are located in the library. If there are multiple records for a particular format, you may have to look at several to locate the volume/issue you want.

If you see multiple records for a publication, you must look on the complete record (under “Full Details”) to see the years we own. On the complete list of records there is a single date listed beside the name of the publication; however, this date only indicates the year during which the journal first began publishing.

If you determine that USM Libraries owns the volume/issue/date you need for a particular journal, write down the complete call number and the location where the item can be found. You may have to scroll down the page to determine where a particular volume is located in the library.

4.) Close out the ANNA window by clicking on the "X" in the upper right- hand corner of the ANNA window.

Quiz Question #4
4. If the article is not available full-text within the database, you will first need to:

Click "Find It!" to check options for article availability
Call the public library
Order the article through Document Delivery Services
Give up your search

More on retrieving articles that are not full-text is covered in the "Retrieving Articles" tutorial.

6.) Advanced Searching in EBSCO:

A. Advanced Search:When you open up an EBSCOhost database, it is automatically set to Advanced Search. Advanced Searching gives you more than one search box that allows you to search a combination of individual fields (author, subject, title, keyword). It also gives you other "Limiters" to help narrow your search. Each database has a different set of limiters. Some limiters may include:

B. Subject Search: The Subject Search lists the information contained in a database alphabetically according to topic. You can search the subject list by entering your term in the box, selecting "Alphabetical" or "Relevancy Ranked" and then clicking on "Browse."

7.) Citing Sources Found in EBSCOhost: The "Online Help" in EBSCO provides assistance in citing its resources in 3 different styles: APA, MLA and Turabian. The "Online Help" icon is located in the blue toolbar at the top of the screen. This will give you a menu of items on the left to choose from.

USM Libraries provides online quick guides on APA, MLA, and Turabian citation formats. These are available on the library web site. Stop by the Information Desk in Cook Library if you would like a free printout of these guides.

There are several web sites which allow you to enter information about an article into an online form, and then the site auto-generates a citation in a particular style. You can experiment with sites such as the Calvin College’s KnightCite.

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Updated June 2005