Sunday, September 13, 2015

EBSCO Discovery Service

EBSCO Discovery Search has a Google-like interface that provides quick access to resources in the ACC Library collection.  Not all of the library's resources can be accessed through the discovery service, but the vast majority can be. With this tool you can concurrently search the library catalog and library databases. 

Your result list may contain many different types of resources.  Each type has a unique icon to identify it.

If you are just starting your search and are not sure what kinds of resources you might want to use, you can begin a discovery search by entering your keywords in the “FIND BOOKS, ARTICLES, VIDEOS” search box.  

For a known-item search, you will want to use a specific resource.  

If you know the title or the author of a book, if you are looking for material your professor has placed on reserve, or if you want a book, video, or other catalog item, select the Library Catalog Only button below the discovery search box.  

If your assignment requires use of a specific database, select the A-Z List of All Databases button, which will take you to a page where you can choose databases by title or by subject.  

The discovery search box performs a Basic Search.  Try to make your initial keyword search as precise as possible by using Boolean operators (AND, OR) or phrases (in quotation marks). Think about synonyms for your keywords and other meanings of your terms.  For instance, a "drone" can be an insect or an aircraft. Be as specific as possible.


You will find the number of items retrieved indicated at the top of your Result List like this:  Search Results: 1 - 20 of 8,406

Sometimes you will find a Research Starter at the top of your Result List.  Research Starters are Wikipedia-like 500- to 1,500-word summaries. They provide an overview of your topic, link to other Research Starter summaries, or to other works where you can delve deeper into your topic. Some professors may not consider Research Starters a type of source appropriate for citing in college-level papers, but the overview and links can help you focus your research.

To limit the number of results from a discovery search, try the Search Options or Advanced Search features. 

To use Search Options, just click Search at the discovery search box, then click on Basic Search on the next screen.  Click Search Options on the following screen and enter your keywords in the search box. 

You can then select items from the Search Options menu to limit or expand your search.
There are several ways to refine your search after generating a Result List.  

Click on the X icon to remove an item from Current Search and refresh your search results.


Apply limiters under Limit To or use options such as Source Types, Subject, Location, etc.--all found in the left column.  Click the "Show More" link when displayed to view all available options.


You can type in a Publication Date or move the date range slider to focus on specific years. Press Enter if your search results do not update right away. 

When refining your search results using limiters and other options, each item is added to Current Search at the top of the left hand column. 

You can add another term and restart your search or you can click on one of the subject links for an item in your Result List.  

You can sort your results by date.  The default sort is by Relevance--most closely matched to your search terms--but you may want to choose Date Newest or Date Oldest, depending on the direction of your research.

Review the items in your Result List and look at the abstracts (summaries) and subject headings.
View the detailed records of items in your Result List by clicking on item titles. Hold your mouse over the preview icon (magnifying glass) to reveal a brief version of the record.  You can preview the Most Relevant Pages from an eBook. 
As you look over your results, you can collect items you think will be most useful and place them in a folder.  Just click the folder icon next to each item's title.

If you email
yourself the folder contents, you can select a citation format from a drop down menu.  The computer will format citations for all items in your folder.  (Be sure to edit these computer-generated citations for accuracy.)

What are the advantages of using the EBSCO Discovery Service rather than searching a specific database or the library catalog directly? 

  • You can start big, then dig deep. A large result set, sorted by relevance, may have some good results on the first couple of pages.
  • Serendipity starts here. Find materials you might not have found otherwise, from resources you hadn’t considered using.
  • You don’t have to know where to look or which database to choose from a list of a hundred or more of them. The discovery search should select the most relevant resources.
  • Oftentimes, one search will find more than enough good resources for your assignment.

Librarians are always available to assist with your searches.  Just ask!

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