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A Guide to Database and Catalog Searching: Advanced Features in EBSCO Databases

How to access and search library databases and catalog


EBSCO is an electronic information company with a database platform. Most NSU databases come from EBSCO and use its interface, so learning a little about the platform will make your database work more effective and efficient.

MyEBSCO Features

Most of these features are available in all EBSCO databases.  To use them, you must first register by clicking on the “Folder” link in the top right of the screen. After you register, log in to use the features.

My Folder– Be sure to log in to your EBSCO account before saving items in your folder. Otherwise, the folder selections made during this session will be deleted when you leave that session.

Saved Searches – After you have executed a search, look on the results screen for the blue “Search History/Alerts” tab.  Click this tab to see the options for saving and retrieving searches.  A saved search stays in your folder (if you are logged in) and is available for you to re-run at any time for updated results.    To view your saved searches, click the “Retrieve Saved Searches” link or go to your folder and click on “Saved Searches.”

Search Alerts – Sign up for an alert to be notified when new articles matching your search are added to the database.  to create an alert, click the  “Search History/Alerts” tab and the “Save Search as Search Alert” box. To view your search alerts, click on the “Retrieve Alerts,” link or go to your folder and click on “Search Alerts.”

Journal Alerts – Set up a journal alert to receive a notice when a new issue of the journal is available. To set up a journal alert, go to the “Publications” search, search for the title of a journal you are interested in, click the search button, then the title of the appropriate journal.  From here you can also browse specific issues of a journal or search within the publication.


Advanced Search Techniques

Advanced Keyword Searching

  • Use one or more search terms
  • Search by keyword, author, subject, journal title, etc.

 Refine Search--several options, including

  • Limit to full text
  • Choose an exact publication date or a range of dates
  • Search by type of publication
  • Limit to scholarly/peer reviewed journals
  • Limit by language – this is particularly helpful with international databases like MLA International Bibliography

Narrow Results by Subject – appearing on the left side of the results screen, these are subjects recommended by the database to make your search more specific.  These are recommended because they are the terms most commonly linked to your original search.  Click on a subject to add it to your existing search.

Publications – browse journal titles indexed in a database.

Subject Terms – a searchable list of terms designed to help you use the databases more effectively.  These are usually tied to the subjects assigned to articles. A thesaurus, major concepts, and major

Thesaurus – specific to a particular discipline or subject area, this is a list of vocabulary terms used by the database (and in the discipline) that will make your searches more specific and effective. 

Major Concepts  - uses the jargon or vocabulary of a specific discipline to make a search more specific and efficient.

Ask-A-Librarian – a quick email click. It will take you to a screen where you can enter your name, NSU email address, and a question or problem you are having with the database.  Leave the “Include Current Search history” box checked so we can give you the best assistance possible.  A librarian will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.