Craig Anderson here, at the beginning of what I hope to be a regular feature here at the Kean Library blog. As many of you have noticed, Kean University subscribes to a fairly bewildering number of online databases, full-text resources, and other periodicals. This resource review will be the first in a series of informative blog entries designed to get you familiar with our library resources. Whether you are a student, faculty member, administrator, or just a curious bystander, I hope that this series will be helpful to you
So let’s begin …
The EbscoHost databases are perhaps the most well known of our library resources, and with good reason. The Ebsco Corporation was founded by a man named Elton Bryson Stephens, who began selling magazines door-to-door in 19301. During World War II, Elton and his wife went into business selling magazines and other supplies to military personnel overseas. In 1970, leadership of the company went to his son James, the current president and CEO of EBSCO Industries. Elton B. Stephens was also a generous philanthropist, donating to the United Way as well as establishing the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, named for his beloved wife.
The EbscoHost databases can be accessed from the library’s home page at http://library.kean.edu. If you select the second gray bar, entitled: “Articles & More”, it will bring you to our list of online databases. From here, click on ‘E’ to take you down to the EbscoHost datbases.
Although many people like to refer to Ebsco as simply: “A database”, it is actually a group of databases, covering a variety of different subjects. When you view the EbscoHost databases, you will notice that they are grouped by subject, such as Business, Humanities, and Health/Nursing. If you are doing research in any of these subject areas, you can click on that set of Ebsco databases to continue your search. However, if you’re just doing a general search, or a search across several disciplines, you’ll be better off just selecting “EbscoHost Research Databases”.
From here, you’re going to select “EbscoHost Web”, and continue to the list of EbscoHost databases. On this list, you will notice that Academic Search Premiere (the first one) and “MasterFile Premiere” (further down) are already selected for you. These two databases cover a multitude of subjects, and it is always a good idea to leave these two checked. The rest of the databases on this page are focused on more specific subjects, such as Nursing, (CINAHL) Psychology (PsychInfo) or Sociology (SocIndex). Feel free to choose more than one database if you are doing a multidisciplinary study, or even choose them all if you wish! Checking each box and then selecting “continue” will take you the basic search screen.
From the search screen, you can begin your scholarly research. One common mistake that many students make, is to attempt to do a natural language search, the way that you would in Google, or Yahoo!. Many of the academic databases prefer that you do a keyword search, with Boolean operators such as “and”, “or”, or “not”. Instead of searching for: “How is schizophrenia treated in mental hospitals in the United States?”, you should search for Schizophrenia and Treatment and United States. Another useful tool in doing an academic search is the use of the * (asterisk) symbol to truncate your keywords. For example, if you just search for Children in Ebsco, you will get any article that uses that word. However, you search for Child*, (with an asterisk) you will also get results for the words child, child’s, and childhood. By truncating your words, you can see other variations on the word that you are searching for.
When you see the list of results, you should notice that some of these articles are available full-text, (either in html or pdf format) meaning that you can view the article right there. However, not all of these articles will be available through EbscoHost. When you see an article that is not full-text, you can click on the icon that says TOUR, to see if the article is available through any of our other databases.
There are many other tips and tricks to using the EbscoHost databases, and that’s before you even get into the Advanced Search features. If you are having any trouble with Ebsco or any other databases, you should feel free to contact a reference librarian at (908) 737-4618, or just stop by the reference desk to speak to us in person. Also, if you have any other questions or comments, you can comment on this entry below. Good luck with your research!
1. Stephens, J. (2005). In Memoriam: Elton Bryson Stephens, 1911-2005. Serials Review, 31(2), 80-81.