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Unlike medical databases like Scopus or PubMed, Academic Search Complete contains scholarly resources from a variety of fields. This tutorial will cover the basics of navigating and searching Academic Search Complete.
In the "Databases & Articles" section of the "Find" box on the library's homepage, use the "Select a database" drop-down menu to choose Academic Search Complete and click "Go."
You may be prompted to enter your EUID and password.
In the first search bar at the top, type in "history" and click the search button.
Notice that doing a broad search can result in an unmanageable amount of search results (in this case, more than one million!).
In the second bar add "blues music" and click the "Search" button. Notice the results are fewer (around 900).
We also want to add the history of jazz music. Change the second search bar to "blues music OR jazz music" and search.
Our results now have over 2,000 results, which include resources about the history of jazz or the history of blues music.
If we wanted to have resources that contain the history of both types of music, we could switch the "OR" in the second search bar to an "AND."
Type "blues music AND jazz music" into the second search bar and search.
This changes our results to around 200 resources about the history of jazz and blues.
Even by narrowing the results to include articles about the history of both types of music, 200 resources is still a lot of information. You could further narrow the topic by searching for time periods, influences of the music, specific composers or performers, etc.
You can also narrow your search by adding "Subject Terms." Databases have their own language, or controlled vocabulary, to describe entries in the database and make them searchable. We can use this vocabulary, or subject terms, to aid our search.
Let's look at the types of subjects Academic Search Complete has to offer. At the top of the database homepage, click on the "Subject Terms" tab.
Notice on the first page, there are terms like
These terms highlight a few fields covered in the database, like music, library science, and philosophy.
Preferred subject terms used to describe resources are denoted with a check box to the left of the term. The words with a "USE" directive will link to the preferred subject term.
Let's use the general term, "OBESITY," in our search.
The top search bar should now display: (DE "OBESITY") AND (ZG "denmark"). Click the "Search" button to view your search results.
On the results page, there are about 100 search results that have been assigned the subject terms "denmark" and "OBESITY."
Each result includes the article title, citation, a magnifying glass and blue folder icon, other subjects, "PlumX Metrics" tool, and ways to access the article.
Hover or click on the magnifying glass icon to see more information about the article, including the abstract. This view gives you a more detailed summary.
PlumX Metrics will give more information on the article's usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations.
By clicking on the PlumX Metrics icon, a user can view more detailed information where the article is mentioned outside the database.
Before we choose an article to look at in more detail, let's narrow the search further by refining our results.
You can narrow results by choosing options like scholarly or peer reviewed, date, publication, document and image types, and language.
Let's select the peer-reviewed option and hit the "search button" for the changes to take place.
Notice the amount of results has decreased and the filter has been added in the left column under the "Current Search" section.
Let's further refine the selection by moving the "Publication Date" slide bar to include the last five years.
As you can see, the number of search results has decreased and the published date has been added to the "Current Search" section.
At the top of the search results page, click on the drop-down menu entitled "Date Newest" and select "Relevance."
The results are now sorted and should bring the more relevant results to the top of the list.
We will use the first result to look at an article in more detail.
Once you have found a desired amount of resources, click on the "Folder View" or the folder icon on the top ribbon of the webpage.
While working in a database, you can temporarily save articles by storing them in a folder. NOTE: The folder will empty after your session unless you create an account for Academic Search Complete.
To create an free account, click on the "Sign In" button at the top of the ribbon on the web page.
Click on the "Create a new Account" link and follow the steps to complete the process. By creating an account, you will have access to a variety of features including saving preferences, sharing folders, and viewing search history.
There are tools along the right column that allow you to save the information in Google Drive, print the page, e-mail, save, view the citation in a variety of styles, export, share, and link to this resource.
If you scroll down the page, you can find more detailed information including authors, source, terms, industry codes, abstract, author affiliations as well as the ISSN, DOI, and Accession Number.
If you find a resource relevant to your research, look at the other subject terms assigned to it. You can use these other terms to expand your current search or start a new one.
However, please note that you have less control of the results since the database is searching for you and the number can easily become unmanageable.
Clicking the green button will redirect to the UNT library website. The new page will state if we have access through a different database or it will prompt you to place a request through Inter-library Loan.
Please contact the Library Research Services Office if you have any questions about this guide, need help with other databases, or would like tips on database/literature searching.
We are available M-F from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:
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