Academic Search Complete

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Academic Search Complete

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."

Library Website Database List

You may be prompted to enter your EUID and password.

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

1 of 6Academic Search Complete is an interdisciplinary database and covers a variety of academic fields such as animal science, civil engineering, law, religion & theology, women's studies, zoology, and more.

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

2 of 6If you wanted to find resources on the history of jazz or blues music, we can do a simple search using the terms: "history," "jazz music," and "blues music."

In the first search bar at the top, type in "history" and click the search button.

History simple search

Notice that doing a broad search can result in an unmanageable amount of search results (in this case, more than one million!).

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

3 of 6Let's narrow our initial search by adding another search term.

History AND blues music simple search

In the second bar add "blues music" and click the "Search" button. Notice the results are fewer (around 900).

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

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We also want to add the history of jazz music. Change the second search bar to "blues music OR jazz music" and search.

History AND blues music OR jazz music simple search

Our results now have over 2,000 results, which include resources about the history of jazz or the history of blues music.

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

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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.

History And blues music and jazz music simple search

This changes our results to around 200 resources about the history of jazz and blues.

Academic Search Complete: Basic Searching

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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.

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

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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.

Subject Terms tab

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

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Notice on the first page, there are terms like

  • A cappella singing
  • A Library Management System USE ALMS (Library management system)
  • A priori

These terms highlight a few fields covered in the database, like music, library science, and philosophy.

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

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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.

Preferred terms vs not preferred terms

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

4 of 6A user can search for terms through the search bar. Let's try searching the "Browsing: Academic Search Complete -- Subject Terms" search bar and see what subjects are available.
  • Type in search bar "obesity."
  • Select from the options below the bar: "Term Contains" to discover all terms containing our search word.
  • Click the "Browse" button to view the results page.
Searching subject terms

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

5 of 6Click on the first term "OBESITY" to view more detailed information like the definition (or scope) as well as a list of broader, narrower, and related terms. At the bottom of the page are "Used for" terms that, if searched, would direct the user to the preferred term, "OBESITY."

Let's use the general term, "OBESITY," in our search.

  • Click on the box to the left of the term
  • Click the "Add" button
  • Notice the top search bar includes "DE "OBESITY""
Adding Subject term obesity

Academic Search Complete: Subject Terms

6 of 6Let's add another term.
  • Above the subject term's browsing bar, select "Places."
  • In the search bar type "Denmark" and click the "Browse" button.
  • We want to select the country of Denmark, so choose the box next to "denmark."
  • Use the drop-down menu to change the Boolean operator "OR" to "AND."
  • Click the "Add" button.
Adding Search Term Denmark

The top search bar should now display: (DE "OBESITY") AND (ZG "denmark"). Click the "Search" button to view your search results.

Academic Search Complete: Search Results Page

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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.

Detailed Summary

Academic Search Complete: Search Results Page

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PlumX Metrics will give more information on the article's usage, captures, mentions, social media, and citations.

Plum Metrix

By clicking on the PlumX Metrics icon, a user can view more detailed information where the article is mentioned outside the database.

Academic Search Complete: Search Results Page

3 of 3Some results will also include thumbnails of the images in each resource and a count of how many times the article is cited elsewhere in Academic Search Complete.

Image thumbnails and amount of citations in database

Before we choose an article to look at in more detail, let's narrow the search further by refining our results.

Academic Search Complete: Refining Search Results

1 of 4In the left column next to the search results are filters that help refine the resources. In the "Limit To" section, click the "Show More" link to open a pop-up box of filter options.

Refining results with pop-up link

Academic Search Complete: Refining Search Results

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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.

Peer Reviewed Refinement

Notice the amount of results has decreased and the filter has been added in the left column under the "Current Search" section.

Academic Search Complete: Refining Search Results

3 of 4Another way to refine results is to use the left column to expand filter sections in fields like source types, subjects, publication, publisher, language, geography, and the NAICS/Industry.

Let's further refine the selection by moving the "Publication Date" slide bar to include the last five years.

Refining by publication date

As you can see, the number of search results has decreased and the published date has been added to the "Current Search" section.

Academic Search Complete: Refining Search Results

4 of 4Academic Search Complete also has the ability to sort the results based on their date, author, source, or relevance.

At the top of the search results page, click on the drop-down menu entitled "Date Newest" and select "Relevance."

Drop-down menu to sort by relevancy

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.

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

1 of 6Next to the title of the first result, click on the blue folder to add the article to a folder. Add the second result as well.

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.

Adding files to a folder and selecting folder view

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

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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.

Sign in button for database

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.

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

3 of 6Go back to your folder and select a title from your list of articles. This will take you to a detailed version of the resource.

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.

Tools for individual articles

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

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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.

List of subject terms assigned to article

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

5 of 6Another interesting feature of Academic Search Complete, is to find similar results using a link, "Find similar results," in the left column.

Link to find similar results

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.

Academic Search Complete: Saving and Viewing Articles

6 of 6At the top of the left column, you can find access to the full-text article. If UNTHSC has access, there will be an icon and link to download the "PDF Full Text." If UNTHSC does not have access to the resource, there will be a green box that states "Find Full Text."

Options for finding full text

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.

Academic Search Complete: Conclusion

That's it! You have just completed a basic introduction to searching and navigating the interdisciplinary database Academic Search Complete.

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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