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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Database Training

Graduate Assistant Orientation: Introduction to Database Searching

General Information

About EBSCOhost

  • EBSCOhost (commonly referred to as EBSCO) is a VENDOR.
  • EBSCO is a collection of dozens of databases that cover a multitude of subjects and disciplines. To view and select from the databases, from any EBSCO database, click on the Choose Databases link directly above the search boxes. Selecting from this list will allow searching of multiple databases simultaneously. 

‚ÄčAbout Academic Search Ultimate

  • Academic Search Ultimate is a PRODUCT provided by EBSCO.
  • Academic Search Ultimate is a multidisciplinary source of more than 8,500 sources including more than 4,600 full text periodicals, of which more than 3,900 are scholarly. Given the broad, multi-coverage nature of this database, it is taught in first-year instruction and is one of the first choices for a substantial number of students. 

 About Sources Found in Academic Search Ultimate

  • Sources include magazines, journals, trade/professional publications, and newspapers.
  • Full-text sources are indicated with links to HTML or PDF text versions. Full-text available in other EBSCO databases will be indicated by Linked Full Text.
  • Charts, graphs, pictures, etc. that are present will be indicated in each citation. Look for notes such as: 2 charts, 1 diagram, 1 color, 2 b.w., etc.

Searching Academic Search Ultimate and Other EBSCO Databases

The Library subscribes to several dozen EBSCO databases. The search screens will look very similar, but some of the limits and other functions may differ slightly. Subject terms are NOT consistent from database to database. 

1. Searching Academic Search Ultimate

To begin searching enter search terms in the boxes provided. 

  • Each keyword/keyword phrase should be entered in a separate search box.
  • Phrases can be entered in quotes (example: "gun control").
  • To truncate a word add an * to the root of the word. For example, entering charit* will find charity, charities, charitable, etc.
  • The sort default is Relevance. Change to another sort option via the drop-down at the top of the Search Results.

2. Setting Limits and Refining Search Options

Limits can be very helpful in focusing a search and may be set at any time during the course of a search.
Limits may be applied using the search options on the initial screen, prior to beginning a search. The default category for Boolean/Phrase is usually sufficient.

Note: Limits vary in the individual EBSCO databases. 

  • Initial limits may be set when beginning a search.
  • After a search has begun limits may be applied via the options on the left side of the screen.
  • Limiters applied will appear at the top of the Refine Results column on the left side of the page. Limits can be removed by clicking on the X in the Current Search box.

Limit examples include:

  • Full Text: Not recommended!! This will eliminate access to links to full-text in other databases provided by the Discover feature.
  • Source Types: Limit to articles published in a specific periodical type.
  • Publication Date: Change the date of the results by moving the slider bar to desired date range.
  • Subject: Thesaurus Term: Subject headings present in results from the current search. Use these to focus a search. Note: Clicking on one of these will combine the subject terms with the previous search, often resulting in significantly fewer results. A suggested strategy is to choose a subject from within a record or copy and paste the new subject into one of the search boxes.
  • Subject: Generally author assigned keywords. These are often not assigned subjects within a database. Subject: Thesaurus Term is usually more helpful.

Saving and Managing Records

Each record may be saved and managed individually or records may be saved as a group.

  • To manage individually:
    • Select an option from the Tools that appear in the right column when in a record.
    • Cite provides a citation of the article in various citation styles.
    • Export allows you send the citation to various citation management software programs.
    • Permalink provides you with the sustainable link (URL) to return to the article.
  • To manage items as a group:
    • Place an item in the folder:
      • When viewing the full record for an item click on the folder icon in the Tools.
      • When viewing a result list click on the folder icon at the top of the citation.
  • To view the folder click on the Folder View link on the right side of the screen.

Locating Full Text

Locating full-text

Full-text availability is indicated at the bottom of the citation in the Results List and in the left column when viewing a full record.

  • HTML full text The text of the article can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the record.
  • Linked full text Links to the full text of the article in another EBSCO database.
  • PDF full text Click on the PDF Full Text link to open the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Users are provided with a digitized version of the actual print article.
  • Discover full text Click on the Discover full text link to open a new window which will provide information about the article's full text availability in other databases. Follow the links provided to locate the article.


Additional Features

  • Choose Databases link provides a menu of all EBSCO databases.
  • Ask a Librarian service is available from any result list by clicking the link in the right column.
  • Sign In is an EBSCO feature and allows users to save search histories and results, preferences, share folders with others, and more. Each individual must create their own account.
    Note: We are unable to help users troubleshoot their accounts using this feature.  Questions about individual accounts need to be referred to EBSCO.