Answered By: Chris Clouser
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2014     Views: 84

I think I know what's happening.   I suspect that you are going to the Library Home Page (, clicking on the "Article Databases" link and then using the "Search for a Database" link at the top of the resulting page.  Unfortunately, that option is not designed to return articles, but rather to provide links to possible databases to search.  In order to get individual articles, you actually have to connect to a specific database and search it.  Notice it says "Search for a Database", not "Search for Articles". 

Perhaps some explanation is in order.  The library provides a very large number of databases to IUP students.  When you click on the "Article Databases" link on the library home page, you get an alphabetic list of almost 400 databases available.  To find individual articles, you need to open and search specific databases that will likely have articles on your topic.  Choosing the proper database is critical.   All databases are different.  Some cover a very wide range of subjects in general and some focus on a specific subject, but in a lot of depth.  To help students choose what database(s) to search, the alphabetic list includes a brief description of that database's content.  The "Search for a Database" option at the top of the page is designed to only search through the words in the descriptions of the databases, not through the content.    It's very similar to the Find function of Microsoft Windows or in word processing packages where you can search for a specific word in a long document. Therefore, the keywords you enter need to be very general because they need to be in that brief description.  Using "Search for a Database"  for the keywords "lesson plans" won't create any results.  But, if you search "education" you will get results - a list of databases dealing with education and then you can select one or more  of those  to search for "lesson plans".

In your question, you didn't note what subject area you want to search, therefore I can't give you recommendations for specific databases to use.  There are some good general databases such as "Academic Search Complete" or "Academic OneFile" that cover wide ranges to topics.  They will likely have something on the subject you need.  You can connect to these databases by opening the "Article Databases" link and then scrolling down through the alphabetic list.  Click on the database title to be connected to that service.

There are other ways to get recommendations for databases to use.  Just to the right of the "Search for a Database" option, there is an option that says "Choose a Topic".  When you click in that box, you'll get a menu of the major topics covered by IUP databases (e.g. Biology, Education, Music, etc.).  Click on the general area you need and the page will be re-displayed with only databases covering that topic.  It reduces the number of database choices you need to scan through to select the one you want.

The 3rd option at the top says "Select an LC Classification".  This refers to the Library of Congress Classification System that the library uses to organize books.  It uses letters to identify broad subject areas.  We've also identified our database by these categories.  If you happen to know that most Education books are in the 'L' section or Science books are in 'Q', you can select those letters to get database recommendations.

Another option you can use to find articles when you aren't sure what database may be appropriate is to open the "EDS - IUP Libraries EBSCO Discovery Service".  It is currently the first link above the "A"s on the alphabetic list.  This service allows you to search across MANY databases at the same time.  It doesn't search ALL of the databases available from IUP, but it does search most.  The service will send your search terms to a bunch of different databases and bring back results - articles and other resources such as books, electronic documents, etc.  The citations you receive will also indicate what database(s) they were found in, so that will also help to identify good databases to search.

I hope this information helps.  If this doesn't answer your question, I would recommend that you stop by the Reference Desk on the 1st floor of Stapleton Library or call (724)357-3006  (or toll free 1-866-836-8815) and talk to a librarian for individual help.  You can also submit another e-mail reference question.

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