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Key features of scholarly databases

  • A link, tab, or checklist that lets you select just the database you need – if the vendor offers multiple indexes/databases on the same platform
  • A tab, folder, or link that allows you to select basic or advanced search options (We generally link to the Advanced Search screen)
  • A search term bar or bars – generally with a pull down menu for selecting the search type or specific fields to be searched
  • A search results display screen – generally the brief bibliographic record with a link to the complete bibliographic record. Complete bibliographic records are generally accompanied by a button or link that returns you to the results list display
  • A check-box, icon, link, or other means of marking relevant citations for further action
  • A marked records tab, folder, button, link that allows you to retrieve all of the citations you marked and then email, print, or save those records, and, generally, export them to a bibliographic citation management program
  • A button or link on each bibliographic record (sometimes on only one, sometimes on both the brief and full bibliographic records) that allows you to retrieve the full-text of the article from your library (At Virginia Tech this is the get vtext button)
  • A button or link that will clear the marked record cache and allow you to start a new marked records list
  • A button, link, folder, tab that will allow you to start a completely new search
  • A link or folder that lets you set up a My Research folder (this goes by a variety of names) where you can save your marked records and search statements in this folder so that you can retrieve them at a later time. Very useful if you work on more than one computer.

In addition to these key components many search interfaces have a variety of buttons, links, commands, toggles, etc. which allow you to refine or modify your search, set limits on what is retrieved, choose the type of information displayed, move back and forth between search and display screens, etc.


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This search box finds library databases by their titles. It does not search for articles within databases. Keyword searches won't work here.

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