Module 1 is the very basics of a database search for periodicals and eBooks. (Periodicals are magazines, newspapers, and journals.) Databases let you find out which periodical issues have articles on a specific topic, and sometimes even provide the full text of the article as well, so you don’t have to find a print copy of the magazine, journal, or newspaper.


Some databases, like Academic Search Premier, are multi-disciplinary databases and cover all topics.  Other databases are topic- or format-specific, and focus on one field of study, like medicine, or a specific format, like newspapers.  Some examples:

  • Business Source Premier, a business database
  • ERIC, an education database
  • GreenFILE, an environmental database
  • Medline, a medical database
  • Newsource, a newspaper database

Most of the time, your instructors will tell you to use EBSCOhost to look for magazine and journal articles, so that is the collection of databases I will use for these walkthroughs.  Keep in mind, however, that many of the same features and techniques I’m showing you work for almost all databases, so if you want to search our Gale resources, you can use what you’ve learned for EBSCO and apply it to Gale.


  1. Know how to get to EBSCOhost databases
  2. Understand the concept of subject-specific databases.
  3. Demonstrate how to do a simple search.

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Screenshot Walkthrough

1.  Go to Ancilla’s homepage:  Go to Current Students and click on the Library link to go to the library’s home page.


2015 Ancilla College home page library access demo

2.  On the library’s home page, look for Research Resources.  Find the EBSCO link and click on it.  If you’re off campus, this screen appears.  Type in the 14 digit barcode number (on the front of your student ID) in the box and your password.  If you don’t have a password set up, click here for instructions.

Off campus login screen explanation


3.  If on campus or after you’ve logged in, this screen appears.  Find EBSCOhost and click.


4.  A list of databases appears.  Some, like Academic Search Premier, are multi-disciplinary and cover more than one subject.  Some, like Business Source Premier, are specific to a topic.  Others, like eBook Collection, are specific to a format (eBooks, newspapers, etc.).  Check the ones that will work best for your search–remember that Academic Search Premier has a lot of full text and covers a lot of topics, so you can use it for any search!  Click the boxes to select.  I’m going to do a search on global warming so I’m going to choose Academic Search Premier, eBook Collection, and GreenFILE.  Click Continue button when finished.


5.  Type keyword search global warming into the search box and either click the Search button or press the enter key.


6.  Your results are summed up to the left, and the articles are listed below.  Congratulations–you have completed a simple keyword search in EBSCOhost!



Further Practice

Want some practice?  Try this case scenario:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: to do a search for articles on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  This is your chance to practice doing a real search using what you’ve learned.  Think carefully about your database choices and your search term, and remember what format you’re looking for (articles, not books).

To ponder:  What did you come up with?  Were your results relevant and on-target, or did you get something weird and completely off-topic?  If so, where do you think you went wrong?

Other Modules