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EBSCOhost Searching Tips

Using Quotation Marks in EBSCOhost

When a user types in search terms, EBSCOhost looks for those terms as they are entered. EBSCOhost will assume adjacency searching, meaning words are searched in that exact order.

If your search does not use quotation marks and contains any Boolean operators (‘and’, ‘or’, and ‘not’), those words will not be searched as a single phrase. Instead EBSCO will search for the individual keywords and phrases around Boolean operators appropriately.

If one of the words in your search term is also a searchable field code, that word will not be treated as a searchable field code as long as it is entered in lower case letters.

How do the “Find all my search terms” and “Find any of my search terms” Search Modes function?

EBSCOhost does not automatically add AND in between search terms when using the default Boolean/Phrase Search Mode. However, additional Search Modes offer users the ability to automatically add AND or OR between search terms. Search Modes are located below the Find field of the Basic and Advanced search screens under Search Options.

Find all my search terms searches EBSCOhost by automatically adding an AND in between each of the terms entered into the Find field. (e.g. if you search for Global Warming and select “Find all my search terms” it will perform the search as “global AND warming”).

Find any of my search terms searches EBSCOhost by automatically adding an OR in between each of the terms entered into the Find field. (e.g. if you search for Global Warming and select “Find any of my search terms” it will perform the search as “global OR warming”).

Searching with Field Codes

You can use field codes to create a search using indexed fields referenced in either the citation or full display (or full text, if available). EBSCOhost uses two-character abbreviations for field codes such as SU-Subject, AU-Author or TI-Article_Title.

When using field codes, each code must be entered in UPPER case as shown in the example above to get the best results. Otherwise your codes could be interpreted as simple text, and your results might not be what you expect. You could also use the Advanced Search Guided Style screen with drop-down menus to select field codes, which will automatically use the UPPER case.

Example: The letters DE are used as a searchable field code in some EBSCO databases. This field code allows users to search for exact subject headings within the Subject Fields section of a citation. In some databases, the search for DE Health would return only results which had "Health" as a subject heading.

In the search for Francis de Sales, “de” is not treated as the DE Field Code because it is in lower case letters.

Using Parentheses with Field Codes

If searching multiple terms using the same Field Code, you can use parentheses to simplify your search.

Example: Instead of the author search AU Smith AND AU Peters NOT AU Lee, use parentheses to enter the search as AU (Smith AND Peters NOT Lee)

How does EBSCO determine subject headings?

EBSCO maintains a Comprehensive Subject Index (CSI) of subject terms, which are applied to all articles indexed by EBSCO.

EBSCO's CSI is an expansion and adaptation of the Library of Congress Subject Headings database. As Library of Congress Subject Headings are created to cover the books received by that library, they describe broad subjects that have been considered at book level. To cover periodical content at an appropriate level of detail, and to cover subjects that may not yet have appeared in books, EBSCO creates additional subject headings that do not appear in the Library of Congress file. A professional team of taxonomists reviews the latest literature, subject-specific glossaries, current events, and other resources to ensure that subject headings are available to cover the wide span of content indexed by EBSCO.

EBSCO’s subject headings are also continuously reviewed to ensure that they follow current usage. Subject headings attempt to convey concepts in natural language wherever possible, with exceptions to prevent ambiguity.

Following Library of Congress practice, EBSCO indexers can expand on headings by applying subdivisions that refer to specific aspects of the topic. Subdivisions are taken from an approved list. For example, the CSI includes the root heading “Newspapers.” When appropriate, we expand on that heading by adding subdivisions to create new headings such as: “Newspapers – Awards,” “Newspapers – Reviews,” or “Newspapers – Taxation.” Thus, more specific headings can be systematically created to completely represent specific content.

Headings for personal names, organizations, and places are created by indexers as they are needed according to standard formats based on the practices of the Library of Congress and the Anglo-American cataloging rules. Headings created by A&I are reviewed weekly by members of the taxonomy team to ensure consistency and avoid duplication of headings.

How does EBSCOhost determine what subjects are listed on the side under “Narrow Results?”

Facets (which enable you to Narrow results) organize search results into groups based on categories such as subject headings, authors, and journals.

Facets are grouped by Subject, Publication or Company, etc. (as set in EBSCOadmin).

The list is comprised of the top fifty most frequent subjects, publications, or companies among the top results yielded by your search. The maximum number of facets (subjects) is 10.

How does EBSCOhost determine what thesaurus terms are listed on the side under Refine Results?

Subject: Thesaurus Term facets are made up of subject terms available in the article's citation. Subject: Thesaurus Terms are terms created by professional lexicographers and subject specialists to fit the scope of the database.

Note: when viewing subject headings in the article's citation, the Subject: Thesaurus Terms are marked with an asterisk while Subject headings are not.