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Primary Search - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Primary Search?

A. Primary Search provides full text for more than 70 popular magazines for elementary school research. All full text articles included in the database are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles), and full text information dates as far back as 1990. To view the complete list of titles with their coverage dates or to find out more about the subjects included click here.

Q. What is included in Primary Search?

A. Primary Search offers indexing and abstracting for nearly 100 magazines and full text for more than 70 magazines. This database also provides the American Heritage Children’s Dictionary, 3rd Edition from Houghton Mifflin, as well as a School Image Collection of photos, maps, and flags.

Q. How often is Primary Search updated?

A. Primary Search is updated weekly.

Q. How should Primary Search be used?

A. Primary Search should be used to find information on a particular topic or to find publications of interest. You can use Basic Search or Advanced Search to enter search terms. These searches can be narrowed by using the search options and limiters available. You can also browse Publications to find a specific title or Subjects to find titles containing a specific subject.

Q. How can I get a complete title list for Primary Search?

A. You may download a complete title list for Primary Search here:

Q. What subjects are covered in Primary Search?

A. Primary Search covers: arts & entertainment; education; general interest; health & medicine; history; home & living; literature & writing; politics & government; science; social sciences & humanities; sports & leisure; technology.

Q. Which searching and browsing screens are available on Primary Search?

A. You can conduct a Basic Search or Advanced Search of Primary Search. The default start page is the basic search page. Library administrators can change the style of the Advanced Search screen within the EBSCOadmin Module.

Advanced search limiters include:

  • Full Text
  • Publication Date Range
  • Cover Story
  • Publication
  • Lexile Reading Score
  • PDF Full Text
  • Peer Reviewed
  • Number of Pages
  • Publication Type
  • Lexile Reading Level
  • Image Quick View
  • Image Quick View Type
Q. What are Lexile Reading Levels?

A. Some databases may include Lexile Rankings, sometimes referred to as an approximation of reading levels, in citation information. The Lexile Rankings assigned to a result give an educator an estimate of the reading difficulty of the result, and the approximate grade level reading ability required for comprehension. The grade level does not necessarily reflect the student's actual grade.

For more information, see Lexiles - FAQs.

Q. What is in the Image Collection?

A. The Image Collection database consists of over 341,000 total images in these categories, broken down as follows:

  • Photographs
  • Images from Canadian Press
  • Maps from MapQuest
  • Photographs from public domain sources

The images consist of a wide array of photos and maps, with an emphasis on world news and events. Other areas of coverage include contemporary and historical photos of people, places and the natural kingdom.

Q. How do I access the Image Collection?

A. A user may access the Image Collection databases by clicking the Images button on the toolbar at the top of the EBSCOhost screen. The user has the option of filtering her/his results by various categories including:

  • Photos of people
  • Natural science photos
  • Photos of places
  • Historical photos
  • Maps
  • Flags

Upon searching, the user will receive a Result List, which will include citation information as well as thumbnail images. Clicking on any thumbnail image will display the full size image. Images can then be printed or saved.

A copyright statement appears at the bottom of the page for each image. Users can refer to this for general use guidelines.

Q. How can I set up a URL to link directly into Primary Search?

A. URL parameters can be used to enable direct links from an external web page to the Primary Search Home Page. A sample URL is:

If you would like your users to bypass the Select Service Screen and go directly to a specific EBSCO interface, you should pass the profile parameter on your URL. For example, to reach the Primary Search Home Page, use this URL:,uid&profile=prh.