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* History: Effective Searching

Advanced Database Searching Tips

When you are searching for a concept, idea, or object that can only be described or named with multiple words, put the words in quotation marks when searching in a database.

Examples include: 

"French Resistance", "global warming", "accounts receivable", "musical theater".

Avoid phrase searching with quotation marks where the phrase is not a common turn of speech, where there is only a single word, or where descriptive adjectives are used.

Examples include: 

"beautiful artwork", "spreading propaganda", "terrible disease", "how a bill becomes a law", "United state's economy"


When you are searching for a word or concept with multiple synonyms or variations, use the * (also known as truncation).

When put at the end of a string of letters, * will search for words that start with those letters and give you articles that include every possible word that could start with those letters.

Examples include:

surviv* will get you articles using the words survive, survival, and survivors

nazi* will get you articles using the words nazi, nazis, and nazism

war* get you articles using the words war, wars, warfare, warplane, but also ward, warden, warner, warlock, wardrobe, warlord, warp, warehouse, warm, warn, warble, etc.

Using IDS (Interlibrary Loan)

If you find an article in one of the library databases that doesn't have a PDF icon, click on a link or button saying either "Check for available services" or "Get It" to start the process of finding the full text. One of two things will happen:

1) either we have access to the full text from one our databases and the article will open in a new window, or

2) a window will open with a link to request it through IDS.

In the second case, click on this link, and then use your Geneseo username and password to log into IDS.  (If you haven't set up your account, you will have to fill out a brief form to do so.  You will only have to fill this out once). The form will be automatically filled out for you, and you can then click "Submit Request" to send it off to be fulfilled.