Library Search Guides

What is EBSCO Discovery Service? 

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EBSCO Discovery Service, or, EDS for short, is a tool that allows you to access the majority of the CCC Library’s resources using a single search.

This includes: articles, eBooks, and physical items located in the library, such as books and DVDs.

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The tabs at the top allow you to control where you are searching. The default setting is searching “All Resources” as mentioned above. If you only want to search for “Articles” then clicking on that tab will not retrieve results that include eBooks, physical library books and DVDs. Choosing the “Library Catalog” tab will open a new window where you will be searching only physical books and DVDs; not eBooks or articles.

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You can also choose to search by keyword, title (such as of a book or article), or author.

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Finally, you can limit your results to “Full Text” or “Peer Reviewed.” It is recommended that you always select “Full Text” before you begin your search.

Before you begin your research you are going to need a topic. Your topic may change as you conduct your research, but you have to begin somewhere. This can be one of the most difficult steps in beginning the research process.


Starting you research

This guide will present a keyword search. A keyword search is similar to typical web searches. You will use natural language to describe your topic. For this guide we are interested in conducting research for a paper with the thesis “prairie dogs help conserve the prairie”. With this in mind, you now have to try to think of an initial search. We will begin by just searching for “prairie dogs” Remember to click “Full Text”.

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Search Tips 

1. To improve the relevancy of your search results by keyword, enclose phrases in "quotation marks".  For example: "water conservation". 

2. EBSCO Discovery Search searches all terms you have entered, without the need to use AND.  For example: prairie dogs land conservation will find items that have all of these terms.

3. EBSCO Discovery Search searches through the full text of documents (if available).  This may cause a large number of results, and not all are relevant to your subject.  Results are based on relevancy.

4. To find alternative endings for a word, use the * asterisk (truncation symbol.)  For example:  fish* finds fish, fishermen, fishing.

5. To find scholarly journal articles, refine your search by selecting “Peer Reviewed"

The first time you search you will be prompted to enter your C#. You can find this information on your student id. You must remember that you have to actually type in the “C”. It doesn’t matter if it is uppercase or lowercase.

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Looking at your search results

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Many topics will have a “Research Starter” as the top result. Typically this is an entry from an encyclopedia and will give you a general overview of the topic. You results will also include Periodicals, eBooks, and physical library books. 


Your results will include Periodicals (articles from magazines, journals newspapers), eBooks, and books the library owns. For items that are available digitally just click “PDF Full Text” or sometimes “HTML Full Text” to view the entire resource.

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 Periodicals are anything that comes out with regular issues (a daily newspaper, a weekly news magazine, a monthly/quarterly journal, etc.).


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The CCC Library eBook collections are available through our EBSCO subscription. These books can only be viewed in your internet browser. You can download and print sections from the eBook—not the entire eBook.

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You can navigate the eBook by reading page by page, clicking on a chapter or section, or “Search within.” By using this last option you can search for individual words and phrases and find where they appear in the eBook.

Library Books

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These are the books that you can find in the library and check out. The Call No. is its location on the shelf and the Status tells you whether the book is “In” or available for checkout, or not.

Narrowing your results

Often, you want to see fewer, more relevant results. There are several ways that you can accomplish this:

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“Full Text” will retrieve results that allow you to view the entire article. “Peer Reviewed” is another way of saying that you will retrieve scholarly journal articles. You can also change the dates of the articles you retrieve. If you want articles only from the past ten years you can drag the bar to 2011 and retrieve only articles between that year and 2016.

What are “Scholarly” or “Peer reviewed” Journals?

Scholarly journals differ from trade journals/magazines/newspapers in a number of ways. The primary difference is that scholarly journals undergo a “peer review” process before they are published. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author’s peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc. Basically, by selecting “Peer Reviewed” you are using a quality control option to ensure that the results that you retrieve are evaluated and confirmed as excellent sources.

Advanced Searches

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As your search progresses you will find that simply limiting your results by date is not enough. By doing an advanced search you can further narrow, or even expand, your search results. You can do this by using keywords, Boolean operators, and by selecting different search fields.

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*Please note that when you select to do an advanced search in EDS you will need to re-choose “Full Text” and any other search parameters you had been using.


Keyword searching uses natural language to describe your topic and is the best way to start your advanced search. Think of keywords as 1 or 2 words that succinctly describe your topic. For example, you’re writing a research paper on cell phones being a possible cause of brain cancer. You would think of keywords to describe this and place the terms in each of the search boxes.

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The database will look for your keywords anywhere in the record (title, author’s name, subjects, etc.). The biggest problem with keyword searching is that it can often give you too many or too few results, and too many irrelevant results.

Search Fields

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Search fields allow you to narrow your search by author, title, subject, journal, etc. This is useful if you are looking for articles by a specific author or from a specific journal, or to find articles that are all pertaining to a specific subject.

Subject Searching

Subject searches only retrieve results in which the searched term specifically appears in the article’s subject field. Some searches may retrieve hundreds of results, but if you choose a nonexistent subject term you will get zero results. You can type subject terms in a keyword search, but you will retrieve more results than a subject search. Some examples of subject headings are:

Frost, Robert

Nuclear Weapons


New Mexico -- History


Boolean Operators

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Boolean searching is a logical search system that can expand or limit your search results. It uses the terms “AND,” “OR,” or “NOT.”.


Using the operator AND narrows the search by using more than one term. It will search for records that contain the first term AND the second term (prairie dogs AND land conservation).


The operator OR will expand your results to include records that contain either the first term, the second term, or both. Searching for “prairie dogs OR land conservation” will have results for prairie dogs, prairie dogs and land conservation, or just land conservation.


Using the NOT operator will limit your results by excluding unwanted terms. Searching for “pets NOT cats” will retrieve only results for pets that are not cats.


Looking at a journal article


If you click on the title of an article in your search results you will find a page with a lot of useful tools and information.

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Clicking on the “PDF Full Text” will let you read your entire article. In the pdf you can also easily print and save the article. The abstract is basically a summary of what the article is about. When looking for articles you want to pay close attention to abstracts to make sure the article is going to be relevant to your research. Clicking “Cite” will bring up a list of different citation formats for a particular article. You can see APA, MLA, and other styles. Please note that copying and pasting these directly can result in points deducted from your final paper. Sometimes there are errors in these formats, so use them more as guidelines rather than a direct answer.

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