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ENGWR 302 (Silcox): Top 5 OneSearch Tips

5 Life-Saving OneSearch Tips

It’s time to buckle down and make progress on those research papers.

OneSearch, Los Rios Libraries

If you’re doing research, you’re probably spending some time in OneSearch, which is our main tool for finding books, articles and other library content.

So let’s cover a few tips here.

1. Understand how keywords work

Google makes us lazy; we can type any garbage we like into it and it seems to know more or less what we meant.

Google search for: where are tho hamtsers who eat tacos. Spelling corrected, includes relevant results about burritos

Library search tools are much more literal. All they do is match words. So, if you include a keyword and it’s not in the title or abstract or subjects—the item won’t show. That’s why:

 a search for methods of preventing domestic violence against women brings fewer than 40 results

Too many words! Plenty of articles on that subject don’t have some the words “method” or “against”, so they don’t show in results. Compare:

Query domestic violence prevention programs brings 4,000 results

Your keywords need to match content in the source, so start with just a few and add on!

2. Limit your results by format

By default, OneSearch will show you all different kinds of content. But what if you’re not interested in articles, and are only looking for books you can check out?

Don’t overwork your retina scanning the page. Instead, use the Books & Videos on Library Shelves limiter.

Books & Videos on Library Shelves limiter in OneSearch

Once you’ve done that, most of your results will be books. Were you told you need to find scholarly articles? You can limit to Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals. Check out the Source Types area for other options.

3. Email yourself ebook chapters

We have been plugging ebooks lately and for good reason—thousands of recently published academic titles are waiting for your attention.

Sometimes it’s not totally clear what to do with these, though. You can read them page by page online but that can be inconvenient. Sometimes the easiest thing is to email yourself a chapter. When you’re in the book, click Email Pages, then look for something labeled This section.

Email chapter of EBSCO ebook
There’s a limit to how many pages you can email yourself at a time, but usually a chapter or two is short enough. If you hit the limit, try later that day and you’ll find that the limit has been reset.

4. Save formatted citations

Is it fun making a Works Cited page? Maybe! But even then, you might want some help. When looking at an article, you’ll see a Cite link; click that and look what happens.

But wait, there’s more. If you’ve used EBSCO databases at all you probably have emailed yourself articles. Well take a look at the options on the email form and you’ll see that there’s something labeled Citation Format.

Email MLA citation in EBSCO record

What could it mean?

The citations aren’t always perfect, but they’re a good start. Remember, we’ve got citation tips over at our Research Guides page.

5. Don’t get frustrated by bad links

One of the things OneSearch does is bring together a bunch of different databases. So you’ll see links to JSTOR, ScienceDirect and others in your search results. Usually these links work, but sometimes…

404 page in ScienceDirect
Ask a Librarian - Live ChatDon’t despair! If a link appeared, usually it means that we do have the article, even if the link itself fails. So in that case you can click the Ask a Librarian icon and ask us to get you the article.

In general, use Ask A Librarian whenever you’re having problems—we’re here to help.