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WRIT 1x33 -- Dr. Taczak's Writing Classes

The ABCs of Database Searching

A. Break your topic down into the main ideas, or keywords. Then combine your keywords into a search query:

Link main ideas together with AND to get fewer search results:

aging AND brain

Link related terms together with OR to get more search results:

(healthy OR normal)

-The parentheses tell the database which words the OR command applies to. Without parentheses, the database would interpret the following search as a request to find articles that mention healthy brains, plus any article that uses the word normal: 

brain AND (healthy OR normal)

B. Use quotation marks " " to search words as a phrase:

Searching “healthy aging” excludes articles about healthy eating or rapid aging.

BE AWARE of what your quotation marks are excluding -- searching "healthy aging" excludes articles that talk about aging in a healthy manner.

C. Use an asterisk * to search for multiple word endings:

health* = health OR healthy OR healthier OR healthiest, etc.

Get the full text of an article you found while searching a database

1. See what looks like a direct link to full text? Click it!

Don't see a direct link? Go to step 2.


2. See the DU Libraries "Article Linker" icon? Click it to open a new tab that searches for your article in every DU Library database, as shown in step 3.

Look for a link that says HTML Full Text, PDF Full Text, or DU Libraries Article Linker

3. See the words "Full Text available at:"? Click the resource name to navigate to full text.

Once the new page opens, look for a PDF or full-text icon to download the full text.

4. See the words "No full text available"? Request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Our Interlibrary Loan service can borrow the article for you from another library at no cost to you.

Looking for a specific article where you know all or part of the citation?

1. In the Compass search box on the library homepage, paste either the:

  1. article title enclosed in quotation marks.
  2. the article's DOI -- Digital Article Identifier. A DOI will always start with the number 10.  You don’t want any of the http:// URL header information in the search box with the DOI.

2. If we have immediate access to the article, great! Click “Access Online” to navigate to full text.

  1. If you get zero results, click the “Expand My Results” button on the left-hand side of the page.

3. You should now see information about the desired article – click the “Get It” link to see request options.

4. Click the “Main Campus – Request for Interlibrary Loan” button. 

  1. Log into Interlibrary Loan with your DU Email  and your MyDU password. 

5. When the ILL form opens, all the article information should be pre-populated – scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click “Submit Request.”