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Database Search Strategies Module: Time-Saving Database Features

 

Time-Saving Database Features

So you found a good article. Now what? Most library databases have built-in features to streamline the research process. For example, take a look at the article record screenshot below from ProQuest Central.

 

 

1. READ THE ABSTRACTS

Would you buy a novel without reading the plot summary? Just as books have summaries on the back or inside cover, scholarly articles have abstracts which summarize the research within one to three paragraphs. It is easy to get overwhelmed when selecting sources for your research, especially when you get into the world of scholarly journals, so abstracts clarify what an article title alone cannot convey. If you ignore the abstract, you may waste hours reading a lengthy article which turns out not to be what you thought!

 

2. SAVE THE PDF (if available)

Articles are generally displayed as either a PDF or HTML (text embedded within the page itself.) You can view PDFs in your browser and/or download and save them to your computer for use later. Many databases will also have a button to e-mail yourself a copy of the PDFs and/or article links for later access.

 

3. SAVE THE RIGHT LINK

Another option is to save a link to the article. This is trickier than it sounds, however. One thing to remember is to NEVER save the the link in your browser's search bar. Often this link is tied to your current session and will expire. Instead, look for a permalink (also called a pervasive link, stable link, document URL, bookmark URL, etc.) The permalink will always work later. Further, if you try to access the resource later from off-campus, the permalink will route through HPU Libraries' sign-in page to give you access to the article.

 

4. SAVE THE CITATION

Another thing to keep in mind if you decide to use the article is that the database will automatically generate a citation for your reference list already formatted in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Look for a "cite" or "export citation" button on the article record. Please note that while these are pretty accurate, you still need to check them against your citation guide and correct any errors you see.