Chapter 2: Locating information

2.8 Finding indexes

The library provides a list of Article Indexes & Databases that you have access to as an ISU student. You can access these from the library homepage.

Article Indexes and Databases tab on the library homepage
Figure2.16 Article Indexes and Database tab

You can browse the indexes by subject using the All Subjects drop-down menu. Once you choose your subject you’ll get a list of indexes and databases that cover that area, with Best Bets featured at the top.

Article Indexes and Databases page
Figure 2.17 Article Indexes and Databases page, by Subject drop-down menu, Best bets and other databases in chemistry
The Subjects dropdown on the Article Indexes & Databases page brings you to a list of article indexes hand-picked by the librarian for that subject. If you need help with your research, that librarian’s contact information is listed there so you can contact them with questions.

If you know the name of the article index you want, you can find it by using the default A-Z list or by using the search box. Then click on the name of the index you want to use. Note: this search box does not find articles within the index, but instead it searches names and descriptions of indexes or databases. When using the search box, it is best to use very general terms, such as “chemistry” or “design.” If you’re not sure which index to use, you can also use a general article database like Academic Search Ultimate.

General purpose indexes

General purpose article indexes cover many different subject areas and often include articles from magazines and newspapers as well as from scholarly journals. One good example of a general purpose index is Academic Search Ultimate. Because it covers many different subject areas, a general purpose index like this can be a good place to start.

Similar to Quick Search, when you get results from Academic Search Ultimate, you’ll see filters listed on the left side of your screen. You can use these to focus your search results in various ways.

Refine Results feature in Academic Search Ultimate
Figure 2.18 Academic Search Ultimate, Refine Results feature

Academic Search Ultimate has some interesting and unique features, including text to speech technology that can read articles to you. Other features include saving your search results, filtering articles to peer-reviewed journals only, and generating citations for your bibliography.

Indexes like Academic Search Ultimate are great for finding information when you’re not sure which subject area your topic falls under. However, if you want to find in-depth research articles in a specific subject area, subject-focused indexes are a better choice.


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Library 160: Introduction to College-Level Research by Iowa State University Library Instruction Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.