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Select Search Option

  • Basic

  •     If you are unsure which database to select, select a topic from the pull-down menu and allow the FirstSearch system to select the databases for you.
  • Advanced

  •     If you know which database to select, click on that title from the pull-down menu.

Basic Search

  • Enter your search term(s) in the Search Box.

  • NOTE:  When you are searching in basic mode, you are searching by keyword - the system checks for your terms in the entire text of the record, regardless of context.
  • The next menu indicates the databases in which results were found.  Click in the box next to the database title(s) to view the records for that database.
  • The next screen allows you to continue to search by keyword or to elect to search by author or article title.  Click in the radio button next to the appropriate choice.
  • Continue on to Results.

Advanced Search

  • Enter your search term(s) in the Search Box.
  • Select the Search Options for how you want to search (by title, author, subject, etc.)
  • Advanced searching allows you to combine terms using Boolean operators:
    • Select "AND" when you want your search results to contain all terms.
    • Select "OR" when you want your search results to contain any of several terms.
    • Select "NOT" when you wish to omit certain related terms.
  • Apply whatever limits are appropriate to your search.  In most databases, you can limit your search to a particular time period.  Different databases contain different limit options.


  • Your search results, if any, will be displayed as bibliographic citations (title, author, source).
  • If you are searching a database that provides abstracts or full text, click on the title for more information.
  • The menu at the top of the screen gives you a series of options:
    • Expand: You can search further by related authors or subject headings.
    • Limit: You can further refine your search by a particular author, added subject headings, or publication year.
    • Email: You can send your results to any valid email account.
    • Print: You can print out your results.
    • Help: You can access on-line help in using the FirstSearch system.
Tagging Records
  • As you proceed through your results list, you may find some items that are more useful than others.  You can click in the "Tag Record" box to keep track of these items.  When you are done, you can click on the link for "Marked Records" and see all tagged records on one screen.  You then have the option of printing or emailing the records.
Navigation Bar
  • The navigation bar on the left side of the screen allows you to return to certain portions of your search by clicking on the appropriate links.
    • Home: Return to the front page of the search system.
    • Databases: Get a list of databases arranged alphabetically by name or by topic.
    • Search: Three levels of searching for basic, advanced, and expert searchers.
    • Results: Brief, detailed, or marked recrods from the current search or a search previously executed within the same session.
    • Exit: Exit the FirstSearch system.