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Irvine Information: Searching the Databases

Information for students and faculty about using Alliant Library resources both online and at the Irvine Information Resource Center

Getting Started

When you click on the Databases link, you'll see a list of all the databases Alliant Library has to offer. By clicking on the tabs, you can also see a list arranged by subject, view descriptions, and connect to helpful guides.

Search Tips

  • Keep a log of your searches so you can remember which search terms – and combinations of search terms – you’ve tried before. (EBSCO will remember your searches from a single visit – or create an account with EBSCO to remember more search info and save your folder between visits.)

  • Remember to email yourself the articles you find that you want to keep. Don’t leave the database without emailing any articles you’ve saving to your EBSCO folder. Don’t just copy and paste a URL – it has lots of your log-in information, and probably won’t work again. Make sure you have a full citation for an article so you can cite it correctly and access it again.

  • Use Boolean operations (AND/OR/NOT) and truncation and wildcards (example:  child* for child, children, child’s, childish, etc.). See the EBSCO handout for more tips. Don’t be afraid to get creative when searching.

  • Look at the subjects and author-supplied keywords for articles that are relevant to your search. They may give you other ideas for search terms you can use.

  • Try lots of databases! Don't limit yourself to just one or two. For example, for school psychology, you’ll also find good results from Research Library Complete (ProQuest) and Sage eJournals (select Sage eReference from the list of databases, and then click on SAGE Journals Online).

  • Look in the Dissertations and Theses database to see abstracts and full-text dissertations from colleges and universities across the US and Canada. This can be a great resource for getting started on your literature review or narrowing down a dissertation topic.

  • If you have a citation but don’t know how to find the article…. search for the journal title from the library’s homepage. Click on “Full text available” to go to the journal homepage, then select the volume, issue, and article you want or use the search box to search for the title or author.

Searching and Results

Enter your search terms and go! Finding the right search terms is sometimes a matter of trial and error. For useful tips on developing good searches, see the box on search tips on this page, check out other database guides, or talk to your librarian.


When you have a list of results, it's time to check them out to see if they are relevant to you. You can click on the article title for more details, including abstracts, subject terms, keywords, and more. You can also email the article information (including a PDF of the whole article, if it's available) to yourself.


Accessing the text

For each article, you may see different options for accessing the full text:

  • PDF Full Text - will take you straight to the article in PDF format. You can save it, print it out, etc.
  • HTML Full Text - will take you straight to the article in HTML format
  • Find Full Text - this will open a "link resolver" that will try to find the article in another Alliant database. If it can find it, it will open it up for you in a new window. If not, you'll get a few more options.

Requesting Articles through Article Reach or Interlibrary Loan

Find full text may take you to a window that have several options for searching. One of them will probably say "Article Reach Direct: Can't find it? Request it for free through ArticleReach/Interlibrary Loan."


Request articles for free using Article Reach/Interlibrary Loan (ILL) through the above link or the “Interlibrary Loan” link from the Alliant Library homepage. Log in with your Name and Alliant ID number or 14-digit barcode. Then complete as much information as possible. Most of the form will be filled out for you! Then sit back - you'll receive an email with a link to the PDF of your article within a few days.

For books, book chapters, dissertations, or articles you found that didn’t come with a link to Article Reach, you can use the Interlibrary Loan request form. Enter as much information as you can, and then let your trusty Alliant librarians try to find the material for you. These requests may take anywhere from a few days to 2-4 weeks to fill.