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Academic Search Complete

The databases contain full-text articles and citations. Full-text articles come in either HTML or PDF (scroll down for the difference) and include every word of the article. 

But a citation is only a little bit of information about the article - the title, author(s), where it was published, and an abstract. A citation does not give you much information, and it is not acceptable to use just the abstract as a reference source.

If you see an article like the example below, you are looking at a citation, not a full-text article:


 If your article is available in full text, you'll see either an HTML Full Text or PDF Full Text link at the top left, under Detailed Record, like this one:

 If you want to make sure you can read the entire article for all of your search results, limit your search to full-text articles. You can do that before or after you search.

If you want to limit before you search, check the Full Text checkbox underneath the Limit Your Results section:



Or if you forget to check the box before you search, you can limit your results to full text from your list of search results. The checkbox appears at the top left of your results:


         Check the box and click on Update:



 Remember, if you find an article in the database that does not have the full text included, but you think you'd like to read that article, contact a librarian. We can order it for you - for free - through interlibrary loan.

HTML vs. PDF Full Text


Full text comes in two different formats: HTML and PDF. Sometimes you'll find an article with both full text formats:



If you click on the title of the article, you'll also see the type of full text at the top left, under the Detailed Record icon:


Click on either the HTML or PDF link to open the full text. 

In a PDF, the article appears exactly how it looked in the print publication - as though someone scanned a copy of the article. The text formatting, images, and page numbers will be the same as they appear in the print layout:


 However, in the HTML view of the same article, only the text of the article is the same. It is like it's copied and pasted on screen, without the formatting and page numbers of the original that the PDF format retains.


    It doesn't really matter which format you read: the text of the article is exactly the same, regardless of the format. 

One place where format will make a difference, however, is if you are using MLA format to document your sources.

In MLA parenthetical documentation, the author's name and the page number on which you found your quotation or paraphrase must be noted after your quotation. Here's an example:

The author believes the first sentence of Updike's work is "an ideal evocation of the mundane" (Schwarz 181).

If you have an article in PDF Full Text, you should use the original page numbers of the print publication in your parenthetical documentation (in this example, page 181). If you have an article in HTML Full Text, however, you will not have any page numbers - just a block of text - so you would omit page numbers from your parenthetical documentation:

The author believes the first sentence of Updike's work is "an ideal evocation of the mundane" (Schwarz).


When you search the databases, you can set conditions on the search results you get back, including their length, publication date, format, and so much more. 

We call these conditions "limiters," and by setting limiters before you enter your search terms and hit 'Search,' you can save yourself a lot of time sorting through articles that don't fit your requirements. 

The Advanced Search screen has more limiters than a Basic Search. To get to there, click on the Advanced Search link under the search box:



Scroll down for an explanation of each limiter you'll find on the Advanced Search screen in Academic Search Complete. 


1. Limiting to Full Text is discussed under the Full Text tab above.

2. Limiting to Scholarly/Peer Reviewed is discussed under the Scholarly/Peer Reviewed tab above.

3. Publication


This limiter allows you to specify which publication you'd like your article to come from.

You can type either a specific publication (like New York Times or Time), or you can type a keyword like "psychology" to return results from any publication with the word "psychology" in the title (like the magazine Psychology Today or the journal Cognitive Psychology).

4. Document Type

The Document Type limiter lets you specify the type of source. You have several choices here:



Article Bibliography
Book Chapter  Book Review Case Study Correction Notice
Directory   Editorial Entertainment Review Entry
Film Review Interview Letter Literary Criticism
Music Review Obituary Opinion Poem
Poetry Review Proceeding Product Review Recipe
Report Short Story Speech Television Review

 You will probably never use many of these document types. Some of the more helpful ones, though, might be book review, literary criticism, or opinionIn order to get a wide variety of sources in your results, though, leave this menu on All

If you want to select more than one document type limiter, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and select as many document types as you'd like. 

5. Number of Pages

This limiter allows you to specify how many pages you'd like the articles in your search results to be. 

You can specify the exact number of pages (equal to), or you can specify that your article be longer (greater than) or shorter (less than) than a certain number of pages. You might use this option if your instructor asks you to use articles longer than 5 pages (greater than 5), or if you want to avoid the articles in the database that are less than one page (greater than 1)

6. Image Quick View Types

In addition to text sources, the database has images: usually photos that accompany an article, or graphs and charts. If an article includes an image, you'll see a thumbnail (a "quick view") under the article title and subject terms in your results list:


 If there is a specific image type you want (say you only want articles with color photos, for instance), check the appropriate boxes in this limiter. All of the articles in your results list will include that image type.

 7. References Available

Check this box to limit your search results to articles that have a References or Works Cited list. 

Many people check this box because they think it will give them the citation for their Works Cited list. Don't do this! You can get the citation for any article in this database (click here to find out how).

Checking this box limits the number of search results dramatically. Don't check this unless you're absolutely sure you'll need an article with a list of References. 

 8. Published Date

This limiter allows you to specify a date range for your search results.

You might use this if you are required to use articles published within the last 5 years, or some other time limit. In this case, set the first month and year to 5 years ago, and leave the second date range blank.

You might also use this box if you want to find primary sources, which are usually published at the time an event occurred.

For example, if you want to find articles published during World War II, you could set your date range this way:

With this date range set, all your search results will have been published between September 1939 and August 1945. 

 9. Publication Type

This menu allows you to specify the type of publication your want your article to come from. The menu lists six options:

Periodical Newspaper Book
Primary Source Document Educational Report Health Report

 Some of these options will not be very useful (there are no Health Reports in the database, and fewer than 200 Educational Reports), so your best course is to leave this menu set to All

 10. Language

This menu allows you to select the language of your results.

Most articles in the database are published in English, but sometimes you come across articles published in foreign languages. There are over 40 languages in this menu. To filter out foreign language articles, choose English from this menu.

You can select more than one language by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and selecting one or more options from the menu. 

 11. Cover Story

If you check this box, your search results will include only include articles that are designated as "cover stories:" the cover of the publication is dedicated to publicizing that article. You might use this limiter if you remember an article that appeared on a magazine cover, but not the title or author of the article.

For example, let's say you wanted to find the Time magazine article that caused controversy because the cover of the magazine featured an image of a woman breast-feeding an older child.

To find the accompanying article in the database, you would check the Cover Story box and type 'Time' in the Publication box (see limiter 3, above), and then search without entering any search terms. 

 12. Image Quick View

If you check this box, you will limit your search results to articles that include any kind of image (photograph, drawing, chart, etc.).

If you wish to specify the type of image the article should include, use the Image Quick View Types checkboxes (see limiter 6, above). 

 13. PDF Full Text

There are two different formats of full text in this database: HTML and PDF. For an explanation of the difference, click here.

If you do not want HTML Full Text, and only want full-text articles available as PDFs, check this box. Keep in mind that you might miss out on articles formatted only in HTML, though.

14. San Jacinto College Library holdings

Check this box to limit your search results to articles that the SanJac Libraries also own in the printed, physical version. Time magazine would come up, for example, because we have a subscription to the printed magazine.

However, checking this box can negate the amazing benefits of the database, which gives us electronic access to millions of articles that we could never store physically in the libraries.

The only situation in which you might want to use this limiter is if you did not check Full Text, and checked this box, as well. Then if you found an article you wanted, and it wasn't available in full text in the database, you could come into the library and use the physical copy. 

This video explains some of the main differences between popular media such as newspapers or magazines, and scholarly journals.

For more help, check out this chart from the University of Michigan:

It's hard to find scholarly journals online, even using Google Scholar; most journals are not available in full text for free online. But the library's subscription databases contain thousands of journal titles and millions of individual journal articles.

Before you search, scroll down to the Limit Your Results section and check the box that says Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals:



If you forget this step, you can limit to scholarly journals after you search. At the top left of your search results, check the Scholarly Journals checkbox:



Then click on update to finish limiting your results:


Many of SanJac's subscription databases (over 50!) are from a company called EBSCO. In order to maximize your results and efficiency, you may want to search more than one EBSCO database at once.

Once in Academic Search Complete, click the Choose Databases link located just above the search box:






A window will appear that lists all of the databases we get from EBSCO in alphabetical order. Depending on your topic, some of the other databases will also be appropriate.

For example, if you are writing about "bullying in schools," you may want to select the ERIC database, since it contains many education journals. Or if you are writing about health care, you may want to select one of the Health Sciences databases (CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE, Health Sources, etc.).

To find out more about each database, mouse over the bubble after its name for a description of the scope and content of the database:



Check the boxes for the databases you'd like to search, and click OK. Now you're searching across many databases at once!| Central Library: 281-476-1850 | Generation Park Campus: 281-998-6150 x8133 | North Library: 281-459-7116 | South Library: 281-998-6150 ext. 3306