Tips on Searching for Journal Articles in H.W. Wilson Databases

| December 4, 2011

As a TC student, chances are you will need to access journal articles in an H.W. Wilson database at some point during your studies.  This post is for those of you who have not yet braved a search on Wilson and for those who have already done so but would like to know a little more about the ins and outs of how the searches function.

Please note that H.W. Wilson is just one of many database search and retrieval systems.  Look for tips on other systems such as Proquest and EBSCOhost in future posts!

Which databases can I access through H.W. Wilson?

Probably the most relevant Wilson databases for TC students are Education Full Text and OmniFile Full Text Mega. The full list of Wilson databases available through TC is as follows:

Applied Science Full Text Business Full Text Legal Periodicals Retro
Art Full Text Education Full Text Library Lit & Inf Full Text
Art Retrospective Education Index Retro OmniFile Full Text Mega
Bibliographic Index Plus General Science Full Text Readers’ Guide Full Text
Biological & Agr Index Plus Humanities & Social Sci Retro Readers’ Guide Retro
Book Review Digest Plus Humanities Full Text Social Sciences Full Text
Book Review Digest Retro Legal Periodicals & Books

How do I access a Wilson database?

You can access Wilson databases several ways.

If you would like to access Education Full Text, you can simply click on the hyperlink of the same name under “Library Resources” on the TC library website.

If you know the name of the particular database you would like to access, click on “Databases” under “Library Resources” on the TC library website. There, you can browse available databases or search for a specific database by title.

If you do not know the name of a particular database but know the subject area you are looking for, you can browse the resources available to you by department, some of which are Wilson databases.

How do I do an advanced search?

When you click on a link to your database of choice, you will be directed to the advanced search interface, which looks like this:

If you already know the article you are looking for, the most effective way to find this specific article is to search by title or author. To do so, type the author’s last name into the search box and select “author” in the drop-down box next to it.  Then type in the title in the next search box and select “title” in the drop-down box next to that.

If you would like to browse a particular journal, you can search by journal name.

If you know the subject heading for the subject you are interested in, you can also search by it.

If you would like to do a general search, you can also just type in a word or author of interest and leave “All–Smart Search” in the drop-down box. This will likely give you a greater number of search results.

You can limit your search by year of publication, document type, and whether it is available as full text or as a PDF, and whether it is peer-reviewed.

How do I narrow my search?

Once you see your search results, you can use the options on the left-hand side of the screen to limit your search.  You can also do a new search using one of the suggested similar subject headings listed on the left-hand side of the screen. You can see these options below (the original search here was “teaching math”):

How do I access an article?

If you find an article of interest, click on the title.  This will take you to the record view for the article, which you can see below.

From here, you can see essential information about the article (publication date, subjects, etc.), read the abstract, and access a copy of it.  If you see an icon for “Full text HTML” or “Full text PDF,” click on it to access the full text of the article.  If not, click on the link called “Article Linker.”  You will be directed to a screen showing if you have access to this article via the resources at TC.  In the screen below,  the article in question is available through EBSCOhost EJS Enhanced.

Why should I use the thesaurus?

If you are having trouble finding relevant articles on your subject of interest, consider searching for a specific subject heading in the WilsonWeb thesaurus.  You can access the thesaurus by clicking on the “Thesaurus” tab at the top of the main page.  A successful thesaurus search can help you find the specific subject heading that should lead you to articles specifically designated to that subject.

How do I use the thesaurus?

If you do not know the subject heading, you can search in the thesaurus provided by Wilson for the terms Wilson will recognize.  For example, if a TC student is looking for articles on teaching art to first graders, she can type in “teaching art” in the thesaurus and find that there are several records listed under the subject heading “art education,” but none that list elementary school education in particular.  She can then use her new-found subject heading “art education” along with “elementary” in the thesaurus search to find the full subject heading “Art Education/Elementary Schools.”

The thesaurus can be tricky at times, so be creative before giving up!  For example, searching “teaching math” will not give you results you might expect, but searching “teaching mathematics” does.

Are there any other helpful services available on Wilson?

Yes!  You can use the tabs at the top of the page to access your search history, print, email, or save your search results, and to export or cite the articles listed in your search results.

Happy searching!