We’ve talked quite a bit about WorldCat Local lately on our blog, and I’ll continue covering it until I have finished giving an overview of the new features, but today I want to take a break from WorldCat and take a look at another search tool available to our patrons: EbscoHost.
We subscribe to a number of databases through EbscoHost, including such databases as Old Testament Abstracts, New Testament Abstracts, Academic Search Premier, ERIC, and Christian Periodical Index. Ebsco allows you to search as many of these databases as you want simultaneously. Let’s say, for example, that you want to search both the Old Testament Abstracts and New Testament Abstracts databases for anything related to 1 Peter. To do that, first navigate to the Ebsco search interface by finding either one of these databases on our Theology and Religion Databases page. For our example we’ll pick OT Abstracts.
When we click the link to this database, we are taken to Ebsco’s main search page. From here, we can add other databases to our search criteria. Click “Choose Databases” to bring up a window listing all of the available databases.
Check the ones you want to search. For our example, check New Testament Abstracts. Now our search will query both databases and show us the results from each integrated neatly into one list. Let’s say we want to search for articles relating to Peter’s first letter. We type 1 Peter into the search box and click Search. A list of results is returned, in our case, 474 different items. The results screen presents many options we can modify to refine our search, but we won’t bother looking at them today.
Let’s say what we really want to do is find out when our search results change and new articles are added that relate to our search. One way of finding out this information is to keep a tally of how many results you found today, then tomorrow re-run the same search and see if anything has been added. However, that’s a little time-consuming and cumbersome. It is also completely unnecessary. Ebsco allows you to generate an RSS feed of your search results that automatically updates when the database updates. Click on the RSS button to generate an RSS feed.
A window will appear with details about your feed and instructions on how to access it from any aggregator, RSS newsreader, or web browser.
Follow these instructions, and you will have an automated research assistant that alerts you whenever a new article appears relating to your research. This works across all the Ebsco databases, and we hope you find it useful in your studies.