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The James P. Boyce Centennial Library

Boyce Library News

RSS Feeds from EbscoHost

June 17th, 2009 • Robb Brunansky

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.

Searching WCL from the Library’s Website

June 15th, 2009 • Robb Brunansky

At the top of the main library web page we have updated the “Search the Catalog” feature with WorldCat Local. Now, to use the many new features of WCL, you no longer need to go to sbts.worldcat.org, but you can navigate to our web page, type your search terms, and you will be taken directly to WCL to see your search results.

If you prefer the older OPAC, you can still search that, too, by clicking “Search the Catalog” on the left-hand side of our site.

If you’ve had a chance to explore WorldCat Local, we would love to hear what you think. Email us your thoughts at worldcatfeedback@gmail.com.

Item Detail View, Part 1

May 27th, 2009 • Robb Brunansky

While perusing your search results in WorldCat Local (WCL), inevitably you will want more information about a particular item. For example, say you run a search on the keywords “church history reformation.” The second result is The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World. You notice that this title is a book held in the SBTS Library, and you want to know more about this particular item. Clicking the title takes you to the detailed information about this item.

There are so many options on this screen that I’m going to divide covering it into several posts. Let’s just start with what we see above.

The top of the window presents the options that are common to every WCL page: Home, Search, SBTS Library, and account sign-ins. The search box is underneath these options, allowing you to run a new search from the detailed view screen. This option is very helpful if after looking at a few of the search result details you realize you need to change your search. Rather than having to click to go to a search page, you can initiate a new search from here. If you want more options, you can also select Advanced Search from the search box as well as the scope of your search (only our library or all WorldCat libraries).

Beneath the Search Box we find the general information about this book. The cover art (if available) makes it easy to identify what we’re looking at, and the title is in bold across the top of this section, with the author, publication information, and format below.

In the box on the far right, we see a list of subjects related to our search. These subjects are Library of Congress Subject Headings, and clicking one of these links will run a search for all items in our library under that subject heading. Clicking on Similar Items will take us to the bottom of the page to a banner showing us related books. Each item identifies the nature of the similarity above the cover art, here that these books are by the same author.

Above the title and “More like this” box are several links.

A link to return to the list of search results is on the far left. Next is a link to Cite this item. Clicking this link brings up a display allowing you to view various citation formats and copy them. In the screenshot below, we have selected Turabian. Notice also that you can export a citation to either RefWorks or EndNote using the links at the bottom of the display. If you use citation management software, the Cite link is a powerful tool for building a bibliography.

The Print link simply prints the contents of the page you are viewing. The E-mail link allows you to email yourself this reference’s information. The email that is sent is nicely formatted and includes call number, location, and availability information. This is especially helpful if you have a mobile device where you can check your email. Rather than writing down a list of items, you can simply email them to yourself, see which ones are available and where they are located, and go find them.


The “Add to list” link enables you to save this item to a list in your WorldCat account. You need to be signed in to use this feature (if you are not signed in, clicking this link will bring up a display prompting you to do so). The nice thing about WCL’s list functionality is that you can add items to your lists without leaving the detailed view page. All the options you need are presented in a small display window. Adding items to a list is also helpful when you are going to use them in your research and want to create a bibliography. I’ll talk more about lists later, but for now, let me note that you can export entire lists to citation management software with a single click.

If you want to bookmark or share an item, you can do that as well. Clicking on the link brings up a display with ten of the most popular sharing options, as well as a “More” option in case your service isn’t listed and you want to see the full range of services. Finally, Permalink displays a permanent link to the detailed view of the item.

This post is already pretty long and we’ve barely started covering all the options on this page! We’ll look at some other options in the detailed view tomorrow. In the meantime, please try it out for yourself and let us know what you think at worldcatfeedback@gmail.com. We want to hear what you think about our new search engine and interface.

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