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Choosing and Using Library Databases: Search Multiple Databases at the Same Time

This guide will help you choose and use library databases more effectively.

Publisher-Based Searches

Major online database vendors like Proquest and EBSCO host many disparate databases, but you can use their search engines to search all the databases from that vendor at once. This technique also works for some major journal and ebook publishers that have search engines which work across all of their titles.

Choose Databases option in OmniFile Full-Text Mega


While searching multiple databases at once can be useful, by definition it's lowest-common denominator searching. None of the advanced search techniques available in individual databases will be available. Some pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Your search results may mix apples and oranges... or, less figuratively, things like articles and dissertations.
  • Subject headings won't be consistent.
  • Databases with full-text searching may be over-represented in your results, simply because they have more words to match on.
  • Relevancy ranking doesn't work well.
Jessie Ball duPont Library, University of the South
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