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Introduction to Library Resources: Gale Academic OneFile

This guide is to give you an overview of resources available through the Drain-Jordan Library, similar to what students will learn in our Library Introduction classes.

Beginning Your Search in Academic OneFile

You do not need to be a student or faculty member to use our online resources if you're on campus. You can login to any of our journals, databases, and other resources for free in the library or anywhere that connects to the school's WiFi.

Although we generally recommend starting your search in Academic Search Premier, Academic OneFile is also a great place to start, and provides a variety of journal articles and research tools that Academic Search Premier does not.

Starting your Search

To begin your search, go to the "Databases" page on our library website. If you are unfamiliar with how to do so, or have never logged in from off campus before, follow the steps in the Database Introduction and Off Campus Access guide.

Once you are in Academic OneFile (and logged in if you are off campus), you will see a page similar to the one pictured below. Although the "Subject Guide Search" tool can be helpful, we suggest starting your search using the search box directly above it (black arrow). This search box defaults to subject terms, rather than subject guides, and is a little more user friendly for new users. It will also pull up significantly more results.

Gale Academic OneFile search boxes

For this example, we will be searching for "Dogs", so type that in the search box and hit enter. In the image below, we see that there are 133,570 academic journal results for the term "Dogs", not even counting magazine, book, news, or image results, which can also be selected. This is a little too many to go through, so at this point we will start adding what we call Limiters. A limiter is something that limits, or narrows down, your results so that you get sources more applicable to your topic. We see that the "Full Text Documents" limiter is already checked (black arrow), so we are going to go ahead and check the "Peer-Reviewed Journals" box below it as well. Checking the peer-reviewed box tends to pull up more academic sources, which your professor may have requested. (For more on differentiating between Academic and Non-Academic sources go to our Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Articles page).

Gale Academic OneFile Search results and limiters with arrows

As you can see in the image below, adding both these limiters pulls up 110,657 search results, which is slightly less but still too many. You could add more limiters at this point (ex.: date published), but your topic is pretty broad and will more than likely still pull up too many results. Therefore, we need to add additional search terms to bring up results more specific to the topic we are researching. In this case, the paper I'm writing is about therapy dogs and veterans.

Gale Academic OneFile search results with limiters added

Taking those more specific search terms, you can either use the "Advanced Search" option at the top (where you will be prompted to use Boolean Operators), or you can simply type "therapy dogs and veterans" in the search box we used previously, which is what we're going to do here. As you can see in the picture below, that pulls up a more manageable number of search results (59), and they're all more relevant to our topic.

Search results for therapy dogs and veterans search

For this exercise, I'm just going to select the first article, titled "How Service Dogs Enhance Veterans' Occupational Performance in the Home". 

As you can see, selecting the article pulls up a full-text version of it, as well as list the author(s), date, source/publisher, document type, length, and DOI. 

Along with being able to read the article in its full text format, there is another useful perk of using our library databases. On the top of your screen you will see a toolbar. From there you can email the article to yourself, print it, get the hyperlink, or cite (black arrow) the article in 3 different citation formats (including MLA, APA, and Chicago). Gale will have already generated this citation for you, so you won't need to do it yourself. Make sure to double check each citation though, as sometimes the formatting can be weird. Almost all of our databases that offer access to full text content offer this citation resource.

Full text of the article "How service dogs enhance veterans occupational performance in the home".

Another great resource offered through Academic OneFile is the Topic Finder toolIf you have a vague idea of what you would like to write about, but want to narrow down your search, this is a great place to start. From the main homepage on Academic OneFile, click on the "Topic Finder" link below the search bar (black arrow). 

Academic OneFile alternative search option, "Topic Finder"

Once again, we're going to use the term "dogs". We know that it's a little broad for our paper, but we aren't sure how to narrow it down. In the image below, we see that it provides a lot of options for us to select, including: video, canines, pets, animal, and story. For this example, we are going to select "Animal."

Topic finder search results using the term "dogs"

As you can see, this narrows the results down even further, as well as providing some relevant articles off to the right. At this point, you could narrow your search down further, or you could browse through the articles provided. 

Dogs, animals, search narrowed down.

And that's it! By following these steps, and integrating what you've learned into our other databases, you're well on your way to finding great resources through the Drain-Jordan Library and beyond. 

If this is still not making any sense, feel free to come to the Library at any time and ask someone on the reference desk to walk you through these, or any, of the steps required to find good resources. Or Ask Us! We're always happy to help!