Spotlight on: Academic OneFile

screenshot: Academic OneFile page with search box and limiters

If you’re not already knee-deep in papers and projects, you probably will be soon. Library databases are one of the best resources to find credible, reliable information. But we know sometimes getting started can be tough, especially if you’ve never used a database before. So we’re here to help.

One database you might consider to get started is Academic OneFile. This is a general-subject database, meaning it has information from a lot of fields. You can access it easily through the UGL’s Find Articles Guide. (If you’re off campus, don’t worry! You can still use the databases. All you need is your NetID and password.)

When you first get in to the database, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

screenshot: searchbox above limiters, with search tips on right-hand side

The homepage for Academic OneFile

You’ll have a search box and a few ways to limit the results you’ll see. Sometimes it’s best not to select any of the things below the search box until you’ve seen results first. To optimize your database search, use keywords. Most of the time you’ll have more than one keyword you need to use, too. To get more search boxes, all you have to do is click on “Advanced Search” in the yellow bar above the search box.

screenshot: Advanced search is last option on main menu


screenshot: Advanced search has multiple fields for multiple keywords, and Boolean operators as well.




The advanced search page will give you some more options. Once you’ve entered your keywords, click search.




On your results screen, you’ll see ways to help you narrow down the results you have. On the left side of the screen, you have options to select the type of source, subjects, and/or publication dates.

screenshot: limiters are in a sidebar on the left-hand side of the results page

Once you find an article you like, you can click on the title to see more information. On this page, you’ll also have options to help you save the results you want to use. On the right side, there are tools you can use to save, email, print, or cite that article.

screenshot: when viewing an article record, options for saving, printing, and citing are on the right-hand side

This is just a brief look at what you might see using Academic OneFile. If you have questions or problems, come talk to a librarian! You can use our Ask-a-Librarian chat, visit us in person at the Research Desk, or come to Office Hours @ the UGL.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Summer Research Cheat Sheet

Picture of Illini pool

Rays and research, the perfect combination! (Photo courtesy of ARC website)

So, Summer I classes are almost half way over. Uh, whoa! That was super-fast! Condensed coursework is great because you get to rack up some credits a whole lot quicker. But they can also be a bummer because they tend to be much more intensive with tighter deadlines than a normal semester class. But if you’re taking a class right now, we don’t need to tell you that, huh?

If the half-way point of your Summer I class means it’s time to get your research on, never fear! The UGL has some quick-n-easy resources that will help you maximize your research capabilities (and theoretically maximize your grade), all while minimizing the time you actually need to spend in the library. In fact, the time you need to physically be inside the library could add up to a whopping zero hours. Is your mind blown? Well, it should be. Here are some trade secrets for helping you through a research paper – from conceptualizing an idea to polishing the works cited page – that are all one or two clicks away on the UGL homepage.

Meet your new best friend, the “Find” Button

screenshot of UGL homepage with easy search bar highlighted

Located in the upper left corner of the UGL homepage, hovering over the “Find” button gives you the keys to a whole bundle of helpful stuff, such as:

  • Need facts and contextual info on a topic? Click on “Background Info” to search our online encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, etc. You can search by subject area, resource type, or just a plain old-fashioned keyword search—user’s choice!
  • Need to narrow down a broad topic? Click on “Subject Guides” and be privy to a whole list of custom-made research guides. These guides break down common topics such as climate change, the Iraq War, teen pregnancy or media bias with a topic overview, background info, tips on finding relevant articles and books, and helpful websites.
  • Need a couple peer-reviewed articles? Click on “Articles” and you’ll automatically land on our handy “Find Articles Guide” page. Divided by multi-topic or subject-specific, this page provides links into the most commonly used databases, where you can search for articles on everything from the effects of UV rays on college students’ appetites to the sociological impacts of taking a summer road trip with a handful of your closest buds. (Extra pro tip: try looking for the department your class is in if you’re stuck—for example, if you’re taking a psych class, PscyINFO could be a good place to start.)

A Cite For Sore Eyes

Style guides are linked to on UGL page under heading 'Learn'

Citations, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Ever feel this way while working on the reference list for your paper? Well, there’s an app for that. Err, um, a link, anyway. Near the center of the UGL homepage, under the orange “Learn” heading is a link to the APA, MLA Guides. One click here takes you to a list of resources for perfecting your citations—both in the text and in the works cited list. Oh, your instructor is requesting Chicago Style? That’s covered, too!

Ask Us! (Online)

Ask a Librarian chat box located on main library page, UGL page, and many other places.

There’s a live help chat box embedded in the UGL homepage, and it’s staffed M-F from 9am-5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday from 1pm-4:30pm. Just one more way you can get a little extra push from a librarian without leaving the air conditioned comfort of your bedroom (or the sweltering pool deck at the ARC, if your wireless so allows).

One last tip…

Our online library resources are available to you wherever you are—you just need an internet connection and your Net ID/password to access from off campus. Your crazy-busy Summer I sched might be cramping your grill out/lay out/work out seshes, but time spent in the library (while we’d be happy to have you!) doesn’t have to get in the way of your fabulous summer.

Questions about anything you read here? Ask-A-Librarian!

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Planning a trip abroad? Brush up on those language skills!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

¿Habla Español?

Parli Italiano?

Dramatically lit picture of globe

(Photo courtesy of ToastyKen on

Yeah, us neither.  But we sure do like traveling, and we’re willing to bet you do, too.  Maybe you’re planning a European spring break vacation.  Or maybe you’re thinking about studying abroad in Spain next year.  Wouldn’t it be nice to learn a bit of the lingo before you go?  Have we got the tool for you!  Check out the awesome new online resource you can access through the library’s website called Tell Me More.  With Tell Me More, you can practice your English, Dutch, Italian, or Spanish, all from the comfort of your own bunk bed.  Here’s how you get there:

1.  Start at the library website’s Online Journals and Databases tool.

2. Type “Tell me more” into the search box.  Two results will pop up. Click the link for the second result, where it says “Databases DATABASES” (the first result is an NPR news publication).

To enter Tell Me More, click the link to “Databases DATABASES”

3.   You’ll probably be prompted to enter your NetID and password. Once you do that, you should be taken directly to the Tell Me More homepage. 

4.  On the homepage, click on the message near the center: “New user, click here.” You will enter your name, email address and set up a username and password.

5.  A screen may pop up asking you to to allow the system to access your camera and microphone.  Once you check the appropriate boxes, you should be able to start learning your language of choice!

Some things we like about Tell Me More:

  • Supplemental Business and Culture specific content: Just trying to learn the business basics so you can impress your German colleagues? Or do you want a more in-depth understanding of how to communicate with people on a daily basis? You get to decide which kind of training you need.
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Workshops
  • 37 different types of learning activities/interactions
  • Speech Recognition with playback and achievement scale
  • Spoken Error Tracking System (SETS®) technology automatically detects and corrects your pronunciation errors:  This is pretty cool. If you’ve got a microphone, you can repeat the phrases you hear in Tell Me More, and they’ll chart how your accent/pronunciation compares with a native speaker’s.  That way, you learn what words you’re saying right, and what you still need to work on.

Tell Me More seems pretty cool to us, but it’s a new resource for the library, and we’d love to hear about your experiences using it.  Send us a comment through this blog to let us know what you think!


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Peer (-Reviewed) Pressure! Pt. 2

 Since you read part one of this post last week (right?), you know how to get to the UGL’s list of recommended databases so that you can begin searching for articles on your research topic.

This week, we want to give you a little insight into how to tell if an article is actually peer-reviewed. Not all articles available through library databases are peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, so it is important to look carefully at the articles you find  to determine if they meet the requirements for your research. Databases include articles from popular periodicals (like Time magazine), scholarly journals, and trade periodicals (like Parks & Recreation – not the TV show!). This graphic gives you an idea of what library databases include:

The graph outlines that both scholarly and non-scholarly content is available, as well as popular and trade materials.

Note the giant star on the scholarly articles!

In many databases, you can actually limit your search so that you just retrieve articles from scholarly journals:

in EBSCO databases, search limiters are on the left-hand side of the screen.

Check the box “Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals” to limit to articles from scholarly journals in an EBSCO database. Click “Update” to apply the limit.

This limit is not foolproof! Why? Because not all works published in scholarly journals are actually “peer-reviewed articles.” Here’s the reason: scholarly journals also publish things like book reviews, editorials, and news releases. These are NOT what your professors mean when they say “peer-reviewed articles.” The scholarly articles your professor wants you to use present original research, usually in a longer format, often including graphics such as charts and tables, and always including citations for all material presented.

SO: even if you limit your search to just find articles from peer-reviewed journals, you still need to examine the article citation, abstract, and even some of the full text, to determine if it’s actually a scholarly, peer-reviewed article. Answer questions such as these for every resource you want to use: Are the authors’ credentials included? Do they cite sources? Are their conclusions based on evidence (and do they provide this evidence)?

The UGL has also created several web pages to assist you with evaluating sources!

Is it scholarly? Tips for critically evaluating your information resources: This page gives you criteria you can use to analyze the sources you find. Use the criteria found on this page when trying to determine whether or not an article you find is actually a peer-reviewed article and not simply a news release or editorial found in a scholarly journal.

Is it scholarly? Distinguishing periodical types: Here you will find criteria on how to tell the difference between scholarly articles and those from trade periodicals (written for and by people in a particular profession) and popular periodicals (such as People and GQ).

Remember: you may find articles from all types of periodicals (magazines, newspapers, journals) when you search in a database. It is important to evaluate what you see so you know if it works for your assignment!




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Peer (-Reviewed) Pressure! Pt. 1

You know this has happened to you more than once (or, if it hasn’t, you can bet that it’s coming): your professor gives you an assignment that involves finding peer-reviewed articles. Upon hearing those words you catch your breath, sink a little lower in your seat, and open your calendar to block off Saturday and Sunday with the words: “@ the LIBRARY :(“.

Fear not! Finding scholarly, peer-reviewed articles as part of your research process is actually not quite as dreadful as it might sound. At the UGL, we have created several resources to make your research process a lot easier. Last week, we featured our Subject Guides, research guides created around specific topics, and this week we want to introduce some of the basics on where to go to find peer-reviewed articles.

First: what does “peer-reviewed” mean? We often use the terms “peer-reviewed” and “scholarly” interchangeably. Peer-reviewed articles are (typically) long, research articles published in scholarly journals. They are called peer-reviewed because when they are submitted for publication, a committee of experts in the author’s field reviews the research to determine if it is worthy of publication.  The information in scholarly, peer-reviewed articles is authoritative and credible–that review process helps to make sure of it.

Make sense? OK, on to finding them. Scholarly articles come from scholarly research journals, which are easily accessible from library databases. The best place to start when looking for peer-reviewed articles from databases in most disciplines (in our humble opinion) is the UGL’s Find Articles Guide

To get there, go the UGL’s home page and look for the ‘Find Articles’ button underneath the Easy Search box (see image above). Click on it – you want to ‘find articles,’ right?

There are also links to the catalog and course reserves.

 Then you’ll arrive at the following page:

screenshot of find articles guide

Our Find Articles Guide is organized by subject area. We give you a basic list of the central databases in each field as a general starting point for most research.

Library databases come in many forms: some are general, like Academic Search Premier and Academic OneFile, which means that they include all kinds of research in all kinds of fields, from sources ranging from scholarly journals to popular magazines. These general databases are great starting points (see above!) for research on any topic.

Other databases are more subject-specific. That is why our Find Articles page is organized by discipline or subject area. Sometimes, it’s obvious which subject area to look under to find the appropriate research: if you’re searching for peer-reviewed articles for a business class, you’d probably want to turn to the databases listed under the Business heading.

Sometimes, though, it’s a little less clear. Some research topics are inter-disciplinary. For example: say you’re doing research for a communications class that involves talking about health and wellness issues. You will probably need to look for articles in databases from both the Communication and Medicine and Health disciplines–both of which are listed on the Find Articles page.

While all of these databases–except for CQ Researcher and those listed under the “Newspapers” heading–include peer-reviewed articles, that is not all they offer. You need to do some legwork to determine if the articles you find are peer-reviewed.

Be sure to check out Peer (-Reviewed) Pressure Part Two next week to learn more about how to determine if an article in a database is actually a scholarly, peer-reviewed article.

As always feel free to leave a comment or question! Or Ask-a-Librarian.

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