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Johns Hopkins University SAIS Mason Library

Database Search Tips  

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This guide offers techniques for effectively searching library databases.

A key to getting good search results is to use common search techniques that you can apply to almost any database, including article databases, online library catalogs and even commercial search engines.

When you don't get the results you expect, ask a librarian for advice. Library staff are happy to help you find what you need. You can also look for the Help or ? icons on the individual databases.


    Search tips summary by database

    Refine your search by using truncation symbols, proximity operators, AND, OR, NOT, and more.  

    See below for a chart showing  major database providers and  their search tips.  For more search tips, see database "help" screens and/or consult a librarian!


    Basic vs. Advanced

    Most databases offer the option of an advanced search.  Don't be afraid to choose this option, even if you don't think you're an "advanced" searcher.  It will give you many more options for refining your search.

    Subject Guide

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    Jenny Gelman
    Contact Info
    Research Desk hours:
    Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm
    Send Email
    SAIS Research Librarians:
    Jenny Gelman, Jenny Kusmik, Kate Picard, Steve Sears, Sheila Thalhimer

    What is RefWorks?

    RefWorks is an online "citation manager" that helps you store and organize citations, move them into your documents, and change citation style as needed. 

    It is free to all JHU users, utilizing the JHED ID as a login.

    For details, see the RefWorks Guide.

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