Using Academic Search Premier for College Research
I taught a "Searching Beyond Google" class on the database Academic Search Premier in February this year, and I am excited about all of the capabilities that it has to offer college students and those who simply want scholarly information on a subject of their choice.
Merits of Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is terrific resource for college and high school students who need articles about certain subject matter in order to write papers. It offers full-text articles from peer-reviewed journals that students can print, save to a flash drive, or email to themselves as PDF attachments. The database is easy to use, it is updated on a daily basis, and it contains a multitude of articles about many different topics. Oftentimes, when patrons are unable to find information in a print book about a subject, they can find it in this database. It contains information about esoteric and unusual topics that do not have entire books written about them. It is especially useful for current topics that may not have been around long enough to inspire people to write books about. I always point college students to this quite valuable resource, and it is usually exactly what they need.
Beyond Academic Search Premier
For more specialized research, other more specific databases will be more helpful. For example, for legal case law, Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw would be a better choice, which are not available at The New York Public Library. Career Cruising, which NYPL subscribes to, is useful for individuals wishing to explore career options. Searching for databases by subject area at nypl.org/collections/articles-databases will be more helpful for graduate students and beyond.
Searching is an art form, and users of this database will have to learn how to use search terms appropriately. The database is indexed by certain specific words. Using too many search terms can result in a search that is too narrow, while using too few search terms can result in thousands of articles that users may find difficult to sift through. Using terms that the computer does not recognize will not produce many, if any, results. Users need to play around and experiment with using different search terms. Thinking of the most common words to describe what users are looking for is helpful.
Users can also search for specific articles by using the title of the article or by searching the author field in the Advanced Search mode. People can order results by relevance or date, language, type of publication (such as periodical, newspaper, or book), ticker symbol (financial marker), ISBN (international book standard number), keyword, subject or other features. When users understand how the database utilizes these terms and how they are searched, they are more able to effectively search the database.
You can also see related images on the right hand side of the search results. For example, I did a search on horses, and I came up with images of Cavalia, a Canadian horse show that includes vaulting, dressage, and other terrific equine feats.
Enjoy This Database!
Academic Search Premier is available to be used remotely from our web site, nypl.org. Go to our web site, click on Research, choose Articles & Databases, and scroll down to Academic Search Premier. Since it has a house icon to the left of the title of the database, it can be used from home. You simply need a valid library card with PIN (personal identification number - four numbers) to access the database outside of the library. Enjoy learning!