Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to Use Catalogs & Databases

Detailed step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) for using the library's catalogs and databases

How to Find Reference Sources

Places where you can find reference sources: encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, and more.

Charger Search by Credo


Charger Search by Credo is an easy-to-use tool for starting research. Gather background information on your topic from hundreds of full-text encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and subject-specific titles, as well as 500,000+ images and audio files and over 1,000 videos. Search results will primarily be from reference sources, and there are options to link to databases from the left-side menu.

Here's a link:

Searching from the Basic Search Page (Main Page)

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

screenshot of Credo basic search page

  1. Access library links from the very top
  2. Use navigation links from the blue bar
  3. Enter search terms in the search box and click the Search button
  4. Browse subjects using subject links

Searching from the Advanced Search Page

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

screenshot of Credo advanced search page

  1. Enter search terms into the boxes
    • With the exact phrase = search will look fo the words as a phrase together; similar to a phrase search that uses quotation marks
    • Without the words = search will exclude the word(s); similar to using NOT before the word(s)
    • With any of the words = search will look for any (but not necessarily all) of the words; similar to using OR between every word
    • With all of the words = search will look for all of the words; similar to using AND between every word
  2. Limit the results according to:
    • subject or discipline area
    • specific publication years or date ranges
    • source types (such as articles with images or audio, etc.)
  3. Sort the results according to:
    • relevance
    • length (how many words)
    • publication date
  4. You could also search only within subject headings, but that's a very specific type of search that's not usually as helpful when you're starting a search
  5. Click the Search button when you're ready to start

Reviewing the Search Results

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

screenshot of Credo results page

  1. From the top:
    • Use the search box to tweak search terms, if needed
    • Adjust the drop-down for the type of search (topic search, basic search, etc.)
    • Look at the related links to see if any of them might be useful
    • Click on the tabs to switch between all results, images, topic pages, and mind maps
  2. From the left-side menu:
    • Narrow the results according to:
      • subject
      • media or content type
      • publication date
      • length of the source (number of words)
    • Continue the search in other databases
      • Click on the links under the Related Resources heading to go to Gale, EBSCO, or other databases
  3. For each source:
    • Click on the "eye" icon to view a preview of the source (a panel will open below the source's title)
    • Click on the floppy disk "save" icon to save the source to your folder

Previewing a Source

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

screenshot of Credo preview tab

  1. Click on the "eye" icon to view a preview of the source
  2. If the source is an article, an abstract will appear. Otherwise, a brief excerpt from a book or longer source will appear
  3. Click on the "continue reading..." link to view the full-text of the source
  4. Click on the "X" icon to close the preview panel

Viewing the Full-Text of a Source

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

screenshot of Credo record page

  1. From the top:
    • Click on the "Go Back to Results" link to return to the search results page
    • Click on the "Previous Article" or "Next Article" links to go to the full-text of articles directly before or after the source according to the search results
    • Use the "Search the book" box to search within the source. (If the article is from a larger work, such as an encyclopedia, this search will go outside the article you're reading to search within the full book.)
  2. From the right-side menu:
    • Click on the database links in the Search Other Sites list to repeat the search in other databases (such as Gale, EBSCO, etc.)
  3. From the bottom:
    • There are citation generators at the bottom of the page to provide a basic reference in APA, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA styles.
      PLEASE NOTE: If you choose to use this, be sure to copy, paste, and edit. Databases usually include database URLs, which not all citation and style guides want to use. (In fact, many don't want you to use database URLs.) There may also be issues with author names, capitalization, and the use of italics. Just be sure to proofread based on the style your professor asks you to use for your assignments.

Gale Virtual Reference Library logoGale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

Here's a link:

Searching from the Basic Search Page (Main Page)

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Gale Virtual Reference Library basic search page

  1. From the top:
    • Click on the Logout link to logout
    • Click on the My Library Links to close the library links bar (and reopen it)
    • Click on the English link to change the language
    • Sign in to Google or Microsoft accounts to save articles to Google Drive or OneDrive
    • Click on My Library to go to the library's homepage
    • Click on the X logo to the right of the Gale Databases link to logout of the database
    • Click on the GVRL Gale Virtual Reference Library logo to clear the search and start over
    • Enter search words in the Search box
    • Click on the Advanced logo to go to the Advanced Search page
    • Click on the Bookmark logo to save a bookmark for the page
  2. From the right-side menu
    • Click on a link in the Collections box to narrow results to specific subjects/disciplines

Searching from the Advanced Search Page

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Gale Virtual Reference Library advanced search page

  1. From the search box area:
    • Change "AND" drop-down box to adjust AND, OR, NOT options to search for all words, any words, or exclude words
    • Enter search term(s) in box(es)
    • Change the drop-down box to search by title, author, etc.
    • Click on the "Add a Row" option to add more search rows
    • Click on the Search button to start the search
  2. From the More Options area:
    • Check the box to left of "Document Contains Images" to look for documents that have images
    • Limit results by date or date range in the "by publication year(s)" section
    • Limit publication results by publication title (useful when searching for articles within specific books)
    • Limit results to subject/discipline collections
    • Limit results to specific audience/reader type
    • Limit results by reading level
    • Limit results by language
    • Click on the Search button to start the search
    • Click on the Clear button to clear the form and start again

Reviewing the Search Results

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Gale Virtual Reference Library results page

  1. From the top area:
    • Click on the Bookmark logo to save a bookmark for the page
  2. From the main reading area:
    • The "Results for Search" area will state how many results were found
    • Click on the "Relevance" drop-down box to change sorting options
    • The Topic Overview area provides citation information and a brief overview of the item (usually an article or reference entry)
    • The linked title goes to an HTML version of the text
    • The "View eBook" button goes to a formatted version of the text (usually an embedded PDF-type file that requires Flash)
    • Click the "Save" button to save the entry in Google Drive or OneDrive
  3. From the right-side menu:
    • The "Search within results" box provides an option to continue searching, but only within the items found from the first search
    • Limit results by:
      • Content level = reading level
      • Document type = document type (essay, etc.)
      • Publication title = publication title (book, etc.)
      • Subjects = subject or discipline
      • Publication languages = languages (if more than one)

Viewing the Full Text of a Source

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Gale Virtual Reference Library record page

  1. From the main reading area:
    • Click on the "Search Results" link to return to the Results page
    • Click on the "Table of Contents" button to view the table of contents for the main source (usually a book)
    • Click on the "View eBook" button to go to a formatted version of the text (usually an embedded PDF-type file that requires Flash)
    • Click on the "Listen" button to hear text narration
    • Read the HTML version of the text
  2. From the right-side menu:
    • Use the options in the Tools menu to cite, email, download, print, highlight, save, share, and translate the text
    • Search within the main publication (usually a book or series of books)
    • Click the plus sign to view related subjects to the text

Using a Generated Citation

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Gale Virtual Reference Library record citation

  1. The bottom of every source will have a suggested citation.
  2. Remember to copy, paste, and edit. These generated citations often have incorrect formatting, such as an author's name in all capital letters or other errors.

LearningExpress Library logoLearningExpress Library is a database of free online practice tests, tutorials and test-prep e-books.

Here's a link:

Searching from the Basic Search Page (Main Page)

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

LearningExpress Library basic search page

  1. From the top menu:
    • Select a specific learning center from the "All Centers" drop-down menu, or by clicking on one of the logos
    • Click on the "Video Guides" drop-down menu to browse videos
    • Use the "Find Resources" search box to search for items by keyword
  2. From the middle:
    • Click on one of the logos to select a specific learning center
  3. From the bottom:
    • Create an account to save your place in an ebook, tutorial, or test prep material

Viewing a Learning Center Page

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

LearningExpress Library center page

  1. From the top menu:
    • The links and drop-down menus provide navigation between the different learning centers
  2. From the left-side menu:
    • The side menu provides the subjects within each center, which are then divided into types of sources (practice sets, ebooks, tutorials, and more)
  3. From the main reading area:
    • Each source provides a linked title, icon for the type of source (such as an ebook), and brief description
    • Click on the title to go to the full text
    • Login so that the system can save your place in an ebook, test prep, or tutorial

Encyclopaedia Britannica logoEncyclopædia Britannica Online is the online version of the authoritative encyclopedia.

Here's a link:

Searching from the Basic Search Page (Main Page)

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Encyclopaedia Britannica basic search page

  1. Search area:
    • Enter search words in search box
    • Click on Advanced Search link to open Advanced Search popup
    • Select options to search in specific sources (articles, dictionary, primary sources, journals/periodicals)
  2. Browse area:
    • Click options to browse articles, media, and biographies
  3. Research tools:
    • Search for data, statistics, and demographics

Searching from the Advanced Search Page

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Encyclopaedia Britannica advanced search page

  1. Enter search words into the boxes
    • all = similar to using AND between every word
    • exact phrase = phrase search (similar to using quotation marks around the words)
    • any = similar to using OR between every word
    • without = similar to using NOT before the word(s)
    • near = proximity search (modifies how close the words are to each other; in between an AND search and a phrase search)
  2. Click the Go button to search

Reviewing the Search Results

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Encyclopedia Britannica results page

  1. Click on the email icon to email results
  2. Click on the plus or minus icons to increase or decrease the font size
  3. The sources in the results list will appear in the middle of the page
    • The linked title will go to the full-text result
    • A brief overview/abstract is provided
  4. The left-side menu provides options for other types of sources to search (articles, images, videos, dictionary, journals/periodicals/web, primary sources, etc.)

Viewing the Full Text of a Source

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Encyclopaedia Britannica record page

  1. Click on the tabs to view other items (if available): images and videos, related items, and the history of the article
  2. Click on icons for additional options: favorite, email, cite, or translate the article
  3. Click on the plus or minus icons to increase or decrease the font size
  4. An alternate titles area displays alternate or related words
  5. The left-side menu shows related resources
  6. If you're not sure about the meaning of a word, double-click it to view a dictionary entry

Oxford English Dictionary logoOxford English Dictionary (OED) is the online version of the authoritative dictionary, which documents the development of the English language over 1500 years.

Here's a link:

Searching from the Basic Search Page (Main Page)

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Oxford English Dictionary basic search page

  1. Search box area:
    • Enter search word(s) in the search box
    • Click the Go button to search
    • Click the Advanced search link to go to the Advanced Search page
  2. Browse the dictionary by category:
    • Dictionary = alphabetical browsing
    • Categories = browse by subject, usage, region, or word origin
    • Timelines = browse by when word entered the English language
    • Source = browse by the top authors and works quoted in the OED
    • Historical Thesaurus = browse the thesaurus

Searching from the Advanced Search Page

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Oxford English Dictionary advanced search page

  1. Search box area:
    • Enter search word(s) in the search box
    • Change the drop-down menu to search within a specific area, such as definition
    • Change the "AND" drop-down box to adjust AND, OR, NOT options to search for all words, any words, or exclude words
    • Click the "Add row" link to add a search box row
    • Adjust the options for proximity searching - how close the words are to each other (if there's more than one word being searched)
  2. Limiters
    • Subject = limit to specific subject(s)
    • Language of Origin = limit to the language of origin (before the word was adopted into the English language)
    • Region = limit to the region of origin
    • Usage = limit to word usage
    • Date of entry = limit to date the word was entered in the OED
    • Part of speech = limit to part of speech
    • Restrict to entry letter or range = limit to entry letter or range (prefix or suffix); a more specific way to browse
  3. Click the Reset button to clear the form
  4. Click the Search button to search

Viewing the Full Text of a Source

click here to view screenshot (click again to close)

Oxford English Dictionary record page

  1. The term is listed at the top of the page, followed by the part of speech
  2. Increase or decrease the font size using the options at the top right
  3. Information about the term is immediately below the term:
    • pronunciation
    • different forms (spelling, tenses, etc.)
    • usage frequency
    • origin (when it began, from what language did it come, etc.)
    • etymology (history of how the word was formed)
  4. The definition of the term (along with some background) is below the information about the term
  5. Quotations and sources that used the term are below the definition
  6. The right-side "Jump to" section lists the order of the term in the alphabetical browsing list

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.