Skip to Main Content
Bortz Library Home
Hampden-Sydney College Home

Off-Campus FAQ: Databases and Journals

Indexes vs. Full-text Sources

There are two common types of electronic resources:

Indexes -- Allows researchers to find basic publication information about articles, including the title, author, periodical/journal, volume, issue, pages, and date of publication. They may also include a short abstract. Indexed articles do not include the full article. Often full-text articles can be obtained through interlibrary loan (ILL).

Full-text -- Allows researchers to find full-text articles from journals and other academic sources. Typically includes the same publication information found in an index. 

Note: many library databases include both indexed and full-text content.


Search results can be limited by a variety of metrics Some particularly useful limiters include:

Available in Library Collection -- will limit results to just full-text

Scholarly/ Peer Reviewed -- will limit results to just academic sources

Publication Date -- limits to only specific date ranges

Source Type -- limits to specific sources (ebooks, academic journals, videos, etc.)

Subject -- limits to subjects that are either closely related or subsets of the current keywords

Find Academic Sources

Although the book stacks may be out of reach, many Bortz Library resources can be accessed from the comfort of your own home. When conducting research or preparing curriculum off-campus, be sure to start at the Library homepage so that the databases, ebooks, and ejournals will recognize you as being a member of the HSC community. Most will prompt you to log in with your HSC username (without the and password. Start with the Quick Links menu on the left-hand side of the homepage:

A-Z List of Databases – use this if you need a database or resources related to a particular subject or discipline

Electronic Journal Finder – use this if you are in need of articles from a specific publication or journal

What if you don’t know where to start? From the central search menu you can conduct broader searches. Be sure to utilize keywords (when you search) and limiters (to limit results) to more effectively sort through these larger bodies of information. Limiting by subject can be particularly helpful.

Search the Library Catalog – many ebooks can be found here and, if you are logged into your library account, you can request holds on many physical materials for easy pickup at the circulation desk

Search Databases and Journals – this will search all of the Library’s online holdings including journals, ebooks, and videos

Searching a Database

Most databases have both basic and advanced search options:

Use a basic search with or without Boolean operators (AND, NOT, and OR) when looking for specific articles by name or for quick searches. Note: Results will be less targeted and may require limiters.

Use the advanced search for targeted research. Searchable fields vary by database but typically include keywords, subjects, title, and author. Note: Results will be more targeted, but too many search terms can yield too few results to be viable. 

If you require research help, contact the library at or 434-223-7227.