Gale Database Searching Tips


The Gale Cengage databases include many full-text articles and cover a mix of scholarly and popular publications.  


If you are in the library or elsewhere on the Gaffney campus, begin at the Eastwood Library home page ( by clicking on Research Databases under Library Resources.  Click on the database you wish to use in the list appearing below the yellow category boxes or search by title by selecting the A-Z links.  This takes you to a description of the database.  Click on the database name to continue. 

If you are located off-campus, you will be prompted for your Limestone email username and password.  From that point, simply follow the instructions and select a database to search.

Basic Searching

When you do a Subject Guide search, search terms and subject headings containing your topic will be displayed.  There will also be a list of subdivisions or narrower aspects of your topic that you may wish to examine.  You may also expand/limit your search. 

When you do a Keyword search, the database looks for the term or terms you entered anywhere in the database -- not just in the built-in subject headings list: words in the article’s title, the author’s name, product names, artistic or published works, and the abstract or brief summary that accompanies some of the article citations.

The advantage of a Keyword search is that you are likely to retrieve a larger number of articles.  The disadvantage is that many of them may turn out to be irrelevant as your search term may appear in a variety of contexts.  For example, a Keyword search on the word “depression” would retrieve articles on mental depression as well as the economic depression of the 1930s.

Use a Keyword search when a broader Subject Guide search is not specific enough, when your topic is not covered in the subject guide, or when you are looking for the title of a product, film, book, etc. 


The Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT may be used.  Combining words with AND requires that both words be present in the results.  OR requires that either word be present, but not necessarily both.  NOT requires that entries containing the word not be retrieved.  Use the proximity operator w with a number to require that words appear within that number of words of each other, in that order (e.g., college w3 student).  The operator n works the same way, except words may appear in either order.  Use an asterisk (*) to stand for any number of characters, including none (e.g., histor*).  Use a question mark (?) to replace only one character in a word (e.g., wom?n).  Use an exclamation point (!) to represent one or no characters in a word.  This is especially helpful for retrieving American and European spellings (e.g., colo!r).  Place quotation marks (“) around your words if you want to require that the words be adjacent in the results.  Omitting quotation marks means that the words can be in any order and not necessarily adjacent.

Advanced Searching
In an Advanced Search, you may search a number of different “index” fields for specific types on information.  The most commonly searched fields are probably author, date, and journal name.  Some fields may be unique to a particular database.  Be sure to check the online help section for more information.

To search an index field, click on the down arrow to the left of the box in which you would type in your topic.  This will produce a list of index fields available in that database.  Click on the desired index field to transfer it to the top of the list.  Then, click in the search entry box and type in your information.

Searching from a Bibliographic Citation
Search limit options appear on the search prompt screen.  To use these optional limiters, just check them off or enter your limit criteria before clicking on the Search button.  When searching using a bibliographic citation, click in the entry box and enter the Keyword or phrase from the citation.  Next, focus the search by typing in the publication date of the article and the journal name in the appropriate boxes.  You may also enter information such as the author’s name in the bottom box.  This simply adds another element to the search to help narrow the search.  Once you have selected all the elements, return to the search prompt and initiate your search.

Limits set additional criteria on your subject or Keyword search including: articles available full text; appearing in refereed, academic, professional, or general publications; articles published on, before, or after certain dates, and articles appearing in specific journals.  Limits vary in each database.  Click on “help” for more information.

You may apply limits with the form on the main search page or after you’ve done a search.  Once you’ve viewed your results, click on “limit search” to view the limit form and apply any limits.

You may create a list of only the articles that interest you from your results list by selecting the check box to the left of the article.  If you are in the actual article select the check box in the top left corner. Once you’ve marked all the citations and articles of interest, click the Marked Items icon   to view your marked list.

Print, E-mail, and Other Retrieval Options
Print:  By selecting the print icon, you will automatically reformat the article or citation for printing.  [If you wish to print while in the library, the print job goes to the LibStudent printer located at the Circulation Desk.  Printing is free for Limestone students, faculty and staff.]
E-mail Delivery: By selecting the e-mail icon,  allows you to send the ASCII text of a citation, abstract, or article to any valid Internet E-mail address.  [If you are sending a document from the database to a campus e-mail address (to yourself, for instance), you must be sure to put in the entire address; e.g., “ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ”.
Download:  By selecting the download icon, you can download your article to any saving device (i.e., diskette, flash drive, CD).
Acrobat Reader: Some articles will appear in the Portable Document Format (PDF), which in some cases, makes them look exactly as they did in the original source (i.e., full-page image).  This version may be a large file and take a few moments to retrieve.

Need assistance?  Please  Ask A Librarian  for additional information at .