Survey snapshot: How MIT searches for electronic journal articles

How do you search for e-journal articles? More than half the faculty, postdocs, and other research and academic staff told us that they use library databases to search for e-journal articles, and almost the same number of faculty told us that they use Vera, the library’s gateway to electronic subscriptions.

In the 2011 Library Survey, we asked the MIT community to choose up to three options from a list of starting points for finding e-journal articles on a topic. The four options selected most often are shown below.

Four Most Selected Options for Starting a Search for Electronic Journal Articles on a Topic

Note: These are not rankings. These are the options that garnered the most responses from each respondent type. Each percentage is the total percentage of respondents who chose each of these options as one of their three places to begin a search for electronic journal articles on a topic. No prioritization was implied in the selection of the three options.

Why would experienced researchers like faculty include Vera in their searching repertoire?

  • Library databases—all of which can be accessed through Vera—generally offer information that is more consistently relevant and reliable (and may also be peer-reviewed).
  • Google is quite fast with a single search box, is well embedded in many browsers, and can do a general search across all disciplines at the same time. Often, however, the information found in library databases is not, or cannot be, indexed in Google.
  • Library databases on a subject are likely more in-depth, although they may not be quite as fast to search, and a single database generally does not cover all academic disciplines.

Search tips:

  • Next time you are looking for articles on a topic, consider using a library database or try Vera.