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Service Highlights: Library Guides

Library Guide 11: ERIC

What is ERIC on CD-ROM?
ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) is a CD-ROM database that provides access to the literature in the field of education .From the database one can retrieve bibliographic citations , with abstracts , to CIJE (Current Index to Journals in education ) journal articles and RIE ( Resources in Education ) documents.

About the ERIC Network
ERIC is the National Education Information Network for providing access to the literature in education and related fields.The nationwide ERIC network consists of 16 clearinghouses and 9 adjuct clearinghouses . The clearinghouses are located at universities and profesional organisations . Each clearinghouses specializes in a different multidisciplinary educational area , and gathers the pertinent journal articles and documents of their respective subject areas. ERIC screens the articles according to the ERIC selection criteria , then abstracts and indexes the selected materials. ERIC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.


  • 1966-present
  • Journal literature
  • Research documents
  • 980 Proffesional journals

The Journal Article : Where Learning Begins
ERIC on CD- ROM is the only a tool that tells one what journals contain articles on one's subject of interest. Once relevant citations are retrived check to see if the library subscribes to the journal .If the library subscribes to the journal fill out a periodical call slip and hand it in at the Periodicals Desk on the 4th floor of the LLC building.If the library does not subscribe to the journal fill out an interlibrary loan(ILL) form at the desk in the Refence Library.The library will obtain the article from another library and notify you when it arrives (1-2 weeks).

Understanding Database Structure



The Database
The databse is where the records are contained .ERIC is one of eleven databases available to library users.To start the ERIC database choose "A) Education (ERIC)" from the "CD-ROM Network Applications" menu. If the CD-ROM Network Applications menu is not on the screen select Quit from the commands menu or press Ctrl, Alt , and Delete simultaneously . This will restart the computer from the main menu.

The record is primarily a bibliographic citation, including abstract, for a particular article.The record is broken down into specific fields.

The Fields which make up the recordare the basic components of a bilbliographic citation and other descriptive information .The fields one will examine to evaluate the usefulness of a record are :

    AU : (author)
    TI : (title)
    PY : (publication year)
    JN : (journal name , date , and volume number ; article page numbers)
    DE: (major descriptor /subjects)
    DE: (minor descriptor /subjects)
    AB: (=abstract /articles summary )

Less important fields for the average database search are:

    AN : (accession number)
    CS :(corporate sponsor)
    AV :(availibility)
    NT :(descriptive note)
    PR :(EDRS price)
    ID :(identifiers)

Searching Techniques and Retrieving Records

When conducting a database search the objective is to retrieve a minimum number of records which contain the desired information in the appropiate context.The database is most useful when you know what type of information you are looking for and are familiar with the subject terminology.Below are searching techniques which allow one to construct and narrow a search to avoid scrolling through hundreds of irrelevant records.

Only basic searching techniques are covered here.With practice and experience more sophisticated techniques can be aquired and used when necessary.For most non-professionals the basics are more than enough. If hundreds of records are retrived and one cannot think of a way to narrow the search, consult a Reference librarian.Reference Librarians are here to teach students, faculty and staff how to retrieve information using all of the library 's resources.

Keyword/Free Text Searching
When terms (keywords) are entered into the computer the computer will search for the terms through out the record, and retrieve all of the record in which the term appears, no matter what the context.keyword searching is the opposit of field specific searching (see page 4)

To retrieve records from the database, at the Find: line type in a search term and press Enter. A search term can be a single or several word term which describes the subject.

For Example :

  Find : Intelligence tests
  Find : Wechsler intelligence scale

Boolean Searching
Boolean Searching allows one to combine search terms using the booloean operators "and", "or", and "not".This way one can be as specific as possible and eliminate inappropiate records.The computer will retrieve records in which all of the search terms appear. For example:

   Find:Wechsler intelligence scale and learning disabilities
   Find:Adolescents and attention deficit and diagnostic tests
   Find:Diagnostic tests and (behaviour problems or attention deficit)
   Find:Language tests and reliability not secound language

By putting an *(asterisk) on the trunk of a partial spelling the computer will search for the root word with its various endings.An example of the various endings to the following truncated terms may include disaabled, disability, disabilities, score, scores, scoring,

   Find : diagnostic tests and learning disab* and scor*

Field Specific Searching
Field specific searching allows one to serach by a specific field in the record. The computer will only retrieve records in which the term appears in the feild indicated.This is a way in which one can control the context in which the term(s) appears, and eliminate irrelevant records.

Construct a field specific searchby typing the command "in" following the term and indicating what field(i.e., AU, TI, DE) the computer should look for the term in.For example:

  Find : measurement technique in de
  Find : measurement techniques in de and behavioural sciences in de
  Find : measurememt in de and engelhard-g* in au

One can also search by publication year.This is useful if one is looking for an article published in a certain year, by a particular author. One can also search a range of years. For example :

  Find :engelhard-g* in au and py=1994
  Find : (measurement or assessment) in de and writing in de and engelhard-g* in au and py=1994-1996.

Menu Commands and On-screen Instructions

The menu commands are located at the bottom of the screen. These commands allow one to change screens and excute particular functions(i.e.,print). READ THE SCREEN

Most databases use the natural language commands , meaning the commands should be self explanatory and do what they say.the most common sets of menu commands are:



Below the row(s) of menu commands there are additional instructions related to the command which is highlighted in gray or what is currently on the screen.

To select a menu command:
1)press the yellow letter that the command begins with


2)press the space bar to move the gray bar to the desired command and press enter.

For an explanation of a menu command:
1)press the space bar to move the gray bar to the desired command and press F1(help).


2) just try it, be creative, and experiment.

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