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Using Atla Religion Database with AtlaSerials

Searching in Atla

The default search interface for Atla Religion Database (hosted by EBSCO) is pictured below, with three search boxes that can be coordinated with boolean operators. Each search box can search a specific metadata field (e.g. Title, Author, etc.) or, if left as the default, run an All Text keyword search. To perform a quick search, enter search terms in at least one search box and select the orange "Search" button to return results. Review details below for advanced search features.

Atla search interface

1.  Enter search words or partial phrases to search. To search for an exact phrase, put quotation marks around it. For example, "liberation theology" will return results with those words together in that order.

2. Use the drop-down menu to select which metadata term to search across.

3. Combine search terms using boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. These determine how the search terms in each text box relate to one another. For example, looking for articles about "liberation theology" AND "Latin America" would return articles that contain both terms in their detailed record. A search for "liberation theology" NOT "Latin America" would return articles that contain the term "liberation theology" in their detailed record without the term "Latin America" present.

4. Use the "+" and "-" symbols to add or remove text search boxes to your search.

5. Select "Clear" to remove your search parameters and begin again with a blank Advanced Search. There is also a "New Search" button in the top left menu. "New Search" button

Additional Search Options

Beneath the open search fields are additional options that will refine your results before running a search. This means the search will return less results, but the results will be more accurate. These options can be adjusted after a search as well from a menu alongside the results list. If desired, start with a broader search and add these qualifiers after.

Search Modes and Expanders

  • ​Search Modes: The search modes offer four different ways to conduct a search. You can combine a search mode with expanders such as "Apply related words," and/or with limiters such as "Full Text" or "Publication Type."
    • Boolean/Phrase – Supports any Boolean searching or exact phrase searching. This is the default search mode. Boolean searching allows for the selection of a relator word between search terms: AND, OR, and NOT. Phrase searching allows searching for an exact phrase by enclosing the phrase in quotation marks. Stop words (commonly used words like "the") are ignored when part of phrases being searched. 

    • Find all of my search terms – Automatically apply the "AND" operator to all search terms entered (e.g. "web" AND "accessibility").

    • Find any of my search terms – Automatically apply the "OR" all search terms entered (e.g. "web" OR "accessibility").

    • SmartText Searching - Copy and paste large chunks of text to search for results. When you click the "SmartText Searching" radio button, the "Find" field grows to indicate that you can enter as much text as you want. Type in text, or copy and paste text from an article (or other source) into the "Find" field," select any other limiters or expanders, and then click the orange "Search" button.
  • Expanders
    • Apply related words: Select this option to expand results to include true synonyms and plurals of your terms. For example, if you use the search term "sacred" the results list would also include articles that use instead the synonym "holy."
    • Also search within the full text of the articles: Select this option to search for your keywords within the full text of the articles, as well as the abstract and citation information.
    • Apply equivalent subjects: Select this option to utilize additional vocabulary terms to add to keyword searches that return no qualified matches. If your search term returns no results, the system will return suggested results for an equivalent or nearly related term.

Limit Your Results

  • Full Text: Mark this checkbox to limit results to articles with full text, as opposed to solely citation information and/or abstract. This can be an important limiter as it returns only the articles that can be read/downloaded immediately in PDF or HTML format. If this limit is unchecked, results will include articles that only have the citation information available in Atla and the full text will need to be requested via interlibrary loan. 
  • Open Access: Mark this checkbox to limit results to articles from open access publications. Open access refers to a set of principles and practices through which articles and other research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. Conventional (non-open access) journals  pay for publishing costs by charging fees for access, like subscriptions, site licenses, or pay-per-view charges. Open-access journals use funding models which do not require the reader (or the library providing the service) to pay to read the journal's contents. 
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals: Mark this checkbox to limit search results to articles from peer-reviewed journals. Peer-reviewed journals are publications that include only those articles that have been reviewed and/or qualified by a selected panel of acknowledged experts in the field of study covered by the journal.
  • Year Published: Enter a date range to limit results to a specific time of publication. It is generally recommended for students to look for recent scholarship, usually within 10 years of the search year.
  • Journal Title: Enter a journal title if you know ahead of your search what publication you want to look within. See Searching Within a Specific Journal for more details.
  • Publication Type: Specify a publication type from the menu to limit to a specific type of publication - for example looking for Reviews instead of Articles.
  • Language: Select a language from the menu to limit results to articles written in that language. The citation information will be represented in English unless you change the language setting for the Atla site itself - this can be changed using the "Language" drop-down in the top right menu of the site.
  • Genre: Select a genre from the menu to limit results to a particular genre - when searching Atla these include religious studies specific genres like "catechisms" or "prayers." 
  • Image Quick View: Some entries in Atla include associated images that are visible in the results list. Mark this checkbox to limit results to only articles that include Image Quick View.
  • Image Quick View Types: Specify the type of image that must be in the Quick View for the articles in search results - e.g. "chart" or "illustration."
  • Exclude In-Process Records: Mark this checkbox to limit results to those with complete metadata records.

Searching Within a Particular Journal

To begin a search within a particular journal, select "Publications" from the top menu in Atla. 

"Publications" button

A browsing menu will appear with all publications indexed in Atla, alphabetically. 

Publications search screen with "journal of pastoral care" in the search box

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Browse titles alphabetically, or enter a journal title in the search box to locate a specific publication. The results list will include when bibliographic coverage for that title begins, as well as if articles are available in PDF Full Text (indicated by the PDF icon). To add one or more journals to your search parameters, mark the checkbox(es) next to those titles and click "Add." The phrase (JN "Journal Title") will auto populate in the main search box. Selecting the orange "Search" button will return results of all articles from that journal indexed by Atla. You can then use the additional search boxes and refinements to narrow your search.

If you want to browse in a particular journal chronologically, search for it on the Publications search box and then click the hyperlinked title. A page will appear with the publication details and a hierarchical chronological menu on the right to select specific volumes/issues in a given year. 

Publication details record for the "Journal of Pastoral Care"

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Use the hierarchical menu to select an issue to immediately view its article contents. Or, select the "Search within this publication" to start a new advanced search limited to that publication.

Atla search box to search within the Journal of Pastoral Care. Text in the search box is "JN "The Journal of Pastoral Care".

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