Power up your searches, Part 2

In Part 1 of our search tips, we talked about databases like ProQuest and JSTOR. Those are full text databases, which means they contain the full text of the articles, chapters, reports and so on. While useful, there are also types of databases and tools that could help expand your searches by scouring existing publications and some of the databases we subscribe to.

In this post, we introduce some finding tools that could really help to power up your searches!

Not sure how to access these resources? Contact us to find out more.

The Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)

BAS is a bibliographic database. Unlike a full text database, bibliographic databases only contain information about documents like book chapters, journal articles, and so on – but not the actual contents of these documents. It’s essentially a directory that provides the necessary information (in this case, the metadata) for users to locate the texts they’re looking for. For that reason, bibliographic databases that focus on specific disciplines can be very useful to start looking for sources.

Like its name suggests, BAS is a subject-specific bibliographic database. It is published by the Association for Asian Studies and is hosted on the EBSCO platform. Containing over 900,000 citations dating back from the 1970s, it’s a comprehensive listing of “Western-language journal articles, review articles, conference proceedings and chapters in edited volumes and Festschriften published anywhere in the world that deal with East, Southeast and South Asia and with the overseas Asian communities”. [i]

Searching in BAS is easy! Access BAS through the front page of our SEALion catalogue.

Image 1: Landing page of the BAS database.

Image 2: When typing in a search term, the autofill function can help you find what you’re looking for.

Clicking on a result will give you the bibliographic details of the text, including its source if it’s a book, chapter, or article:

Image 3: The detailed record contains information (metadata) about the text that was searched for.

Scroll down further for the subjects and keywords of the text. They can be very useful to explore other materials on similar topics.

Image 4: Subject bibliographic databases may have more detailed subject indexes than general databases.

Do note that not all materials listed in BAS may be available at ISEAS Library. A good way to check is to visit the SEALion catalogue to search for physical books or one of the databases on our Subscribed Resources page.

But how can you tell what’s inside these databases? Try Publication Finder!

Publication Finder (PF)

Also available at the Library is the EBSCO Publication Finder (PF) tool, which allows you to search for and browse journals, magazines and other titles within our subscribed databases.

Image 5: Landing page for Publication Finder.

While our SEALion catalogue lets you locate print or physical materials, PF lets you see what we have digital access to. This includes Open Access journals, but more on that later.

PF offers three major ways to search: by publication (like a journal), by database, or by subject. We’ll focus on publications and subjects.

By publications

PF lets you search and browse by title, keyword, or subject. The default mode is by title, but there are other options too. Use the dropdown menu to take advantage of the available proximity operators. (For more about proximity operators and how to use them, check out Part 1 of our search tips!)

Image 6: Try the drop-down menus to narrow your search.

Searching for a title will show you where it’s available, as coverage may vary between databases. For example, older issues may be available from a database source, but there may be an embargo or delay for newer issues.

Image 7: Different databases may offer different periods of coverage for the same title.

By subject

Alternatively, you can browse publications by subject. Click on the arrows to view narrower subjects, almost like a subject thesaurus. (For more on subject thesauri work, check out Part 1 of our search tips.)

Image 8: Publications can be browsed by subject.

When looking for publications, you can also use the Filter button to open up filtering options to really narrow down your search.

Image 9: Click the filter button to see more options.
Image 10: A sidebar will open with options to filter the results.

We’ve also connected PF to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which lists more than 19,000 journals in over 80 languages. [ii] DOAJ includes titles like:

Image 11: Some DOAJ titles may also be available in other databases.

For more information, check out this page on using the Publication Finder, which includes information on their search syntax.

While tools like BAS and PF answer the where of your search, it’s also useful to know the how to search. Check out our previous post on search tips to find out what search syntax is, and how you can take advantage of it to power up your searches.

If you still can’t find what you need, get in touch with us at the Library!


[i] The Association for Asian Studies, “The Bibliography of Asian Studies”, accessed 14 March 2023, https://www.asianstudies.org/publications/bibliography-of-asian-studies/.

[ii] Directory of Open Access Journals, available at https://doaj.org/.

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