In this tutorial, you will learn how to search Philosopher's Index, a subject-specific database available through the GSU Library's website.
Navigating this Tutorial
In this left frame are the tutorial instructions and on the right is the live website of the Philosopher's Index database.
Use the red arrows below to navigate through the tutorial.
You can click the Contents button at the top right of this frame to skip to another section of the tutorial.
This tutorial is interactive and you will be able to search Philosopher's Index in the screen to the right.
When you need to search the database you'll see this picture of Pounce:
What You Will Learn
After completing this tutorial you will be able to:
Philosopher’s Index is a subject-specific bibliographic database that provides access to citations for journal articles, books, book chapters, and book reviews in all subject areas of philosophy and related disciplines. You can think of Philosopher's Index as one big bibliography of what has been written in the field of philosophy during the past 70+ years.
The resource contains over 500,000 citations published since 1940 with more than 1,500 journal titles from over 450 publishers.
Philosopher's Index is international in scope and includes publications from 139 countries in 37 languages. Because it is international in scope not every article in Philosopher's Index will be available in English. Some articles will be in other languages, such as German, Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, etc. There's a way to filter these other languages out of your results. How to do so will be discussed later on in the tutorial.
Many, although not all, of the articles cited in Philosopher’s Index are available full text. For those that are not available full text, you may be able to locate the full text from another database through the Philosopher's Index database. This will be discussed later on in the tutorial as well.
Before continuing, please review what you've learned so far by answering the following questions:
Philosopher's Index is what kind of database?
Philosopher's Index only allows you to search for articles that were published in scholarly journals.
All of the articles cited in Philosopher's Index are available full text.
All of the articles cited in Philosopher's Index are available in English.
You would use Philosopher's Index when you need to:
For this tutorial, Philosopher's Index is already placed in the right-hand frame for you.
To access Philosopher's Index in the future:
Note that if off-campus you will need to enter your Campus ID and Password before you can access the database.
Remember that you must access Philosopher's Index through the GSU library's website. Do NOT do a Google search and try to access the database via another university library.
As shown in the right-hand frame, when you first access Philosopher's Index you will be taken to the Basic Search page where you will find a single search box.
From this page you can conduct simple searches, but you will get better results if you use the Advanced Search option.
The frame to the right should now be on the Advanced Search page.
Before continuing, let's look at the options you have on this page that allow you to conduct more complex searches.
First, you will see that when using Advanced Search you are provided with three search boxes, as opposed to the single search box provided in Basic Search.
Note that you can add additional search boxes by clicking the plus sign (+) to the right of the bottom search box. You can delete search boxes you've added by clicking the minus sign (-).
In addition, the words (search terms) you enter into the search boxes in Advanced Search can be combined in a variety of ways to create more complex searches. This will be discussed in more detail later on in the tutorial.
Search Modes & Expanders
Directly below the search boxes in Advanced Search you will see options for Search Modes & Expanders. The options here allow you to change how the words you enter into the search boxes are searched by the database.
Boolean/Phrase is the default search mode. This will be sufficient for most searches, so you are advised to leave it as is. As you gain more experience, you may want to explore the other options.
To the right of the search mode options is a box you can click to apply related words. By clicking this box you are telling the database to search for synonyms and other terms related to the words you entered in the search boxes at the top of the page. Unless you are looking for something very specific that doesn't require the use of alternate words, it's usually a good idea to click this box.
Limiting Your Results
Below the Search Modes & Expanders you will see several options that allow you to limit your results.
You can limit your results to:
The limiters you use depends on the type of information you need to find.
Which Expanders & Limiters Should You Use?
If you are looking for articles published in scholarly journals (the primary reason most students use Philosopher's Index), you should choose:
In addition, some of your teachers may ask you to locate articles published within a specific date range. If this is the case:
Which Options Shouldn't You Use?
It is highly suggested that you NOT use the following limiters:
If you need help using these options or need additional information, click the Help link in the upper-right-hand corner of any page in Philosopher's Index.
Please answer the following questions:
You should always limit your search to Full Text Articles only.
An abstract provides you with:
Before continuing, it's important to know how to use the three search boxes in Advanced Search. The following tips will help you obtain the best results:
caus* will search for cause, causes, causation, causality, etc.
Try the search both ways (with quotation marks and without) to see which method gives you the best results.
Using AND and OR
truth AND falsity - Will search for articles that include both terms. This will narrow your search to only those articles that include the terms you connect with the word AND. Keep in mind though that the more words you connect with AND the fewer results you may retrieve.
coherence OR correspondence - Will search for articles that contain either term. This will broaden your search to include articles that include either term or both terms. The more words you connect with OR the more results you may retrieve.
In the frame to the right, type the words coherence AND correspondence into the first search box in Advanced Search, like this:
Then, click the Search button. You should retrieve approximately 157 citations.
Next, type the words coherence OR correspondence into the first search box in Advanced Search, like this:
Then, click the Search button. This time you should retrieve approximately 4,984 citations.
As you can see from this example, connecting words with AND produces fewer results (narrows your search), while connecting words with OR produces more results (broadens your search).
In addition, by default, the three search boxes in Advanced Search are connected with the word AND. You can change this by clicking on the downward facing arrow to the left of the 2nd and 3rd boxes. Your choices are:
Here is an example using AND between two search boxes:
This will narrow your results to only those articles that include the terms "free will" and "moral responsibility."
And here is an example using OR between two search boxes:
This will broaden your results to those articles that include either coherence or correspondence or both terms.
Notice that NOT is also an option, however, there are so few times that you would need to use this option that it won't be discussed in this tutorial.
You can also use the words AND and OR within a single search box to construct more complex searches. An example would be:
Using the word AND between two search terms will:
Using an asterisk at the end of the stem of a word will:
Placing two words within quotation marks, such as "coherence theory" will:
Let's try a search to demonstrate how to locate articles on a specific topic.
Suppose you want to look for articles that discuss:
Joel Feinberg's views on the "harm principle"
Here's one way to search for information on this topic using Advanced Search.
Notice that, for the most part, you do not need to enter the first name of the philosopher you are looking for; only the last name is needed in most cases.
Notice also, the use of the word OR and quotation marks in the second search box. As a reminder, placing the word OR between two search terms/phrases will include either or both terms in your search results. The use of quotation marks around the words harm principle forces the database to search for those words as an exact phrase, rather than as two separate words.
You should now see a list of results in the right-hand frame based on the words that you entered into the search fields.
Full Text Options
1. Full text online2. We may have a copy in print2. Request this item through Interlibrary Loan
Hovering your mouse over the magnifying glass icon will:
If the full text of an article is not available in Philosopher's Index you should:
If you get too many or not enough results you may need to refine your results. You can refine your results in a number of ways from the results page.
Near the top of the left-hand side of the page, you will see the search terms and limiters you have already applied to the page:
You can remove any or all of the limiters by clicking the blue "x" next it. Removing these limiters should provide you with more results.
Or, you can limit your results even further in the following ways (also on the left-hand side of the page):
Sorting Your Results
In addition, you can resort the list of results by clicking on the downward facing arrow next to the word Relevance on the top, right-hand side of the results page. Your options are:
Choosing Date Newest is always a good option when you are looking for the most recent articles published on a topic.
Refining Your Results Using Field Options
Another way to refine your results, is by using the options available from the Select a Field options available to the right of each search box.
The database provides you with many options, including:
The best options to use from this long list include:
Remember, if you're still not retrieving relevant results, you may need to try different search terms and/or limiters.
Using the PE People as Subject option will search for articles written BY a particular philosopher.
Choosing the TX All Text option will narrow your results (provide you with fewer results).
Emailing Citations: To email a list of citations from the results list, simply click on the folder icon to the right of each citation.
Upon clicking the icon, a window on the right-hand side of the screen will appear and display the items you have placed in your folder. Notice also that the folder you clicked that previously had a + sign on it will turn solid, indicating that the information for that citation is now saved to the Folder.
After you have saved all of the citations you want to email, click on the Julie Reiten link, as shown below.
From the resulting page you can click on the citations that you would like to Print, Save, Email, or Export (to a bibliographic management software program, such as Zotero or EndNote).
Note that once you exit your browser, the citations will no longer be saved within Philosopher's Index, so make sure you email or save to your computer the citations in which you are interested.
Creating an Account to Save Citations
To permanently save a list of citations within Philosopher's Index you will need to create an account. To do so, click on the Sign In link at the top right-hand corner of any page in Philosopher's Index.
On the following page click the Create a New Account link and enter the required information. By creating an account, each time you log into Philosopher's Index, you will be able to access your saved citations. In addition, you can organize your citations into various folders to keep each of your research projects separate from one another.
To permanently save your citations:
To view a list of the citations you have saved:
You can also create folders on this page. Doing so allows you to save citations for each project or topic on which you may be working.
To create folders:
In addition, you can share folders with your colleagues. To do so:
Note: You must be signed into Philosopher's Index in order to access custom or shared folders. In order to share a folder, it must be at the “top level” of the folders. If you have multiple levels of folders, the sub-folders cannot be shared.
That's it! Now, the next time you log into Philosopher's Index all of your saved citations will be available for you in the various folders you've created. Make sure to remember to log into your account each time you want to save additional citations. If you don't log in the citations will not be saved.
Feinberg AND (harm OR "harm principle")
An interesting feature of Philosopher's Index is that it will cite articles for you in a variety of citation formats. To do so:
Notice that from here you can print, email, save, learn how to cite, export, create a note, save a permanent link, or share the information for an individual article citation from this screen.
To learn how to cite an article, click on the Cite link. Doing so will open a new window from which will provide you with a list of citations styles. Choose the citation style you need by scrolling through the list of options, and then copy it, by highlighting it and right clicking your mouse and using the Copy function. After doing so you can paste the citation into a Word document.
Be careful when using the citations from Philosopher's Index, though. Sometimes the citations will not be completely accurate. It's always best to check a citation style guide (e.g., the Chicago Manual of Style) either online or in print, to ensure that you are citing the information correctly.
Printing Full Text Articles
To print an article that is available full text, simply open the article by clicking on the PDF Full Text link from your results list.
Then, use the print function within the PDF reader you are using.
You can also save the article to your computer or email it to yourself.
Philosopher's Index allows you to create an account to permanently save citations.
You can create as many folders and subfolders in your account and share all of your citations with your fellow students.
Congratulations! You completed the tutorial.
Feel free to explore the database and learn more about how it can help you in your research.
To print this tutorial, click Single Page View at the top of the guide.
If you need additional help, please contact the philosophy librarian at email@example.com
To leave us feedback and receive a copy of the quizzes you took throughout the tutorial, go on to the next page by clicking the red right-hand arrow below.
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