How to Use Discovery

last modified 2020-01-02T15:02:13-04:00

Discovery is a resource that allows you to search multiple databases and the library catalog at the same time. While it does not include all of the resources Mercer University Library makes available, Discovery is a great place to get started with most research topics. A full list of databases included in Discovery is available here.

Basic searches in Discovery can be done from the library homepage. If you are off-campus or connected via wireless, you should log into the library website first to ensure access to all available materials. Options for limiting your search to full-text only, peer-reviewed sources, or the library catalog are available here. 

Screenshot of library homepage with Discovery

Additional options are available by clicking the link "Advanced Search." The advanced search page offers a number of options to limit your search initially, including limiting by discipline, changing the search mode, and other limiters that are also seen on the results page, such as date range and language. You can also create a more complex search in the boxes at the top of the page.

Screenshot of Discovery advanced search page

The Discovery results page provides a main list of results in the center of the page, which is sometimes headed by a tool called "Research Starter," providing a brief overview article on the topic searched. On the right side of the page are additional results from recent news articles, images, and videos. On the left of the page, more options are available to limit your search; which options are shown varies slightly based on your search results.

Screenshot of Discovery results page

From the results page, you can click the title of an article or book to view more detailed information; there are also links under each item that will allow you to access the library catalog, read the full-text of an article, or request an item via Inter-Library Loan. Which link is shown depends on the type and availability of the resource.

Multiple screenshots of results in Discovery, indicating access

Discovery also allows you to print, download, cite, and email resources, depending on your needs. These tools will work best for digital resources, and can be found on the right side of an item page. To print or email multiple items at once, use the "add to folder" feature, although the folder is only temporary. 

When to Go Beyond Discovery

Discovery is a great starting point, but is not always going to be the best option. You may want to go beyond Discovery for the following reasons:

  1. Not all of our resources are available in Discovery. If you need to search within our ProQuest databases, or any of the other databases listed on this page, you will need to go directly to that resource. We are unable to include these resources in the Discovery service.
  2. Discipline-specific search options are not available in Discovery. In some disciplines, researchers need to be able to limit by specific types of sources, such as literature review articles, or search in different ways, such as locating articles discussing specific passages of scripture. Discovery does not include these features, so you will need to go directly to discipline-specific databases instead. If you're not sure whether or not this applies to you, check out the Research Guide for your discipline.
  3. Learning or using standard tools for your discipline. If you are already familiar with your discipline, or if you are planning to become a scholar in a discipline, you may want to use the standard databases that are available in that area. This will focus your search and eliminate some of the extraneous results.