Introduction to Discovery

last modified 2018-03-08T15:04:47-04:00
Video and transcript showing basic searching in Discovery.

If you prefer to see a written guide and plain images of Discovery searching, check out the guide here instead.


Discovery is a new service that allows you to search many databases and the library catalog at the same time. You can do a basic search in Discovery from the library homepage, and you can set some limits for full text results, peer reviewed, or searching only within the library catalog, but I’m going to start without any of those. Beginning with a basic search will bring a large number of results as well as a “Research Starter” – a short, encyclopedia-style article with an overview of the topic. This can be useful if you know very little about your topic initially. 

Most of the time, you will want to start narrowing your search to bring back more relevant results. There are many options on the left of the screen – I am limiting to more recent articles from scholarly journals with full-text access. As you can see, this takes multiple clicks. Since my first few results are not about the United States, I am also going to scroll down and limit by Geography. You can see some of the other options available here.

Once you have found an article of interest, click the PDF link to access it. You can read it here, or email it to yourself for later research.

In some cases, you will see an orange “Find Full Text” link in place of the PDF link, as you can see here. This means that full text is available in another location. Click the link and then select your preferred source for accessing the article. You will be taken to another page where you can read the article. 

Remember that Discovery also searches the library catalog. I have modified my search to look for items in the catalog instead of scholarly articles. You can see most of the information you need on the results page, such as location and status. If you click the title of the book, you can see additional information such as book reviews, similar books, or other books by the same author. These are located at the bottom of the page. Also, you may want to click the “See Mercer University Library Catalog for More Information” link for links to online material or to see a map showing where an item is located.