Episode 15: MetaSearch


In the following episode we will get to know what MetaSearch can do for us.

The term MetaSearch, also known as “integrated searching”, “federated searching” or “cross-database searching”, means to submit a query to numerous databases at once. The query is broadcast to each database, and an integrated list of the results is displayed from all the databases according to the results’ relevancy rank.
MetaSearch provides complete control over which databases are searched and provides a variety of options for viewing the results in these databases.

Use findit.lu’s MetaSearch if you want to get very specific results; e.g. if you want to combine several databases without creating QuickSets or if you want to search within a set of subject-based databases. In most cases searching one database or using QuickSets will already give you enough results to work with. But sometimes MetaSearch might be quite useful.

Let’s have a closer look at this topic by clicking “MetaSearch” in the top menu of findit.lu. Since the databases that can be searched in this way are locked until login, it is best if we login right away by clicking on the padlock in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

The MetaSearch interface will be displayed as follows:

As you can see on the left side of the screen you have four different options to start your MetaSearch:

  1. “My Databases”: search through all or a part of the databases which you have added to your Clipboard (“My Space”). Databases of your personal QuickSets are included (See Episode 14 “Building personal QuickSets” for detailed information).
  2. “QuickSets”: Refine your search through default QuickSets which you will find on the main page of findit.lu; e.g. e-books or e-journals (detailed information in Episode 5: “Searching several databases”).
  3. “Categories”: Search several databases of a specific category (like natural sciences + mathematics) with one request
  4. “Locate”: locate specific databases selected by type, category and/or name and search them

Let’s say, I would like to search all available databases with psychological or philosophical content about Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.

Select “Categories” in the Select Search Type field on the left and choose the category “100-Philosophy + Psychology”. All available databases will be displayed in the middle of the screen.
Now you can choose if you want to search all of these or only a part. Check all databases which you want to search.

Enter your search terms and click on the “Go” button. Note that you are searching on “All Fields” by default. You can also search on Subject, Title, Author, ISSN, ISBN or Year by clicking on the drop down list where “All Fields” is displayed.

Once you click on the “Go” button, you will see a screen showing you the progress of your search:

After a short time, automatically, your search results will be displayed.
Please note that your search results will be displayed by default by database. That means that you will first see all results from Academic Search Premier, then Education Research Complete, than Eric – all searched databases in alphabetical order.


I would suggest viewing the combined results by clicking the “View combined results”-link at the top of the list to get the most relevant results.

From this screen, you can click on the title to see its details or click on the findit.lu-button to have the system search for the full text of the entry.
You can narrow or broaden the results of the query using filters in the right menu (e.g. results from a specific topic, year, journal or author).
To browse through the results click Next or Previous to display another page, or you can Jump to a particular record. You can set the number of results displayed per page as part of your preferences.

This is just one option for doing a MetaSearch. The other provided Search Types work in the same manner. Try it out!

In Episode 16: How do I save a search and create an alert? we will look at viewing a list of the previous searches that you performed during a session in order to review them or to save them for creating an alert.

List of all Episodes: http://blog.findit.lu/help


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