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Searching Tips

Off-Campus Access

If you are off-campus and link to licensed resources, you will see our proxy screen which includes the words "Appalachian College Association." Your username and password are as follows:

Username = your last name
Password = your ID card number*, 
replacing any leading zeros with the letters lr

For full instruction, visit our Off-Campus Password page.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Can't find it here? Don't worry! Interlibrary loan (ILL) can deliver it to you by mail or electronically.

Click here for more information!

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Craig Varley
Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville
Lenoir-Rhyne University
36 Montford Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
Room 322
Subjects: Public Health

Library Search Tools

Access Points/Field Searching

An access point is defined as "a unit of information in a bibliographic record under which a person may search for and identify items listed in the library catalog or bibliographic database" (Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science).

When using the library search tools (catalog, Powersearch, etc.), you are searching through databases of records that contain information about different library items. Access points are pieces information from these records that you can search by to find an item. Popular access points include title, author, and subject.

Keyword is also an access point that allows you to search an entire record for specific words or phrases. Most databases will default to a keyword search unless specified, returning the most results back for a search.

To select an access point, look for a dropdown menu near the search box (may only be available under Advanced Search options).

Selecting an access point in an EBSCO database (click image to enlarge).

Selecting an access point in the LR library catalog (click image to enlarge).


Keywords are the most important words or phrases that describe your topic. For example, if your research is based around the question, "How do I treat drug abuse in teenagers through counseling?" then your keywords could be "drug abuse," "teenagers," and "counseling."

Once you've picked out two or three keywords, you can conduct an initial search using Boolean operators. If your search returns no results, brainstorm a few terms similar to one or two of your keywords. For example:

drug abuse teenagers counseling
substance abuse adolescents therapy
substance use young adults treatment

Using different combinations of these words will yield different search results. A search string using all of these words and Boolean operators would look like this:

(drug abuse OR substance abuse OR substance use) AND (teenagers OR adolescents OR young adults) AND (counseling OR therapy OR treatment)

Citation Searching

Citation searching is a technique used to gain scholarly insight and find resources relating to a particular topic. Using a particularly good resource you have already found for a project, you can:

Look backwards - at the reference list. An examination of the resources cited in an article or book can:

  • lead you to other resources that discuss this topic.
  • give you a snapshot of the thinking and research available at the time of publication.
  • reveal what ideas or theories have influenced a researcher.

Look forward - find out if other researchers have cited this resource. This can give you insight into:

  • the impact of the resource on the scholarly landscape - how it has (or has not) shaped subsequent research and scholarship.
  • look for "Cited by" or "Times Cited" features in some databases and Google Scholar - or get access to a citation tracker.