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Library services for XULA Online: Searching for Materials

Introductory guide to library services for hybrid and online students

Welcome to XULA Online!

Xavier's Library Resource Center can help you with your research--virtually or in-person. Librarians are available for questions or for consultations during these hours. Feel free to call us or use our chat, email, or text services as well.  Research resources are available around the clock--convenient to your schedule. Maybe the library buidling closes at midnight, but over 100,000 e-books are available in our catalog anytime. Millions of articles in our databases are ready to be searched anytime-day or night. Not sure how to search and the library is closed? Try this video from popular database company EBSCO for tips on starting out. 

There are lots of ways we can work together to succeed. Try calling on the library;  we're here to help!

Start at the beginning: search the catalog!

Books and articles are the lifeblood of the research process. Using our catalog to search for print or electronic material should be a first step. Start with what you know: maybe it's something specific like an author's name or the title of a book. But often, we search for a topic. Some topics are fairly straightforward, for example, 'Global warming'. You'll find over 300 items, many of them available online--short films and e-books are prominent.

But other topics may be more elusive. What if your topic is, say, "the effect of social media on college students' participation in voting"? This is a recent topic of scholarly interest. So recent, in fact, there may not yet be a lot of books written about it. For topics that are very current, try searching a database for articles about it. 

Subject Guides

Subject Guides are a great place to find research resources in your topic area. Each guide has material you can use right from the start--e-books or the catalog. It has also suggested databases for you to search. You can also find your librarian here! Feel free to contact us with any questions you have. 

Database Selection & Search Strategies

To see a list of databases in subject areas, click here. For help in choosing the best databases for your research, contact a librarian!


Database searching is a repetitive learning exercise; the more you practice, the better you get. Many databases function similarly: a basic search engine plus a set of relatively sophisticated limiting functions. 

Search interfaces have common features: the ability to search for topics by a keyword (like using Google), an author, the title of an article, a review, or a specific subject. The search parameters can sometimes be specialized according to subject matter indexed by a particular database.  One of the most important things you can do to learn about a database is to check the section (often in upper right-hand corner) labelled 'Help'. It will often define the terms you see listed in a database, and once you learn them you will find they are common to many databases.

Common limits you will see include ways to restrict your search to a specific time period, i.e. 2002- to the present, to filter out peer-reviewed from popular materials, to a certain journal, to a specific author, or publisher. All of these can be profitably used to narrow your search to retrieve high-quality citations and articles for your research. For help in database searching, please contact me (contact information on the right)  or call us at 504-520-7305 or visit our Reference Desk on the 1st floor of the library.

Evaluating and re-evaluating search results gives you ideas for refining your search and retrieving more targeted results. Scan the titles of the articles in your search result list. Note any subjects included in the description. For an article that has a promising title, click on it and check the abstract--that will give you a good idea of the scope of the article. Is it entirely appropriate or partially appropriate to your research topic? You can profit from both varieties, but at the beginning of your search process, it is best to focus on articles that you can use in their entirety.

Connecting to full text is your next task. Many databases will offer you a link to the full text, but it isn't always available in every database. There are several options, in that case. The first is to check the library's catalog  and find the journal in print. Using the citation from the database (you can often email yourself the full citation, sometimes in your preferred citation style), you can search the catalog and locate the item in the 2nd floor Periodical stacks. Copiers are located on the 1st floor. 

For help in searching, finding and using complete citations and questions about how to obtain materials, see a librarian at the reference desk 1st floor  of the Library Resource Center,  call the Reference Desk at 504-520-7305 or  try using our chat and text message services!

Off-Campus Login

All databases are available off-campus unless otherwise noted. When you navigate to a database from an off-campus computer,  you will be prompted to login using your Xavier  credentials--you user id and email password. When the server accepts your login, then you will land on the database's home page.  Below is the login screen you will see when you access library resources from off-campus.


What happens if XU doesn't have the article I want?

If Xavier does not own a digital or print copy of the article you want, don't despair, use Interlibrary Loan! Libraries all across the U.S. agree to lend items. So, if  your item exists, we can find it. Items are delivered to XU at no cost to you. That said, the service may take a week to 10 days to obtain an article or book from across the country, FYI. 

Our best advice is to put in your requests as early as you can and concentrate, in the meantime, on using the materials at hand

You will need an active Interlibrary Loan account with which to make requests. Use this link to make yourself an account. From your account homepage, you can fill out a variety of requests.  Fill out the forms completely or your request may not be fulfilled. For any questions regarding filling out the forms, please contact the Reference desk at 504-520-7305 or use our online help here

If you already have an account, access it here.

Using Print Journals at Xavier

Print editions of journals are kept in call number order on the 2nd floor in the Periodicals section. At this time, journals are not checked out, but you can make copies of articles using our copiers on the 1st floor using your Xcard (0.05 cents/page).  In order to find a journal, you need the following information: name of journal, name of article, year of publication, author(s) name(s), title of article, volume of journal, page number. This information makes a complete citation. An incomplete citation will prevent you from finding your article. See the reference desk for help in finding complete citation infomation--it will make your searching easier!

Research Consultations

Research consultations are available to every student by appointment with a  librarian.

Previous to your appointment,  your librarian will ask for  a description of your project, due date, and what you hope to gain from the session. We tailor the session to your immediate research needs and offer follow-up appointments, as necessary.  Please use this form to request a research consultation: