Skip to Main Content

Messiah and the Covenant Library Guide: Helpful Databases


Use these tools

Quotation Marks

Enclosing a search in quotation marks will give you exactly those words in exactly that order. For instance, "


An asterisk tells the database to fill in any letters here. It's useful for expanding a search to include variations on a word. For instance, if I want to find something about libraries or librarians, I would search for librar*. This will pull up library, libraries, librarian, librarians, and librarianship. This is useful because an author might be talking about the concept we are looking for in an article, but might not have used the exact word we searched for.


Also known as the boolean operators. These are selectable by menu in most databases, but you can also just type them in capital letters and the database will know you aren't looking for the word "and," but are telling it how to run the search. 

And is the default. If you don't specify, the database assumes all your search words are connected by an invisible and. This gives you narrower results. If I search for Yehud Sheshbazzar, I am looking for articles that have both those words in it. I can expand my search by adding an OR between them: Yehud OR Sheshbazzar. This will pull up any article that mentions either word: a bigger set of results.

NOT does just what it sounds like: excludes any articles that mention that word. For instance, Yehud NOT Qibya will search for any articles that have the word Yehud in them, but exclude any that also have the word Qibya, which is useful to get rid of results talking about a 1953 incident involving the modern Yehud settlement and the Arab town of Qibya.

Subject Headings!

See the next tab up top. :)

Think around your search question

Sometimes, the words that you think should be a good match for your topic don't bring many results in the database, or bring the wrong results. In these cases you might need to get a little creative to find ways to get at the information you need.

For example, "Yehud" is a difficult search term. It's only come to be commonly used by scholars in the last fifteen years or so, so there are not many results when searching for this word. Previously, scholars used the word "Judah." We could try that instead . . . but then we get results that are about Judah the son of Jacob, Judah the tribe, and Judah the kingdom in the wrong time period.

To get around this problem, we need to think what Yehud is, and try to find other searches that can get us to that time and place. Yehud is the kingdom of Judah after 550 BCE, during Persian rule. So we could add the word "Persia*" to our search (the asterisk means the search pulls up variations on th word, like "Persia," "Persian," and "Persians"). Or we could try searching for a historical figure that we know is associated with the time and place, like Sheshbazzar or Ezra ben Seraiah or Nehemiah. Being creative in searches in this manner can surface hidden gold.

It's always frustrating to find a great article in a database only to learn that there's no full text. But the good news is, we can still get you the article! You can order it through interlibrary loan for free, and you get a PDF version sent to you very quickly: within two business days.

There are two ways to order an article. The first is to click on Check Gonzaga Libraries for Full Text Options for a citation in a database:

Example picture

If we don't have the article in any other database, you'll see a link to request the article via interlibrary loan:

Example picture

Click there and you will be taken to the sign-in page for Interlibrary loan. Once you sign it, the system pre-fills a form with all the information needed to order that article! Magic! All you have to do is click Submit. Our interlibrary loan librarians will get busy finding a library that owns the journal. Librarians from that library will scan the article and upload it directly to your interlibrary loan account! You will be notified when it comes in. It usually takes about two days. (Make sure you download articles to your computer when they come in: they eventually expire.) (Oh, and even though the name of the service is interlibrary loan, you don't need to return the articles. They're yours to keep. Books, on the other hand, do need to be returned . . . but you knew that already.)

The other way to order an article is not quite as magical, but still effective: just login to interlibary loan from, click New Request --> Article, and fill out the form manually.

We can get most articles that are requested this way, and we encourage you to order articles with interlibrary loan if we don't have them! It's seamless and free to you. Don't let that perfect article get away!