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Spanish 102

Searching Databases

You can use either Basic or Advanced Search on many databases; Basic is good for finding out the breadth of a topic, and Advanced helps to focus your search results. 

If you are starting from the library homepage (, click on the "Articles & Databases" link in the Quick Links side bar.  From there you will go to a listing of all the SJSU accessible databases.  If you know the name of your database, click on the first letter of the title in the "Browse Databases by Title" section at the top of the page.  Alternatively, you can click on the broader subject of your choice under "Browse Databases by Subject Area" in the middle of the page. 

Search Strategies

When you have found a relevant database, start with 1-3 keywords related to your topic.  Not enough results?  Try using synonyms for your keywords, or enter fewer keywords.  Too many results?  Often there is a "Narrow Results by" or "Modify Search" side bar that will help. Explore the search fields in these databases - you can also limit by document type or subject.

Keyword and Search Examples:

Key Terms






 Latin America



 Day of the Dead/ Dia de los Muertos



Using this table, you could perform several searches within a library database for information on Festivals in Mexico:

mexico AND festival

mexico AND celebration

mexico AND Day of the Dead

oaxaca AND festival

Latin America AND festival

The possibilities are endless! Remember to use synonyms, broader, and/or narrower terms when searching for information.

Wildcard Example:

You can also use a wildcard symbol * to search for multiple endings of a root word.

Folk* will search for folk, folklore, folktales, folklife, etc.

Research Tools

  • Refworks  
    Save and manage your citations online.
  • CitationLinker  
    If you already have a citation, CitationLinker will help you find it.
  • Electronic Journals Index  
    Find out if the library has access to a specific online journal.
  • Government Documents  
    Try this guide if you need to locate government information.
  • SJSU Library Toolbar (LibX)  
    Add a toolbar to your Web browser to help you with library research.
  • Zotero  
    A FireFox extension that makes it easy to create citations.