Using the Discovery Service

What is Discovery?

The Discovery Service is a search engine to help you find articles, books and other academic material. It is designed by a company called EBSCO, to provide access to the library's information resources through a single search

How does it work? 

The Discovery Service searches many (but not all) of the library’s databases and other resources in one go. Finding items from the library catalogue, the institutional repository and over 100 databases, it presents you with one result list of journal articles, conference papers, books, e-books and more.

Databases are still available to search individually, whether or not they are in Discovery – find the links via a database search of the Library Catalogue or the subject pages of the Library website.

How do I access it?

If you are on campus or using the University VPN, you will be able to search the Discovery Service without logging in. You may be asked to login when you want to access an item in full-text.

If you’re not on campus, you will need to login using your institutional, or Shibboleth login (your university username and password).

Why should I create an additional personalised account?

You can create your own personalised account in the Discovery Service, where you can store your research, create email alerts / RSS feeds, save and retrieve your search history, and save your preferences. Click on ‘My EBSCO Host’ at the top and click on the 'Create a new Account' link.  You will still need to use your institutional login to access the full-text material from the databases and other resources the library subscribes to.

What about finding books?

To find a specific book, type the main words from the title and the author’s name in the search box. The shelfmark (location on the library shelves) and the availability of the book will be displayed underneath the information about the book.
To find books on a subject, type your keywords in the search box and refine your results by selecting ‘Books’ and ‘eBooks’ on the left under ‘Source Types’.

Looking for information on a topic?

When you use the basic search, the 'Available in Library Collection' box will be ticked by default. This means your search will only retrieve results you can fully access online (the ‘Full Text Online’ option) or which are held in the library (the ‘Catalogue Only’ option).

If you want to extend your search to include all material indexed by the Discovery Service, you can un-tick the ‘Available in Library Collection’ option. You may be able to obtain items not fully accessible online or held by the Library using our Interlibrary Loans service.

The Full Text Online option includes material which might be available through a library subscription or free material, and could be an article from a journal, an entry in a reference book or an e-book. The link under each item will lead you through to the full text.

TOP TIP View abstracts (summaries) of articles in your results list by selecting the ‘Detailed’ result format under Page Options

What are "Additional Resources"?

Some databases and other resources are shown on the right of the results screen, labeled Additional Resources. We are not currently able to integrate them into the main Discovery Service results, so instead they are searched simultaneously, with results kept separate on the right hand side. To view these search results, just click on the specific Additional Resource, or tick it to include them with the main Discovery Service results.

Additional Resources on Discovery subject pages

The Discovery subject gateways which search a smaller subset of databases than the main Discovery search, also include links to Additional Resources related to that subject on the right hand side of the results screen.

These Additional Resources provide results from databases that sit outside of the Discovery Service. These are not automatically displayed in the central results panel. You can either:

  • Display results from an individual Additional Resource by clicking on the name e.g.Cognet library
  • Merge results with the main results by ticking in the box next to the name and clicking update

 A yellow triangle is a failed search – if this is shown, try accessing the database via another route. 

 All Library databases can be accessed directly via the Library web pages.

How can I cut down the number of results?

For example, you can limit by the source type (e.g. academic journals, books etc.), subject, language, geography (country or region) or content provider (database or information resource).

Where can I get more help?

Just ask at the library help desks, contact us by email, phone or through our chat service

How do I find law resources?

Law is one topic that is better served by databases other than Discovery, the best being Lexis and Westlaw. Check the Law & Criminology subject pages for more information.

Where else can I search?

Though Discovery includes a great range of resources, there are a number of specialist databases whose content is not in Discovery.

Check our subject pages for recommendations on where to search for resources in your subject area. 


Need help using Discovery?

Just ask at the library help desk or contact us by email, phone or through our chat service