Gale Periodical Databases: A Guide to the Basics

What are Gale Databases?

Gale databases provide Chemeketa students and employees with access to articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers. Ebooks, media, and company directory information can also be found with Gale databases.

Most of the library's databases are Gale databases, but not all of them. The library subscribes to many other databases for finding articles on many research topics. To get to Gale databases and other databases from on or off campus, go to the library's database page at Gale databases can also be accessed directly at Connect to Gale.

Keyword Searching

Most Gale databases use standard search screens that provide various ways to search. The Advanced Search, or keyword search, is the default search screen. Other search options include Subjects and Publications. The Advanced Search screen gives the user more limiting options and multiple search boxes for complex searches.

The search in Figure 1 is a keyword search for "plastic bags" and pollution. Quotation marks around "plastic bags" tells the database to search for those two words exactly in that order. Using the word and between keywords tells the database that all results must use those two words in the article.

This search has also been limited to articles printed in peer-reviewed journals. Peer-reviewed journals are academic journals that have been checked by a committee of experts. They are also called "refereed" journals.

Figure 1 - Search Screen

picture of Search Screen

Search Results

Results are listed in order by date of publication with newest items at the top of the list. In most cases, results include title, author, and date of publication. In Figure 2 below, the article is available in full text. Clicking on the title will display the complete article which can be read online, emailed or printed.

Figure 2 - Results Screen - Article with Full Text

Picture of Gale results screen

The article in Figure 3 is not available in full text. Only an abstract is available. An abstract is a summary of the article.

Figure 3 - Results Screen - Article without Full Text

Picture of Gale results screen


picture of sidebar with refining options


Refining Search Results

There are several ways to refine or filter search results using the options on the side of the results screen. For example, you can limit your results to magazine articles, academic journal articles or news articles. That's helpful if you specifically want to limit your results to magazine articles and exclude academic journal articles form the results or vice versa. If you had not limited results to Peer-reviewed at the beginning of your search, that filtering option is available on the results screen.

You can also limit your results by adding search terms. In this example, the term "ocean" has been added to the search. This tells that database to do a new search with all articles in the results using the words "plastic bags" and pollution and ocean.

You can do a new search by clicking on one of the Subject terms. Subject terms are labels the database uses to describe what an article is about. Keywords are your choice. Subject terms are set by the database. You are not limited to one or the other; you can use both Subject terms and keywords in yours searches. The number in parentheses indicates the number of results you will find if you add that Subject term to your search by clicking on it.

Document type will limit results to types of articles. It is especially helpful if you want to exclude document types such as book reviews or brief articles.




E-mailing, Printing, Saving and Citing Articles

Clicking on the title of an article brings up more information about the article, including a description and full text, if available. To the right of the title is a display of tools and functions, including printing, downloading, and e-mailing (Figure 4). You can e-mail an article to any e-mail address; it does not have to be your Chemeketa e-mail address.

Gale databases include a Citation Tool that will build an APA and MLA style citation for you. Always check these for completeness and accuracy. The Purdue OWL and Chemeketa's Citing Articles from Online Databases show examples for correctly citing in MLA and APA style.

Figure 4 - Printing, e-mailing, saving and citing articles

Picture of article screen with various tools displayed.

Subject Guide Searching

By selecting Subject Guide Search from the top of the search screen, you can search for articles by Subject. Subject terms are labels the database uses to describe what an article is about.

Figure 5 - Subject Search Screen Details

Picture of Subject Browsing screen

Figure 5 shows a Subject search for "video games." A Subject Guide Search won't immediately find a list of articles. It first goes to a page in the database where you can browse for other Subject terms or explore Subdivisions. Clicking Subdivisions will expand the subject screen to show all the subtopics, or more specific aspects, of the Subject term (Figure 6).

If you do a Subject Guide Search and find nothing, try searching for another Subject term or do a keyword search instead. Remember, keywords are up to you, but the database determines which Subject terms can be used for searching.

Figure 6 - Subject Search Subdivisions

Picture of Subject Subdivisions screen


Clicking on one of the Subject term Subdivision will find articles that have been assigned that combination of Subject and Subdivision terms. Clicking on Educational aspects shown in Figure 7 below will retrieve 169 citations for articles that are about educational aspects of video games.

Figure 7 - Subject Search Subdivision Examples

Picture of Subject Subdivisions screen

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search page walks you step by step through more complex searches that include combinations of keywords, Subject terms, author name or article title. It will also help you construct searches that exclude words from the results.

The example in Figure 8 below shows a search that combines the Subject term "video games" and military. Adding not "flight" in the Entire Document will include all articles that use the terms "video games" and military while excluding anything in that list of results that uses the term "flight" anywhere in the article. That means any article about the use of video games by the military for flight simulation would not be in the search results.

See Boolean Searching ( for more information on how to combine terms using AND, OR and NOT in searching.

Figure 8 - Advanced Search Screen

Picture of Gale advanced search screen

Other Search Options

Wildcard symbol: ?

Replaces one character. For example, the search for "wom?n" will find both "woman" and "women."

Truncation symbol: *

Allows the user to search for alternate word endings. For example, the search for "comput*" will find "computer," "computers," "computing," "computation," and "computerized."

To comment or request help, please e-mail Reference or call 503.399.5231.

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Updated: 27 May 2015