The opening search page of the MLA International Bibliography database is actually Advanced Search. This search mode is the most effective way to search MLA. It provides three search bars so that you can search for multiple key terms at once:
Constructing a Search
Your choice of search terms will affect the quality of your results. Think about your topic and determine the strongest and simplest words. Enclose a phrase in quotation marks to search the terms together, as a phrase. MLA Advanced Search allows you to search within fields, such as author, abstract, journal title, subject, literary theme, and others. If no selection is made, all fields are searched.
A very simple search, for the title of a work - "catcher in the rye" in TI returns 144 results. This search is probably too broad and without much real value on its own. It is helpful to have another search term to create a more refined set of results. A theoretical or critical term related to the work you're researching is a good choice. The Catcher in the Rye is, fundamentally, a book about adolescence, and so that term can be used in the search. NOTE: we used truncation in the form of an asterisk - * when entering "adolescen". Think of the asterisk as meaning "and, anything afterwards." This allows the search to include adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence. Adding this and searching again returns 12 results.
You can also apply different limits to your search, including by Publication Date, Publication Type, Language, Genre, and Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals (see the sidebar).
After you type in your search terms and click on the Search button, you see a list of results:
These results will include citation records for journal articles, books, and book chapters. Journal articles may or may not be available in full text--if they are, then you will see HTML Full Text and PDF Full Text icons, as shown in the above example, or (not shown here) Linked Full Text. Citations for book chapters and books will not have full-text links, so to find them, click on the button to search all Library holdings.
When you click the GET ARTICLE icon, the link searches for the item throughout the library's resources - primarily, our other databases. Several things may happen when you click GET ARTICLE, including being taken to the full text of the article in another database.
In the example, here, in result #2, when you click GET ARTICLE you are taken to the Central Piedmont Community College website. You need to notice the Fall 2016 article date in the citation. On the website, you can then browse to the Fall 2016 issue and access the PDF of the article.
Basic Search is a simple search that you can access through the "Basic Search" link below the Advanced Search bars. We strongly recommend that you use Advanced Search, but if you're overwhelmed by all of the options, select Basic SearchIn Basic Search, you can type in one key phrase, title, or author, and choose to limit by Pubication Date, Linked Full-Text only, Language, or Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals.
Using the Thesaurus
Using Subject Terms and General Subject Terms