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Author Info

Tim Siftar

Tim Siftar
Librarian for Information Sci & Tech, School of Education, and Goodwin College
Hours M-F: 9am-5pm
Hagerty Library, Room 134


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Information Science & Education

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ERIC Services

  1. Content Overview
  2. Platform Overview
  3. Power Searching
  4. Finding Full Text
  5. Obtaining Materials Not Owned by Drexel

Content Overview

ERIC is the largest database of education-related content in the world, started by the US Department of Education in 1966. Understanding the two types of content it offers can help your searching.  1.) Abstracts of articles published in journals (each with a unique "EJ" identifier) and, 2.) Self-published documents (each with a unique "ED" identifier) Within ERIC, you may search the two types of content  together (the default) or separately. Use the "Document Type" options to retrieve only journal articles or self-published documents depending on what you need. Undergraduates tend to use "EJ" journal articles due to their more predictable quality. Graduate students may find value in exploring the longer self-published "ED" reports, curricula and theses.      

Platform Overview

The US Department of Education makes ERIC publicly available on their website. But Drexel also subscribes  to an enhanced version of the ERIC database through a vendor called EBSCO. You can use either version for your research.

RECOMMENDATION: use the EBSCO version, for the following reasons. 

1.)  EBSCO's subscribed service provides links from article abstracts to the full text in other Drexel databases using the standard Drexel Library "Get It!" service.  Another useful feature lets you search simultaneously across ERIC and three other EBSCO education databases.  To do so, use the "Choose Databases" feature on the EBSCO search interface and select the other education files.

2.) Eric.ed.gov was upgraded in 2004 to also connect to full-text articles using the standard Drexel Library "Get It!" service.  But this only works if you access the ERIC website from Drexel's campus OR login through the Drexel Library webpage (where you enter your ID/PW). Otherwise, the public users only see article abstracts and get full-text of self-published "ED" documents.        

Power Searching via the ERIC Thesaurus

Using official ERIC subject terms (or descriptors) can help you to improve your ERIC searches because it helps standardize the idiosyncratic language found in the education discipline. To identify useful search terms, use the online Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors or the Library's print copy: Hagerty Ref LB1028.A1 R42x.

Finding Full Text

For general search help see here. Once you have some results, you'll need to determine if your document is journal article (EJ) or a document (ED). To find out, look at the accession number in the citation you have retrieved.

best resourceIf the accession number begins "EJ," you are looking at a journal article. 

Example: Integrative Thinking and Creativity in Interdisciplinary Studies. Author: Sill, David J. Source: Journal of General Education v50 n4 p288-311 2001 Accession No: EJ650971

For best access to journal articles, use ERIC through EBSCO. In the citation for your article, see the tiny SFX button and a link to "Search SFX." That will open a separate window with any options for electronic access. For older articles (pre-1995) search the journal title in the main library catalog to determine if hard copy is available.  

best resourceIf the accession number begins "ED," you are looking at a report, book, curriculum guide, or other non-journal document. 

Example: Managing Paraeducators in Rural Inclusive Classrooms. Author: Dover, Wendy F. Publication: U.S. South Carolina No. of Pages: 8 Accession No: ED463104
About 80% of older ERIC documents are available full-text in EBSCO (1993-2004) through the link "Access ERIC ---> Full Text." (If your document is a book, also check the Library catalog).  All of the newer ERIC documents (since 2004) are available through the publicly available ERIC website if not also through the EBSCO version.

Contact your librarian if you have questions or call the reference desk at 215-895-2755 (Hagerty) or 215-762-7184 (Hahnemann).

Obtaining Materials Not Owned by Drexel

If you require ERIC documents or journal articles not available through the Library students and faculty may request them via E-Z Borrow or Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) services. (Be sure to include "ED" or "EJ" identifier and any mention of page numbers on the request form.)  If you can't wait one day for an inter-library loan, you could visit Temple University that has a complete collection of the older ERIC Documents on microfiche, or UPenn for their partial set at Van Pelt Library. (for directions see Area Libraries).        

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