Database Analysis

EBSCOhost and ProQuest


EBSCOhost: Contains 54 databases that cover everything from World Textiles to Sports to business to social sciences. It feels like there is more variety in scope with EBSCOhost than ProQuest.

ProQuest Databases: Contains 22 databases from art to dissertations to historical newspapers to gender studies.


Proquest and EBSCOhost are both well-known and well-used in libraries across the United States, from academic to public. Although not all libraries carry every database that each of these covers, many libraries offer at least some.  The authority of both seem established.


From previous experience, I know that both ProQuest and EBSCOhost are fairly accurate. The subject headings are more detailed in EBSCO host than in ProQuest. In that regards, EBSCO host seems more accurate. For example, in an article on Northern Ireland, the subject terms in ProQuest are Peace negotiations, territorial issues, political science, and minority & ethnic studies. In EBSCOhost, with the same article, the subject terms are history, peace, political violence, Northern Ireland, 1969-1994, Northern Ireland-Politics & government-1969-1994. Great Britain-Politics & government-1964-1979, and Great Britain-Politics & government-1979-1997. EBSCOhost also includes author-supplied keywords that include international negotiation, IRA, Northern Ireland, peace process, and political violence.  Of course, just because something is more detailed does not always mean that it is more accurate, but in this case, that does not seem to be the case.  The abstracts for ProQuest are more detailed than those for EBSCOhost (at least that is what I gathered from the articles I looked at).


Both are arranged alphabetically. When browsing, EBSCOhost offers indexes, while ProQuest offers music related browsing.

Special Features

ProQuest offers a browse topics and featured content section. Some of what one can browse is a glossary, an opera synopses, music fundamental terms, pronunciation guides, career resources, and dissertations and theses.  EBSCOhost offers four different dictionaries one can use and author profiles.

Ethnic NewsWatch (ProQuest) and American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies (EBSCOhost)

Record structure

Ethnic NewsWatch provides subjects, location, classification, title, author, publication infromation, publication subject, and last updated. While American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies (ABSEES) has similar record descriptions, the publication information (volume, issue, pages, title of publication, etc.) is included in one line rather than divided into several. The subjects are also more detailed in ABSEES than Ethnic NewsWatch. For Ethnic NewsWatch, in the record you can search author, source, and subjects. ABSEES lets you search subject, location, author, publication title, volume, issue, and publication subject.

Advanced search

ABSEES supports Boolean searching or exact phrase searching. Stop words are ignored if they are part of a phrase that one is searching for. Wildcards are available through use of question mark (?) or pound sign (#). Truncation can be used by an asterisk (*). Ethnic NewsWatch supports Boolean operators as well and makes these operators available (AND, OR, NOT, NEAR/n or N/n, Pre/n or P/n, EXACT or X, and LNK) and the precendence is PRE, NEAR, AND, Or, and finally NOT. Like ABSEES, the wildcard symbol is a question mark (?). The Truncation character is the asterisk (*) and one can define truncation that replaces up to the amount of characters specified (this is represented by [*n] or $n). Stop words will only be searched if one uses them in parentheses or brackets.

Available limits and/or filters and/or options

Ethnic NewsWatch lets you include subjects and locations and you can limit the search by source type, document type, language, and ethnic group. The advanced search options for ABSEES include search modes, apply related words, limiting results by linked full text, publication, language, document type, and published date.

Controlled vocabulary

ABSEES has indexes where the user can browse and search for things such as subject, year of publication, author, document type, and a few others. The user can combine terms with OR, AND, or NOT. There is no thesaurus. Ethnic NewsWatch includes a Thesaurus as well as Field Codes to help in searching. The thesaurus allows one to browse alphabetically or search for a term. When you click on a term, it takes you to a broader or narrower term (clicking on Karaoke led to Entertainment as a broader term). One can also click on the symbol to the right of the term and it leads one to a definition and related terms. For example, Karaoke led to a definition and related terms included musical recordings, popular music, and singing.


In ABSEES, one can sort by date newest, date oldest, author, source, or relevance.. In Ethnic NewsWatch, one can sort by relevance, oldest first, or more recent first.

Command line searching

ABSEES has no command line searching, but Ethnic NewsWatch does. An example of a command search query is WC( 500) AND SU(Northern Ireland) NOT SU(Ireland ) AND NR(5). This means that I’m looking for a word count of 500, the subject of northern ireland, not the subject of ireland, and the number of references as 5. Learning how to command line serach gives one a better ability to search more efficiently and find exactly what you are looking for and ignoring what you do not need. It can let the user get more detailed and more in depth.


Each database has different structures for their records. Once an initial search is done, one can see what a record contains and how to best revise a search query/strategy.         It also gives terms used for indexing which helps retrieve search results.