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Database Search Tips: Field Searching

a guide to ways to improve your searching in library databases


Databases contain records of items (books, articles, etc.) and employ fields to note pieces of  information on each records.

Common fields include:

  • author
  • title
  • journal name (or source)
  • subject (or descriptor)
  • abstract
  • publisher
  • year of publication

For assistance on searching by field name, please contact your subject specialist librarian, or stop by the OSU Library Reference Desk.

Searching by Field

Searching by search field can help us to search more efficiently.

For example: if you are interested in the research of Charles Abramson, one of OSU's emminent psychology professors, you can search PsycINFO (the psychology database) for research by Dr. Abramson as follows:

To see the fields by which you can search, look at the box next to your searchbox - it is a drop down menu with many options.

Search Fields

Here is an example of the use of search fields in PsycINFO (Search fields are the bolded text down the left side of the image):