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SuperSearch FAQs - Twin Cities Library, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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SuperSearch FAQs


1. What is SuperSearch?

SuperSearch enables users to find articles, books, and more all in one search. In technical terms, SuperSearch is a "web-scale discovery" tool. It is similar to Google, only SuperSearch is academic and includes Twin Cities Library resources. In layperson terms, SuperSearch is awesome.

2. How do I access SuperSearch?

Access SuperSearch right from Twin Cities Library's homepage. The search box is embedded front and center.

Access subject-specific SuperSearches by mousing over the top toolbar menu option Articles, Books, & More > Browse Subjects. You will find a dropdown menu that lists various topics.

3. Why should I use SuperSearch?

SuperSearch is a great place to start searching. You can find something on almost any topic. It includes hundreds of databases and MnPALS, our library catalog. Plus you can save all of your resources in one place and copy pre-made APA citations right into your paper, BAM!

4. What is included in SuperSearch?

SuperSearch has millions of items and includes all Twin Cities Library books, dissertations, DVDs, assessment tests, eBooks, and most article and streaming video databases such as Education Source, Business Source Premier, ScienceDirect, PubMed, PsycTESTS, Sage Collections, Emerald, JSTOR, CQ Researcher, and Counseling & Therapy in Video. As a bonus, SuperSearch has open access articles, working papers, dissertations, and theses. Plus, SuperSearch includes citations for scholarly articles that we do not own but you can get for free through interlibrary loan.

What is included in each subject-specialized SuperSearch?

5. What is not included in SuperSearch?

SuperSearch does not include everything from Twin Cities Library's databases, but darn near close. There are a handful of library databases that are not fully included in SuperSearch. Learn more.

6. Is everything in SuperSearch available as full text?

Yes, get online articles and eBooks immediately. Select the PDF icon or use the Get Full Text link to find the full text. (SuperSearch's default setting is to find items immediately available through the Twin Cities Library.)

Physical copies of items must be picked up at the library. These include print books, print dissertations, and VHS and DVDs. (If you do not attend class on the Twin Cities campus, we will mail them to your home upon request.)

You can also deselect the Full Text box on your search results page to find items not immediately available from Twin Cities Library, but that we can get for you for free. You can order such items through interlibrary loan; they will be emailed to your SMU Gmail account within 1-2 business days. Interlibrary loan books arrive within 2-4 days. Learn more about interlibrary loan.

7. Should I always use SuperSearch?

It depends on your purpose. SuperSearch retrieves a lot of results, which may not be helpful. You can get fewer results by using a subject-specific database. See our Databases page to find subject-specific databases or view our subject guides for recommended databases for your topic. Find more tips for narrowing your search in answer #14.

Use SuperSearch to:

  • discover articles, books, and more in one search
  • search narrow topics
  • conduct comprehensive literature reviews
  • stay current on a topic
  • find a few items on a topic
  • save resources in one place
  • obtain pre-made APA citations

8. When should I use SuperSearch versus a subject database?

SuperSearch does not have the same advanced search features as individual library databases. For example, you can limit search results to specific research methodologies (e.g., qualitative or quantitative) in ProQuest Psychology but not in SuperSearch. Likewise, subject-specific controlled vocabulary and research population limits. Search within a specific academic discipline using one of our subject-specific databases.

9. How do I SuperSearch? The Grand Overview.

This self-guided, interactive tutorial teaches you to find and access articles, books, eBooks, videos, dissertations, assessment tests, and more all in a single search using SuperSearch. Choose the version that works with your device below.

Standard version     iPad version

If the longer tutorial isn't for you, we have a quick 'n' dirty two-page SuperSearch handout.

10. I hate SuperSearch! Where's my favorite library database!?

Such strong language! Don't fret - you can still access your favorite subject databases on the Databases page. There are no plans to cancel subject databases or limit access to them because of SuperSearch. We hope everyone will try SuperSearch to see what it has to offer, but we also know it's not the right tool for everyone. Feedback is welcome!

11. I'm looking for a specific item, but I can't find it in SuperSearch.

If you are unable to find a specific item in SuperSearch, search its title in Google Scholar and select the More or Full Text Options - SMU links to verify that Twin Cities Library does not own it. If Twin Cities Library does not own it, you may request it through interlibrary loan. Articles are emailed to your SMU Gmail account wtihin 1-2 business days, and books arrive within 2-4 business days. Learn more about interlibrary loan.

12. How do I place a hold on an item that the library owns?

You can place holds on Twin Cities Library print books and dissertations, assessment tests, and DVDs/VHS. Library staff will pull the item and hold it at the library desk for you. Contact us if you need the item mailed to you. Learn how to request an item that is already checked out.

To place a hold:

  1. Select Request this item below the item's title in your SuperSearch results.
  2. Log in. Your username is the 14-digit barcode from your Saint Mary's ID card. Your password is your last name. Select the Login button.
  3. Select Place Hold.
  4. A request form will appear.
  5. Select the Create Hold Request button.
  6. A confirmation message will appear. We will send you an e-mail when the item is ready for you to pick up.

13. What if I need an item that is already checked out?

If you need an item that is owned by Twin Cities Library, but it is currently checked out, you may request it from another library by filling out a blank interlibrary loan request form. If the item is an assessment test or a dissertation, you must place a hold on it and wait until it is available.

14. I got too many results.

Make sure you have a narrow, solid research question that gives you enough variables to search with. Learn how to develop a good research question.

To narrow your search:

  • Add extra keywords to the search box using the Boolean Operator "AND." Learn how.
  • Narrow the date range to eliminate older results.
  • Limit your results to a type of resource (e.g. peer-reviewed journals). Learn how.
  • Use subject headings in SuperSearch. Learn more.
  • Search in a subject-specific database. Go to Databases to find a specific database or visit our subject guides for recommended databases for your topic.

Still too many? Consider using one of our subject-specialized SuperSearch databases.

15. I got too few results.

To get more results:

  • Use fewer, or broader, search terms.
  • Verify that you did not misspell search terms.
  • Use the Boolean operator "OR" to allow SuperSearch to look for multiple words with similar meanings. Learn how.
  • Expand the date range if you had previously narrowed it.
  • Uncheck Full Text on the left-hand sidebar, which will expand your search to items Twin Cities Library does not own.
  • Search Google Scholar to see if there is recent scholarly activity on your topic.

16. How do I create a SuperSearch account?

Create a free SuperSearch account and permanently save articles, eBooks, and premade searches, set up search alerts, and access your work from any Internet-enabled device any time! It's like you're a research VIP.
Note: If you already have an account with EBSCO, you already have a SuperSearch account! Sign in as usual.

  1. Go to the Twin Cities Library website:
  2. Select Advanced Supersearch, located next to the SuperSearch box.
  3. Log in using your Saint Mary's username and password (same as WebTools, Blackboard, and Engage).
  4. Select Sign In, located in the toolbar menu at the top right of the SuperSearch page.
  5. Select Create a New Account.
  6. Fill out the required fields.
    1. Password field - SuperSearch requires a robust password! Our tips for developing a strong password:
      1. Use two words and include at least two of the following: capitalization, numbers, or symbols (e.g., SkolVikings15), or;
      2. Use a memorable phrase of three or more words; include capital letters (e.g., OnceUponATime).
      3. More help.
  7. Select Save Changes, and start searching!

Please note, you must log in twice for articles to be permanently saved in your folder; once to gain access to SuperSearch, and again to gain access to your personal SuperSearch account. If you are not logged in to your personal SuperSearch account, your articles will not be saved from session to session.

17. What is my SuperSearch account password?

Twin Cities librarians know a lot of things, but your SuperSearch password is not one of them. Alas! To retrieve your password:

  1. Select the Sign In link as usual.
  2. Under the login screen, select Forgot your password?
    • When you created your SuperSearch account, you made a secret question. Hope you remember the answer!
  3. Totally lost? Select Forgot your user name and password?

18. How do I save articles in SuperSearch?

  1. Sign into your SuperSearch account (see #16).
  2. Perform a brilliant search.
  3. On the results page, select the blue folder icon located to the right of each resource's title.
  4. The item is now saved in your SuperSearch folder forever.
    • Find a link to your folder at the very top right of every SuperSearch page.

19. How do I email myself articles in SuperSearch?

  1. Sign into your SuperSearch account (see #16).
  2. Select Folder (located in the upper right-hand menu).
  3. Mark the boxes next to the articles you'd like to email to yourself.
  4. Select E-mail (located in the right-hand sidebar).
  5. Enter your email address(es).
  6. Select Send. Boom!

20. How can I find APA citations in SuperSearch?

  1. To view the APA citation for your item, select the hyperlinked title.
  2. Select Cite (located in the right-hand sidebar).
  3. A citation window open at the top of the webpage.
  4. Copy and paste the APA citation into your paper.
    • Note: Always check the citations for formatting accuracy.

21. How does the MFT Systemic Journals SuperSearch work?

The MFT Systemic Journals SuperSearch automatically restricts your search results to only family and relational journals.

If you mark the box Peer-Reviewed Articles, your search results will only include articles from peer-reviewed family and relational journals. (Both limits are applied.)

If you mark the box Books and DVDs, then your search results will include items that are available through Saint Mary's but that are not necessarily family or relational journals. (SuperSearch applies either limit to your search - not both. A weird quirk, I know.)

You can also uncheck the Limit to MFT Systemic Journals box to search the entire contents of our psychology databases. (You'll get many more search results.)

22. SuperSearch and downloading eBooks - how does that work?

Access eBooks online and offline on almost any device, including iPads. Learn how.

23. I put articles in my folder and they're not there anymore.

You must log in twice for articles to be permanently saved in your folder; once to gain access to SuperSearch, and again to gain access to your personal SuperSearch account. If you are not logged in to your personal SuperSearch account, your articles will not be saved from session to session.

Off-Campus Users

  1. Perform a search using SuperSearch.
  2. Log in to SuperSearch using your Saint Mary's University login information (username/password same as WebTools, Blackboard).
  3. Log in to your personal SuperSearch account via the Sign In link located in the upper-right corner of the screen (username/password your choice).

On-Campus Users

  1. Perform a search using SuperSearch.
  2. Log in to your personal SuperSearch account via the Sign In link located in the upper-right corner of the screen (username/password your choice).

We realize this is annoying. We hope to offer a seamless Single Sign On option in the future.

24. How do I only search for peer-reviewed journal articles?

Actually, first you'll search everything, then limit your results to just the peer-reviewed stuff. :-)

After you've performed a search and are on the SuperSearch results page, take a gander at the column on the left (under Refine Results). Near the top of the column, you'll see a box labeled Peer-Reviewed Articles. Select the box, wait for the page to refresh, and you'll see search results published in peer-reviewed journals.

Careful! Not everything published in a peer-reviewed journal is "peer-reviewed." Non-scholarly items like book reviews, news blurbs, and editor's opinion pieces can be published in peer-reviewed journals; they will be pulled into your search results even when the Peer-Reviewed Articles box is checked. Always evaluate your sources before including them in your research, and become familiar with the characteristics of a peer-reviewed article.

Need more help?

Learn more by viewing this tutorial in the following formats:   Interactive (Standard)  |  Interactive (iPad)  |  PDF