Here you will find a short exercise for every database so you can get a small impression of how they work.

  • Web of Science

    Go to the digital library page and click on Web of Science.

    Question 1

    • At the top of the screen you can choose your database and search-method.
    • Try to find information on "groundwater assessment" (topic). 
    • Restrict your search result by adding the keywords "remote sensing". Use the "Refine results" option on the left side of your screen.
    • Sort the result by "Times cited"
    • Click on one of the titles which have been cited a few times. 
    • Look for the "References" and the "Times Cited" options with individual articles, the number with Times Cited on the right indicates a number of articles.
    • Try to open the full text of one of the articles

     Question 2

    • Now try to use the Cited Reference Search, to use this, click at "Cited Reference Search" at the top of the page. 

    • We want to know if articles by a specific author have been cited.
    • Use the "select from index" link to go to the Authors index. 

    • Type Rientjes and "move to" to select the ITC author by using the "add" button in the list before Rientjes, THM to add this name to your search.
    • When back in the "Cited Reference Search" screen, click the "Search" button. 

    •  Click 'OK' and 'Search' to view the articles.

    Question 3

    • Now use the Advanced Search Option, again you can reach this by selecting "Advanced Search Option" at the top of the page. 

    • Type TS=decision support system* AND TS=water
    • Then, click the "Search" button. 

    • Scroll down and click on the number of the results and look at some of the references. You can see the results by clicking on the number of results. See if some of them are full text available.

    • Do the same search but change the TS (topic) in TI (title). Now you search for the same words but now only if they appear in the title field. Of course the result will be less: TI=decision support system* AND TI=water
    • Try out the various options on your screen.

    Question 4

    • Complete a search in Web of Science on your topic
    • Select ‘Open Access’ from Refine Results bar
    • Click ‘Refine’ to return only open access records
    • Open Access records are indicated by the blue padlock symbol
  • ScienceDirect / Elsevier

    Go to the digital library page and click on ScienceDirect / Elsevier.

    • Register yourself via the "Register" link at the top right of the screen and remember your password for future use. When you are logged in the Search History should be switched on (see lower part of your screen). The same account can be used for all Elsevier products, including ScienceDirect, Scopus and Mendeley.

    • Find information on "remote sensing". Search within Abstract, Title, Keywords. 


    • With 'Advanced Search' you can change your search, when clicking 'Show more fields' it is possible to search in the titles only. Look how different the results are.

    • Use the "Search within results" option and enter the following search term "groundwater".

    • Use the "Edit this search" option and restrict your search result to 2018. 

    • Look at the "Abstract" of one of the articles.

    • Open the full article by clicking on the title. Scroll through the article.

    • Look for the "Cited by" option: you will be able to see a list of all other articles within ScienceDirect that cite that particular article.

    • Open the same article as a PDF file. See the difference. 
      Close the PDF, then go back to your search results. 

    • Use the "Set search alert" option and give it a name (you will automatically be notified when new articles are published that correspond with your search strategy).
    • Use the "Manage alerts" option in the profile menu to see which alerts you have saved till now.

    • When you open an article again, look for "Recommended Articles". 

    • Although it was previously available, there is no option to save a search or view the search history. You can only set alerts.
  • Scopus

    Go to the digital library page and click on Scopus.

    • Log in to Scopus; your Elsevier / ScienceDirect and Mendeley login also applies here. When you are logged in the Search History should be switched on (see lower part of your screen). 

    • Find information on "remote sensing". Search within Abstract, Title, Keywords. 

    • Use the "Edit this search" option and search for the same topic but now only in the Title field. 

    • Use the "Search within results" option and enter the following search term "groundwater".

    • Use the "Refine results" option to limit your search result to affiliation ITC (International Institute for Geo-information...). 

    • Select one of your titles, view the list of all citing articles and then use the "Sort by"  option to change from "Date (Newest)" to "Cited by (highest)"

    • Tick 2 or more articles and test the export of the citations to Mendeley, EndNote or another reference manager you use. You can pick exactly which information you need.

    • Another search option is the Affiliation Search: find articles by ITC Staff:

    • Select one of the found documents, click on one of the author's names to enter the individual author's page. From here you can view, review and access their work.

  • SpringerLink

    Go to the digital library page and click on SpringerLink Journals.

    • Register yourself via the "log in" option and remember your username and password for future use. 

    • Find the journal "Water Resources Management" by using the basic search bar.

    • Make sure you clicked the Water Resources Management journal.
    • Find the "Search within this journal" box in the top right corner, and search for articles on "groundwater assessment".
    • Start a new search, using the advanced search to find materials with the exact phrase "urban gis applications".
    • Scroll down and notice that you do not have full text access to all articles. 

    • Refine your results to articles only
    • Click one of your titles, and find the "Cite article" options. Pick 'How to cite?' or scroll down to see all metadata attached to this reference.
    • Back on the page showing your search results, you can scroll down to find the "Browse by Discipline" button to explore the database.

  • Geobase

    Go to the digital library page and click on Geobase.
    Here also the login from Scopus, Mendeley works. All Elsevier products use the same account.


    • Search for "water quality" in all fields with the quick search on top of the page.

    • Edit your search directly by using the drop-down menu next to the search field and choose to search in Titles only.

    • Add a search field and restrict your search results by adding the following search term: "monitoring", in all fields. 

    • Sort the result by "Relevance" or "Date". 

    • Open one of the abstracts (show preview) and open the full text (click title). 

    Start a "New search" now choose the "Expert Search" tab at the top of the screen.

    • Enter the following search string: 
      (drought monitoring) wn KY AND (remote sensing) wn KY
      Explanation: WN KY means that you search for keywords within the subject, title and abstract field. 

    • Change KY in your search string to TI (TI=Title

    • Filter the result by "Source title" (=journal title), top right on your screen and open an article from the journal “International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation”. 

    • Look for the "Search History" and save one of the searches. You must be logged in to use this option. View your saved searches.
  • Journal Citation Reports

    Go to the digital library page and click on JCR; Journal Citation Reports.

    • Select the option "Browse by Category": 

    • Choose the subject category "Water Resources": 


    • The result is an alphabetic list of the most important (highly qualified) journal titles in this subject category. 

    • Sort the list by Median Impact Factor. If you forgot about the Impact Factor please take a look at the description of the Journal Citation Reports in Module 5 of this literacy course.
  • JSTOR: journal storage

    Go to the digital library page and click on JSTOR

    • The browse by subject option gives you access to the discipline or alphabetic list of journals. Look at the discipline "Geography" in the category of Social Sciences. You will find the list of journals covered within this discipline by JSTOR. 


    • Now choose the "Search within Geography" option from the menu at the top. 
      Search for "water management" in full text. 


    • Select the advanced search and modify it: search for "remote sensing" in all fields and for "water management" in item titles.
    • Try to open some of the articles.
    • Scroll through the article and use the different options.
    • Go back to your Search results by using the "< Results" link.
    • Change the sort order.
    • Save this search and check your saved searched.
  • Electronic full text journals

    Go to the digital library page and click on Electronic Journals.

    • Look up if the journal: "International Journal of Remote Sensing" is online available.
    • Try to search for the topic "water" within this journal.

    • Try to open one of the articles on your screen.
    • In which other databases can you search for journal articles on a certain topic?
  • E-books

    Go to the digital library page and click on EBL EBOOK CENTRAL and log in with your University ITC account. m-number or s-number if you are prompted by an ITC or UT login page.

    • Use the search bar to find a book on your topic.
    • You see books with yellow and green buttons, use the "Owned and subscribed to by my library" option.

    • Go to one of the titles, use the 'read online' option to browse the content.
    • Select one of the chapters from the Content page.
    • Use the 'Search within book' option to find if a specific topic is part of this book. 
    • In the 'read online' mode you can also print a small part of the book. Select one chapter of your choice to see how to use this. If you want to download it, it is only readable for 23 hours.

     Go to the digital library page and click on Dawsonera e-Books and accept the conditions.

    • Look at the e-books that are available for you.
    • Read one of them online.
    • Use the print and copy option. You need to login if you didn't do that already.
    • Do a search for "remote sensing" in the whole catalogue. Use the advanced search options and search in the Full text. Tick the "include Books not owned by your library". 
    • Look at the 5 min preview option. To have a 5 min preview option, you need to login.

    Go to the digital library page and click on Springer Earth and Environmental Science eBook collection

    • To see books that ITC has full access to, deselect the option “Include Preview-Only content” in the left-hand menu, and after that choose “Content Type > Book”.
    • Go to the information page of one of the books that are available to you.
    • Download the full book or a chapter to your computer and open it so you can read it.
    • Try the filter menu items "discipline" and "subdiscipline" and perhaps language to filter your results.

    Go to the digital library page and click on Taylor & Francis Urban eBook Collection . 

    • Search for Machine learning  using the Search bar within the subject of "Earth Sciences" within books, tick the "Show content I have access to" box.
    • Click the book title. Scroll down to see the table of contents and the abstract of this book, is this what you are looking for?
    • Read the abstract for one of the chapters, save the pdf and register the chapter in Mendeley.
    • Use the Download citation option to save the complete pdf of the book in your Mendeley Watch folder (has all information been exported?).
  • Academic output

    Click at "ITC Academic Output" under the Research heading at the library page.

    • Try to locate an MSc thesis of 2010 of the course you are doing now. 

    • Go back to the library page and open Adlib (ITC Library Catalogue Adlib) and search for the "msc theses 2010" in the title field. Look for the theses of your own programme. 
    • Try to find a peer refereed journal article (ISI Journal Articles) from one of your lecturers.
  • findUT

    Go to the digital website of the main library, here you find findUT, the search engine of the university library. It uses the worldcat database. To get to the advanced search either make a quick search and refine it or go directly to the advanced search.

    • Search for "ArcView" (no space between Arc and View)  in keywords.
    • To narrow your search results only the last 10 years. Sort the results by recency.
    • Use the filter option and select only the downloadable articles.

    • Click on one of the titles to see more bibliographic information and information about the availability. Click "View full text", which brings you to a website where you can download the article.
    • Go back to the shortlist.
    • Click on an authors' name to see if this author has published more which is available in the library. 
    • You can widen your search to libraries worldwide or in the netherlands or narrow it to the ITC library only on the left panel bar.