|ERIC is the single best index to scholarly
and professional literature in education. It now indexes and
annotates or abstracts a total of more than 1 million journal articles,
monographs, reports, and books. Its coverage of education is broad and
deep, from preschool to higher education, from curriculum and counseling
to school finance and policy. ERIC indexes almost 1,000 journals,
dating back to 1996. It comprehensively indexes most of the main journals
in education and also selectively indexes education-related articles in
the major journals of other fields such as psychology, sociology, and economics.
also has arrangements with more than 2,000 organizations to receive their
monographs, reports, conference papers, and other publications for review
and possible indexing.
ERIC's coverage of the education literature is far greater than
any other index.
ERIC permits complex searches. Each resource is assigned standardized
"Descriptors" by professional indexers. The full set of descriptors
is specified in the "Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors". ERIC
can also search words and phrases in the annotation or abstract that ERIC
stores for each resource.
Although ERIC currently provides only a small number of full text
documents online, most documents indexed by ERIC, except the journal
articles and books, can be ordered in microfiche or hard copy from the
Document Reproduction Service at http://www.edrs.com.
Many large university libraries, including GWU, have this microfiche collection.
Each year the ERIC system produces about 100 brief reviews of
research on topics of high interest to practitioners. The full text
of these "ERIC Digests" is available online at http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/index/
ERIC also maintains a "Calendar of Education-Related Conferences"
The main weakness of ERIC is that it provides few full text documents
online. Some of the the documents are available online in full text
from other sources, but ERIC doesn't currently tell you which ones
and at what URL. (See Lesson
S-9 for how to find the full text of some journals and other publications
ERIC indexes only a few dissertations. Most dissertations
are covered by UMI Dissertation
Abstracts (See Lesson
The following resources will help you get started using ERIC in a powerful
and efficient manner.
The main ERIC Web site is at http://www.accesseric.org
It provides detailed information about the ERIC system and links
to four Web-based search engines, but little information on how to do an
The AskERIC Web site at http://ericir.syr.edu/Eric/
provides free access to the entire ERIC database going back to 1966.
It includes fairly good instructions on how to search ERIC from
The ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education
has produced a great interactive tutorial for learning to use the AskERIC
site. It will help you become moderately proficient at doing ERIC
searches in less than two hours. Try it out at: http://www.eriche.org/Workshops/searching.html
ERIC can also be accessed by GW students by going to the Gelman
Library home page, clicking on "Databases", then clicking on "ALADIN 'Article
and Other Databases'", selecting "Alphabetical List" and finally clicking
on "ERIC (education)". The advantage to doing this is that it connects
you to the OVID metasearch engine which allows up to four other
database searches in conjunction with your ERIC search. For more
information on OVID, see Lesson S-9.
If you encounter trouble when doing ERIC searches, review the
above Trail Guides again. If that doesn't help, try your reference
librarian. If he or she can't help, contact the search specialists
at AskERIC, indicating very specifically what you have been trying
to find and what you tried unsuccessfully. The search specialist
can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through a form at
or Advance to Lesson S-4
Last Update: September 8, 2000