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Faculty Library Resources: WISE

Useful services, resources, and helpful hints for faculty.

WISE Search

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The library wants to make WISE the best that it can be for Westminster College.  Please contact the library, or John Garrison directly, for problems you encounter with WISE or improvements or changes you would like to see.

WISE Contents

Welcome to WISE!  It is the library catalog, and can be used to find books, articles, journals, videos and many of the library's other resources.  On this page, you will find information to help you use WISE.


Resources you can find in WISE

IMPORTANT:  WISE is now the ONLY platform for the library's catalog.  For the 2012-13 academic year, students, faculty and staff could use either WISE or a link on the library web page, "Online Catalog" to do so.  The latter option is no longer available.

What you'll find when you search WISE:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Articles*
  • Videos (DVD, VHS, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (websites, etc.)

* Not all articles will be retrieved by searching WISE.  Please see Resources you CAN'T find on WISE for more information.

Resources you CAN'T find in WISE

WISE "knows" what materials the Westminster College library owns at the title-level (book, journal, video, etc.).  WISE has also indexed many publishers' titles in order to provide article-level access for many of our titles.  However, WISE is not able to provide access to 100% of each publisher's index.  Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that WISE does not provide article-level access for all of the library's resources.  WISE's article-level access differs from publisher to publisher and is constantly changing as it improves its central index.  Here are some rules of thumb for article-level access, by format:

  • Magazines:  more often than not, article-level results are not available; some databases do provide article-level results for magazine titles.
  • Newspapers:  very few article-level results are available.
  • E-Reference:  article-level results are not available.

For more information, see Troubleshooting.

Where your results are coming from

WISE contains title-level records for all of the resources that the Westminster College library owns or otherwise has access to.  In addition, via a network called WorldCat, WISE also has records from thousands of libraries worldwide.  This can be beneficial in discovering a wider scope of resources on a topic, but there are several important factors to keep in mind:

  • By default, items that Westminster College owns or has access to appear first in the search results.
  • If Westminster College owns or has access to an item found by searching WISE, this will be indicated in a green font below the item result.
  • Once you have conducted a search, you may alter the results sorting to relevance only, which will intermix items owned/accessible by Westminster College and those that are not.
  • WISE offers convenient access to our ILL services.  See ILL for more information.


The library's ILL service is integrated into WISE, providing a convenient process for borrowing items that Westminster College does not own or have direct access to.  It is recommended that you create an ILL account before you begin your search, but not required.  To use ILL in WISE, use the following steps:

  • When you find an item that says WorldCat Libraries instead of Westminster College McGill Library, click on the title link for the item.
  • Under "Find A Copy In Your Library", you should find the following message:

            "This item isn't held in your library system, but it is held by other WorldCat Libraries.  You may request this item from a WorldCat library through interlibrary loan."

  • If you find this message, click on the navy blue link at the right side of the page:  I Need This! (ILL)
  • You will be taken to a new page and prompted to login with your ILL user name and password (you can create your account at this stage if you have not already done so).
  • Once you have logged in, you will be taken to an ILL form, where all of the item information should be automatically filled in.  You need only enter the borrowing purpose at the bottom of the form.

From WISE:


WISE is the new library catalog, and contains all title-level materials that Westminster College owns or has access to.  However, like any tool, it has strengths and weaknesses, and by using it often you will find how it is best suited for your personal needs.  Based on the current capabilities of WISE, here are a few more suggestions about the use of WISE.

  • Use WISE for:
    • Departmental journals:  WISE provides full-text, article-level links to almost all the peer-reviewed journals that the library subscribes to individually (versus as part of a database or package).  Please contact John Garrison for information about those subscribed journals.
    • Journal packages:  WISE provides full-text links to the journals offered in publisher packages.  Recent acquisitions by the library include SAGE and Springer journal packages; please contact John Garrison for further information about these packages.
    • Interdisciplinary research:  since WISE contains materials from all disciplines taught on campus, using it is more efficient than searching numerous subject-specific databases.
  • Use other resources for:
    • Newspaper or magazine articles:  WISE provides access to few full-text articles in these formats.  Search results for these items also often result in linking errors.  Instead, try:
      • Journal databases:  links to full-text access in databases like Academic Search Elite, Readers' Digest Plus and others are stable.
      • Newspaper databases:  LexisNexis Academic and ProQuest National Newspapers Core are the library's primary online sources for full-text newspaper content.
      • Periodical home pages:  the library provides access to the web site content (including issue archives) for several popular periodicals, including Chronicle of Higher Education, Science, Nature, CQ Weekly and Foreign Affairs.
    • E-Reference:  WISE will retrieve title-level reference works, but not article-level results yet.  If you know you would like to use, or would like your students to use, online reference sources, please use the direct links to those resources found on the Online Journals and Reference Sources page.
    • In-depth research:  WISE search is not as fine-tuned as some of our subject-specific databases; thus, resources such as PsycINFO, BIOSIS Previews, and Historical Abstracts will likely return more relevant results within the disciplines that they cover.
      • Many of our subject-specific databases are either partially or fully citation and abstract-only.  If you find an article with only a citation and abstract, you can search for that article in WISE to determine whether the library has full-text access to that article in another database (or through a journal subscription).  If we do not have any full-text access, you can request the item via ILL directly.  See ILL for more information.


WISE is constantly undergoing upgrades, and improving over time.  There are different problems you may encounter, and several of them are listed below.  Please contact the library to report other problems or questions.

  • "There is a link to a full-text article, but when I click on it, the next page says that the article cannot be found (or another error message)."
    • This typically occurs when an item has not been indexed correctly in WISE.  Newspaper and magazine articles are especially problematic in this case.
    • Solution:  go directly to the database source listed under the link to the article (eg: JSTOR, ScienceDirect, etc.).  If the database source is unclear, please contact the library.
  • "The item result says that we own it, but there is no link to get to the online version (article, journal, etc.)"
    • Please contact the library should this occur.  It may be due to:
      • WISE has incorrectly listed the item as owned/accessible by Westminster College.
      • The link is "hidden" but the item is owned/accessible by Westminster College.
  • "I clicked on a link to an article, but was taken to a strange page that says 'EBSCO' and the article isn't there."
    • The library subscribes to all the departmental journals through EBSCO, which offers an indexing service called "Electronic Journals Service".  Not all journals are indexed at the article-level by EBSCO, and so you may be diverted to the title-level page instead.
    • Solution:  on the EBSCO page, you should see "Your Access" followed by a green check mark and a date range.  Below this is "Available on Publisher's Site" with a linked date range.  Click on this to navigate to the desired article.  If this information is not present on the EBSCO page, or you cannot locate the article on the publisher's site, please contact the library.

From EBSCO Electronic Journals Service:

Subject Guide

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John Garrison
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