A miniature, digital reference section of sorts, Salem Press Online is a collection of mostly full-text electronic versions of popular Salem Press print books. It is best thought of as a collection of subject-specialized digital encyclopedias, and thus makes for an excellent starting point of research for many topics.
It should be used towards the beginning of a research project, before you have begun hunting for articles from peer-reviewed journals. A lot of casual researchers like to start with Wikipedia—while they should know better than to use it as a source, they can use the provided citations to begin hunting down material related to their topic that they might be interested in. Salem Press Online is the scholarly equivalent, and we highly recommend that students writing something in the fields of history, science, and health (particularly psychology) check this database out first.
Compared to many of our other research databases, Salem Press Online is incredibly easy to use. Its search features are not much more complicated than that of search engines like Google. One can simply use the large search bar in the middle of the screen without modifying one’s search with filters or advanced search options and generally get to what they want very quickly. It must be kept in mind that searching in this database for advanced or complicated topics like ‘Muslims in the American workplace’ will not present any useful results—this is a database for obtaining a broad understanding of a subject. Do not be too specific when searching in this database; keep to general terms, like ‘civil disobedience,’ ‘populism,’ and ‘privacy rights.’ If needed, one can also use the ‘Filter By’ drop-down menu to the left of the search box to filter results by subject category, as well as limit what is searched and how the text one has entered is parsed, even letting one conduct searches for results that do not contain any of the words entered. An Advanced Search feature is available for power users, and is primarily useful for those who already know their way around the digital collection pretty well.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 21 No. 3, Summer 2018.