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PsycNET III: All-In-One Search Tool

PsycNET III delivers content from APA’s five databases, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, PsycEXTRA, and PsycCRITIQUES in one search result.

By Janet F. Soller, PhD

Ever get tired of running the same searches in multiple databases? With the recent launch of APA PsycNET III, you may never have that headache again. In July, 2007 APA’s Office of Publications and Databases (OPD) and Information Technology Services (ITS) released this new delivery platform. PsycNET III delivers content from APA’s five databases, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, PsycEXTRA, and PsycCRITIQUES in one search result.

Designed for the researcher, PsycNET III has specific features to provide and save finely-tuned search results. For instance, at the top of the PsycNET search page are tabs for a variety of search purposes. Besides an “Easy” Google-like search and “Advanced” search tabs, you find a citation finder searchable by either journal or author, a cited reference tool which demonstrates how many times and where works are cited, a place to save and manipulate your searches, and maintains a “list” of your saved records-- just like a “shopping cart” on commercial websites.

The origin for PsycNET platform grew out of APA’s desire to bring full-text psychological science to APA members. APA staff spent two years conducting usability studies, watching users search, talking to librarians and designing cross-function specifications.

“The redesigned APA PsycNET is more than just a few new ideas or new technologies,” says Eva Winer, an APA product manager, “The new features on PsycNET go well beyond the traditional Boolean search. We hope that this enhanced functionality, coupled with a clean, fresh look and feel, will add an element of discovery to PsycNET search and will allow users to explore the full depth of APA content in new and more meaningful ways.”

That’s certainly proven to be the case for APA member and PsycNET beta tester, Joel Levin, PhD, who used the platform to conduct literature searches for his research at the University of Arizona and in his role as APA’s Chief-Editorial-Advisor.

“I have spent a fair amount of time presenting PsycNET with a variety of bibliographic challenges and it has withstood the challenges,” says Levin. “It seamlessly provides access to all requested information with a few keystrokes and a click, including complete author, article, journal, and reference detail, along with citation-history tracking. In years past, integrating all of these components would have been a time-and labor-intensive undertaking for psychological researchers. As the cliché goes: Now that PsycNET is here, how did we ever live without it?”

Other users have reported that they particularly appreciate PsycNET’s ability to “fine-tune” searches. At the top of the PsycNET search page is a tab called “Term Finder”. Connected to the “Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms” (APA, 2007) a researcher can look up terms by what the term begins with, what the term contains and term hierarchy. Researchers can also sharpen their use of terms in the advanced search by using keywords and then pulling from the results articles by categories such as authors, populations, methodologies, date of publication and more.

APA members can access PsycNET III several ways. They can log on through their institution library, or through membership electronic packages. Members who purchase the Gold or Platinum electronic packages offer members full and immediate access the PsycNET platform, its searching and bibliographic tools as well the full-text content. Visit http://my.apa.org/access.html for more information about APA members’ pricing options.

“So many people across APA came together to make PsycNET III an extremely productive search platform,” says Gary R. VandenBos, PhD, the APA Publisher, “PsycNET III is a fantastic example of what APA members can achieve for its members when we all come together.”

For PsycNET III training or customer service, please, contact Susan Hillson. Please direct institutional purchase inquiries to Neil Lader.