Discovery - frequently asked questions

What is Discovery?

The Discovery Service is a new search engine to help you find articles, books and other academic resources.

What's Included in Discovery?

The Discovery Service searches many library resources in one go. Finding items from the Library Catalogue and over 100 databases, it presents you with one result list of journal articles, conference papers, books, ebooks and more.

Databases are still available to search individually, whether or not they are in Discovery – find the links via a database search of the Library Catalogue or the subject pages of the Library website.

What are "Additional Resources"?

Additional Resources provide links to run the same search in a selection of databases that sit outside of the Discovery Service. Results from these databases are not displayed in the central results panel. Just click the radio button next to the database you want, and clicking ‘search’ will launch the search in a new browser tab. There are a number of other Library databases not included in Discovery. All our databases can be accessed via the Library web pages.  Further information on the databases in Additional Resources:

Additional Resources on Discovery subject pages

The Discovery subject gateways which search a smaller subset of databases than the main Discovery search, also include links to Additional Resources related to that subject on the right hand side of the results screen.

These Additional Resources provide results from databases that sit outside of the Discovery Service. These are not automatically displayed in the central results panel. You can either:

 A yellow triangle is a failed search – if this is shown, try accessing the database via another route. 

 All Library databases can be accessed directly via the Library web pages.

What does "Full Text Online" mean?

This restricts results to those which you can fully access online. This might be through a University Library subscription or free material, and could be an article from a journal, a reference book entry or an ebook. The link under each item will lead you through to the full text.

What does "Available in Library Collection" mean?

This restricts results to those you can access online (the “Full Text Online” option above) plus those which are physically available in the library.

How can I cut down the number of results?

There are a number of refining options on the left hand side of the results screen. For example, you can limit by the type of material, by subject or language.

Where can I get more help?

Just ask at one of the library enquiry desks, contact us by email or through our chat service:

Accessing Discovery from another university or institution

If you want to access Portsmouth's Discovery Service from another university, college, NHS or workplace, you may need to use this URL to get straight to the Portsmouth login:

Similarly, to search one of the Discovery subject gateways, you may need to use an alternative URL:

How do I find law resources?

Law is one topic that is better served by databases other than Discovery, the best being Lexis and Westlaw. Check the Law & Criminology subject pages for more information.

Where else can I search?

Though Discovery includes a great range of resources, there are a number of specialist databases whose content is not in Discovery.

Check our subject pages for recommendations on where to search for resources in your subject area.