Q. What is Roadrunner Search? How do I use it?


Q: What is Roadrunner Search?

A: The software behind Roadrunner Search is EBSCOhost Discovery Service (EDS), a unified search engine. A unified search engine provides significant advantages over a federated search engine, namely that Roadrunner Search will go to one central index of nearly all Library content and run one search through that index and return those results to the user. This enables extremely fast searching, and much more thorough coverage of the Library’s resources. Search results will be displayed from a variety of Library databases and users will be able to click through the result to the “home” database of the resource.


Q: When I do a search right from the box on the library home page, am I searching all of the Library databases?

A: You are searching approximately most of the Library. There are some publishers who have chosen to not include their content, and there are some databases which have unique content that is not suitable to this display. There are several ways to still access these resources: look to the right of your search results for the extra databases that you can add to your search. These include resources such as dissertations, videos, newspapers, and more. You can also search databases directly by going to the Library Databases page. For instance, many of the finance and statistical databases need to be searched individually to retrieve information (these include ReferenceUSA, Mergent Online, etc.). 

Click here to see a detailed listing of content that is and is not included in Roadrunner Search (Excel spreadsheet).

Q: I retrieved articles using a Roadrunner Search. How do I know which Library database the articles came from?


The database from which Roadrunner pulled your article is displayed on the search results page underneath the article citation, as shown below.

You may also see the database information displayed on the Detailed Record page (which you get by clicking on article title in the results list), as shown below.


Note, however, that not all Roadrunner Search records will include the database name. If you do not see this information listed, search for the journal title using the Find a Resource tool. The results screen will tell you which databases carry the title and in which years.

In the below example, we see that Criminal Justice and Behavior is available from multiple databases. Select an appropriate database based on your article's year. Note that there may be multiple databases which carry your journal in the appropriate year.


If you are still unable to determine which database provided your article, please contact the Library for further assistance.

Q: What do the options on the left and right of the search results do?

A: The left side of the search results screen shows the search limits; these are ways that you can broaden or narrow your search results by applying very specific criteria.

The right side of the search results shows databases that are not in your default search. You can add these resources to your search by checking the box next to the resource, then clicking update. If you want to ONLY view those results, then check the box next to the resource you are interested in and uncheck the box next to Roadrunner Search Discovery Service.

Q: I checked the Full Text box, but I am still seeing Article Linker showing up in my search results. Why?

A: The new Roadrunner Search has a "smart" Article Linker. When you check the full text box, Roadrunner Search will detect if the Article Linker will take you to the full text of the article. This means that when you click the Article Linker button you will be taken to the full text even if it is elsewhere in the Library.

Q: How do I get a link that will save a set of search results or an individual article?

A: The link (URL) in the address bar at the top of the screen WILL NOT WORK. This link contains a session ID that will time out after one hour. After that session has timed out the link will only take you to a log in screen that you cannot bypass. Please follow the above directions if you want to save a link to a set of search results or a specific article.

Search Results:

On your search results page, click on the Share button above your first search result. When you click this a drop down box will appear with a Permalink to your search at the bottom. Copy this link and paste it wherever you are saving your research. This link will always take you back to this exact search and set of search results.

Individual Article:

To save a link to a specific article, click the article title. On the right side of the screen click the Permalink option. A permalink will appear right above the article title. Copy this link and paste it wherever you are saving your research. This link will always take you back to this exact search and set of search results.


Q: Why would I ever want to search a database individually?

A: Some databases contain information that can't be displayed in the Roadrunner Search interface. This includes databases with special content such as Mergent Online, ReferenceUSA, and Euromonitor International. Other databases also contain special limits and tools that allow you to manipulate the search results in a variety of ways. These special limits may not be available through Roadrunner Search. An example would be searching for a dissertation with a particular degree type - you can do this directly through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, but cannot do this through Roadrunner Search.

Q: I’ve done a search and clicked through to a database, but I am being asked for a username and password. What’s the log in information?

A: If you are being asked for a separate username and password in any of the databases then that means we do not have access to the full text of the document you found. You are welcome to submit an Interlibrary Loan request for the document and we will try to locate the full text for you from another library. If you would like to see only full text results in your search then you can set that limit by clicking the check box next to Full Text on the Roadrunner Search page.

Q: I've added items to a folder in Roadrunner. Why do they disappear from the folder when I leave Roadrunner and then return?

A: When adding items to a folder in Roadrunner it is important to remember to either email, download, or export those items to your RefWorks account before exiting Roadrunner Search. Roadrunner is session based, meaning items will only remain in the folder while you are currently in Roadrunner Search. If you exit Roadrunner the items that were previously added to a folder will be cleared upon re-entry into Roadrunner. You do have the option to create a personal account that will allow you to permanently save items in the folder. You will need to log into this account before you add any items to a folder to ensure that they will be saved. Please note that the Library is not able to access, modify, or retrieve usernames or passwords for Roadrunner personal accounts. If you require assistance retrieving or modifying your username or password you can do so on the log in screen to your personal account. See the Personal Database Accounts page for instructions on creating your account. 

  • Last Updated Nov 02, 2018
  • Views 940
  • Answered By NCU Library

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 7   1