Skokie Public Library's Guide to...
Wilson Select Plus via OCLC FirstSearch

Wilson Select Plus is an index of more than 1,600 full text journal articles covering a wide variety of topics of popular interest. Articles are available from 1994 to the present and the database is updated weekly.

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Skokie Public Library card

Why Use Wilson Select Plus?

Wilson Select Plus is all full text. This means that when you retrieve a list of results from a search, the full content of each item will be available by selecting the item.

Wilson Select Plus includes articles from a variety of popular interest magazines and scholarly journals, covering topics such as current affairs, economics, business, science, education, religion, psychology, history, and sociology.  Wilson Select Plus is useful for researching many topics.

Following are some examples of the types of questions that could be answered by searching Wilson Select Plus:

  • What is the rate of deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest?
  • I'd like some analysis of the antitrust suit brought against Bill Gates and Microsoft.
  • I'm looking for reviews of the movie "Saving Private Ryan."
  • Is there any information on Civil War reenactments?
  • What is the rate of incidence of heart disease in women?
  • Where can I find a review of my favorite television program?


Wilson Select Plus can be searched using Basic, Advanced, or Expert Search methods.

Basic Search

The Basic Search method is usually used to locate words or concepts in a single index, or "field," such as  keyword, author, or title.  Simply enter a word or two in the appropriate field and review your list of results.

Advanced Search

For more complex searches, you can use the Advanced Search method, which allows you to search multiple fields.  In an Advanced Search, for example, you can search for author and subject at the same time, you can also designate a year or range of years, or select scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. 

Skokie Public Library's configuration of Wilson Select Plus makes Advanced Search the default search; if you prefer Basic Search or Expert Search, please choose from the gray buttons in the blue bar in the center of the page.

Expert Search

The Expert Search method is designed for experienced searchers who prefer to enter specific search labels and search terms combined with special search characters and Boolean operators such as "and," "or," or "not."

Tips for Effective Searching

  • A plus sign (+) can be added to the end of a word to search for plural and singular forms of a word. For example, the search for garden+ would retrieve garden and gardens. 
  • An asterisk (*) can be added to the end of a word to search for multiple forms of a word (including plurals). For example, searching using the word garden* will retrieve articles containing words such as garden, gardening, gardener, gardenia, gardens, etc. 
  • The Wilson Select Plus database has a well-organized help section that can be accessed by selecting the Help icon Help icon at the top right of the screen.

Special Features

Relevance ranking and sorting records

The results of your search will be listed automatically in the order that the records were added to the Wilson Select Plus database unless you choose otherwise.  From the initial search screen, you can choose to "rank" your results by date of publication or by relevance, which is based on how closely the results of your search adhere to your topic.  Relevance ranking will often help you more quickly locate the most appropriate information on your search topic.

If you would like to sort your results by author, title, or date, you may do so after you have performed your search. The Sort feature will only work if you have retrieved between two and two hundred records. Select the Sort Sort icon button from the top of the screen and select the appropriate sorting criteria from the pull-down menus.

Index feature

You can use the Index feature Index feature icon to look up a word or phrase in the index to check its usefulness before searching.  This feature helps you to:

  • Verify that a word or phrase exists in an index
  • Check the spelling or spelling variations of a word
  • See how many articles in the Wilson Select Plus database contain your word
  • Check the wording of an exact phrase

The Index feature can only be used from the Advanced or Expert search screens.

Phrase search

If you are searching for a specific phrase or term and know exactly how it is used in the Wilson Select Plus, you can do a Phrase search.  Using the drop-down box to the right of the search box, look for Author Phrase, Corporate Author Phrase, Descriptor Phrase, and so on.  Phrase searches can only be performed from the Advanced or Expert Search screens.  Before performing a Phrase search, find the exact term using the Index feature; the Phrase search is not forgiving.

Limit Search feature

This feature allows you to narrow your search by year, author, language, subject, and article type (such as article or book review) and article subjects. To use the Limit Search feature, select the Limit button Narrow image before or after your search. You can also limit your search from the Advanced or Expert Search screens.

Expanding your search

Related Subjects Related subjects image and Related Authors Related authors image options gather subject headings and authors from the first fifty articles in your search.  This allows you to find other articles related to your current search by letting you select specific subjects or authors you are interested in.

Combining previous searches

If you have performed extensive searches on different topics and would like to either narrow those searches by adding additional terms, or combine searches, you may do this by selecting Previous Searches to the left of the results screen or the center of the search screen. This feature allows you to:

  • View a list of your previous searches to see what search words you used
  • View search results for a previous search
  • Combine two or more of your previous searches
  • Combine new search words with one or more of your previous searches

Libraries that own Item

Click on the link that says Libraries Worldwide to display a list of the libraries that own the magazine or journal that contains the article you have found.  Illinois libraries are listed first.  Wilson Select Plus displays the article citation below the list of libraries.

Skokie Public Library owns item

If Skokie Public Library owns the journal or magazine in which your article appears, an icon Library owns icon will appear at the end of the citation.  This is helpful when images or other graphics are not reproduced in the electronic form of the article.

Handling Your Results

Articles and citations from Wilson Select Plus may be printed or sent to your email account.  To print a single article, select the Print button Print image.  Use the Email button Email image to send the document or citation to an email address.  You may also print or email several articles at once using the Marked Records feature.  From the list of your results, select the articles that you wish to retrieve by clicking in the box on the left of the article.  You may then print or email the entire list.  

Other Resources

There are numerous other resources that will provide you with up-to-date information on current events, politics, lifestyle issues, consumer updates, science, business, and medicine.

  • eLibrary provides easy access to a vast array of general information resources, all in full text.
  • General Reference Center is an online index of popular periodicals, many of which are full text. With a straightforward search interface, this database is often the best place to start a periodical search.
  • Chicago Tribune via NewsBank contains the full text of articles from the Chicago Tribune newspaper.  Coverage begins in 1985 and continues to the present.
  • CQ Researcher covers current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of an issue, and more.
  • Factiva is an extensive database that includes the full text of articles from thousands of newspapers and business periodicals.
  • ArticleFirst is an index of tables of contents from more than 12,000 journals of science, technology, medicine, social science, business, the humanities, and popular culture.

In addition, librarians at Skokie Public Library have selected and compiled the most useful databases and websites for magazine, newspaper, and journal articles.  Please check the Articles from Magazines & Newspapers category of our Research section for more resources.