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Spring 2013

ERIC Overview

The ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to educational-related literature. ERIC provides coverage of journal articles, conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, reports, audiovisual media, and monographs. Comprehensive history and background information about ERIC.

ERIC Documents (identified by the ED prefix) are "grey literature" documents such as policy statements, reports, etc, that are not published elsewhere.

•Please note that many ED documents are currently not available full text and have a PDF Release Pending note: ERIC is " unable to release that document electronically ... due to concerns about personally identifiable information... We are currently analyzing each document and will be returning documents to ERIC on an ongoing basis... In the meantime, the articles may [be available] through interlibrary loan and via microfiche." See ERIC FAQs

•Bobst Library has a full microfiche collection of ERIC documents on Lower Level 2:

  • These are the non-journal "ERIC documents" (EDs) in full text - things like gray literature, government reports, speeches, etc.
  • Starting in the mid 90s, these EDs were selectively issued in both print and electronic (no "level b" docs)
  • Starting in 2004, EDs were phased into ONLY electronic via the online ERIC system, so the microfiche collection effectively runs 1964-2004
  • Use the ED# (e.g. ED123456) cited in the ERIC database to access the proper document in the microfiche collection. EJs (Journals that ERIC indexes) are not covered in either the microfiche or online collections, though some are open access and available through the ERIC site. Finding a journal cited in ERIC follows the normal processes for finding a journal article from a citation.

Free ERIC on the Web

Free access to ERIC is available via the US Dept. of Education

•A limited number of full text sources are available via this portal

•This version provides the most comprehensive information about ERIC and extensive Help with ERIC searching

ERIC Searching

Access ERIC via the New School Libraries & Archives website - Databases tab (select By Title)

Use Advanced Search


•Start with a Keyword search (All fields)
•Examine the results and select relevant Subject words (Descriptors)
•Limit your search by Document Type, Education Level, Target Audience as appropriate

ERIC Thesaurus

"The Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors is a controlled vocabulary - a carefully selected list of education-related words and phrases assigned to ERIC records to organize them by subject ... Searching by Descriptors involves selecting relevant terms from this controlled vocabulary to locate information on your topic."


"To plan your search using ERIC Descriptors, follow these steps:

  1. Describe the topic in your own words.
  2. Divide the topic into major concepts.
  3. Use the Thesaurus to locate the appropriate Descriptors for each concept of the topic.
  4. Add the Descriptor(s) to your search.

•If you'd like to take a shortcut, simply do a keyword search, retrieve a record that looks relevant to your topic, and then examine the Descriptors. You can click on one of the Descriptors to start a new search."

Adapted from ERIC

More Information about the Thesaurus