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Penn State University Libraries

User Guide: Navigating the EBSCO Database with a Screen Reader


  • Adaptive Technology and Services
  • 113 Pattee Library, west
    University Park, PA 16802
  • Phone: 814-865-0284

Navigating the EBSCO Database with a JAWS Screen Reader

The links above will allow you to jump to different content areas on this page.


Opening an EBSCO Database

The Penn State Libraries subscribe to multiple EBSCO products.

To get to the list of databases, press INSERT + F7 on the libraries homepage and select 'Databases by Title (A-Z)' using the ARROW keys. From this page, you can browse through the list of thousands of databases with their descriptions or you can enter a keyword and search for a specific database.

Below is a list of EBSCO databases that are compatible with this user guide:


EBSCO Databases Compatible with this User Guide


Access Keys

EBSCO databases have been designed to allow easier navigation using Access Keys.  Please note, these key stroke commands are different than the JAWS commands. Depending on your operating system, pressing CTRL or ALT + SHIFT plus the numbers 1, 2, or 3 will allow you to do the following:

CTRL or ALT + SHIFT + 1 allows you to Skip Navigation to Results List
CTRL or ALT + SHIFT + 2 places the cursor in the Search field
CTRL or ALT + SHIFT + 3 allows you to go to the Main Navigation Toolbar


Creating a Search Query

The Advanced Search page is the default homepage for EBSCO products. It contains 7 headings.

The Advanced Search page has 3 edit fields to enter search criteria, followed by combo boxes with limiters to narrow your search.

The order of the boxes is as follows:

Row 1: Edit field, combo box (contains limiters like author, publication name, abstract and more)

Row 2: Combo box with boolean operators (default is AND, you can choose NOT or OR), edit field, combo box with limiters

Row 3: Combo box with boolean operators, edit field, and combo box with limiters.

There is a button directly after the last combo box that allows you to add edit fields if needed. This is followed by the Search button.

If you prefer to search using the Basic Search page, use INSERT + F7 to get to the links list and select Basic Search using ARROW keys.

All EBSCO databases, in both Basic and Advanced Search modes, have the following limiters:

  • A check box for full text documents
  • A check box to apply related words to your search
  • A check box for Peer Reviewed/Scholarly articles only
  • Published Date - select date range using combo boxes
  • Publication type
  • All EBSCO databases have a variety of other limiters you can TAB through to further narrow your search query.

Reviewing Search Results

Once on the results page, the easiest way to navigate your search results is to press Access Key 1 (CTRL or ALT + SHIFT + 1). This will take you to the first of your results.

All article titles are links to the full record.

To further narrow your results, you can navigate to the 'Refine Results' menu. To do this, press keys INSERT + F6 for a list of headings, selecting the level three heading, 'Refine Results,' and use the TAB key to navigate through all of the limiters. 


Selecting Documents

To access the full record of a document, select the record title on the results page. If available, there will be a link to the full-text document or a Get It Button. If the article is available in full-text from the EBSCO database, the Get It Button will not appear. The Button allows you to access the article from another library database or through interlibrary loan. By selecting the Get It button, a new window will open providing a link to the full-text article or providing instructions for requesting the article via interlibrary loan. For more information about interlibrary loan, please visit the Libraries' Interlibrary Loan Department at

Tools Menu

To get to the Tools Menu, Press ALT + 5, then the TAB key to locate the action you would like to take.

  • Add to folder - collect documents to be reviewed, saved, printed, cited or emailed later.
  • Print
  • Email - Send article details to yourself or someone else via email, including citation information in the format of your choice.
  • Save - Links to articles can be saved - include all article details you would like and choose the citation format - APA, MLA and more.
  • Cite - Copy and paste the article citation to your document. Variety of citation formats to choose from.
  • Export - Send citations in RIS format directly to citation mangers, like EasyBib, Zotero, ProCite, EndNote, RefWorks and more. Export citations in XML, Bib TEX or MARC21 format and save or email.
  • Create Note - Make notes about the document and save. Create a free account with EBSCO and have your notes saved beyond a single search session.
  • Permalink - Get the permanent or persistent URL
  • Bookmark - Bookmark the article for yourself or to share with others. Choose from over a hundred different bookmarking applications, including Facebook, Digg, Twitter and Delicious.