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Penn State University Libraries

User Guide: Navigating the IEEE Xplore Database with a Screen Reader


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

Navigating the IEEE Xplore Database with a JAWS Screen Reader

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


Opening the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Xplore Database

The IEEE Xplore Database provides access to a vast collection of technical literature in engineering and technology.

You can access the IEEE Database from here or from the Libraries' homepage by performing the following steps:

  • Press the keys INSERT + F7 to hear the list of links available on the page.
  • Use the DOWN ARROW to hear the selections and press the ENTER key upon hearing 'Databases.' This will take you to a new page, titled 'Databases by Title (A-Z).'
  • Next, press keys INSERT + F6 to hear the list of headings on the page. Use the DOWN ARROW to hear the available headings and press ENTER upon hearing 'Search for a Database.'
  • Press the TAB key once to move the cursor to the edit field. Type in I E E E and press ENTER.
  • Again, you will be taken to a new page that lists the results of your search. The only result available will be for the IEEE Xplore database.
  • Select INSERT + F7 to get a list of the links on the page, use the DOWN ARROW key to listen to the available links and press ENTER when you hear IEEE Xplore - you will have to go through many links before getting to IEEE Xplore. A new window will open, opening with a redirect page. After several seconds, you will be taken to the homepage of the IEEE Database and you can begin your search using the Basic Search edit field on the page.

Creating a Search Query

Upon the opening of the database homeage, you can get to the Basic Search edit by pressing ENTER when you hear Skip to Content or pressing keys INSERT + F7 to get a list of the links, when you scroll through them and hear Skip to Content, select it, then press the TAB button once and enter your Basic Search terms.

If you would like to navigate to the Advanced Search page, press the TAB key two more times, until you hear Advanced Search and press ENTER. As mentioned previously, the Basic Search option is provided on the home page and the search form is unlabelled. Simply, enter your search terms and press the ENTER key. This option searches metatdata only, not the full-text. This means the search will only retrieve documents based upon tags or descriptors assigned, not based on words within the document. For a deeper search, to search within documents, use the Advanced Search option.

On the Advanced Search page, there are three edit fields for you to enter your keywords, separated by combo boxes containing the words AND or OR, enabling you refine your query.

The layout is as follows:

Row 1: Edit field for search term, the word 'in', combo box for search field

Row 2: Combo box to select AND, OR, or NOT, edit field for search term, the word 'in', combo box for search field, a button that will move this row to the top of the query, followed by a button to remove this row

Row 3: Combo box to select AND, OR, or NOT, edit field for search term, the word 'in', combo box for search field, button that will move this row to the top of the query, followed by a button to remove this row

Row 4: A button to add a new row, a button to reset all of the fields, followed by the Search button.


Search Tips From IEEE Xplore

  • Use * for one or more alphanumeric characters. For example, optic* matches optic, optics, or optical.
  • Use quotes to limit results to an exact phrase.
  • Set Search Alert (shows up on the Results page) - If you create an account, you can set up Saved Search Alerts so you will be sent direct links to abstract pages. You can do this by navigating to the My Settings link in the navigation bar and selecting Saved Searches.
  • For example, "computer programming" will only return records that contain the phrase "computer programming" in a single search field.
  • The Search results provide links to the journal title, AbstractPlus and PDF full text. References are listed in the order article title, author, journal title and volume details followed by AbstractPlus and PDF.

Reviewing Results

By default, twenty five results are listed per page and are sorted by relevance, not newest to oldest. To skip directly to the results, press keys ALT + S and then press ENTER.

Alternatively, you can access the titles of the articles by pressing keys INSERT + F6, as all of the document titles are level three headings.

To further refine results, a menu titled, 'Filter These Results', can be accessed by using the TAB key or SHIFT + TAB keys, depending on where the cursor is located within the page. The 'Filter These Results' menu options are located before the list of records and include options to limit results by full-text, content types, publication year ranges, authors and more.


Selecting Documents

You will not always be able to select the title of a document to open the full record. For documents that are listed as 'FREE', you will need to use the TAB key to navigate through the partial record to the PDF link, where you should press ENTER for the document. For documents that are included in the subscription of the database, their titles also serve as links. Upon selecting the link, you will be taken to the full record of the document which includes the abstract, a link to the PDF, index terms and a list of related content available within the database.

Additionally, from the full record page you are able to download the citation information into plain text, bib tex, Refworks, EndNote, ProCite or Refman. You can email the abstract or print the abstract and there is a link to lead you the Copyright Clearance Center to gain permission to reuse this article for whatever academic needs you may have - making a presentation, photocopying, and so on.

When opening a PDF, it opens within the same window. You can use the BACK command (ALT + BACK ARROW) to return to the full record page, the results page or your original search page.