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Research Projects with General OneFile

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Need resources for a school project? Looking for articles from newspapers or journals? If answered “yes” to either of these questions, then General OneFile is the right database for you! General OneFile contains almost 200,000,000 articles from a variety of newspapers, magazines, and journals. The articles in General OneFile cover a wide range of general interest topics and academic disciplines. In addition to articles, General OneFile also provides different forms of media, including: images, audio, and video. This resource is ideal for adult and teen students.


Accessing General OneFile

To access General OneFile, go to the research page on our website. The list of databases will be in alphabetical order, so scroll down to the ones that start with "G" and then click on "Gale General OneFile." At this point, if you are doing this from home you will be asked to provide your library card number. Then you will be taken to the General OneFile homepage.

Research page on Fox River Valley Public Library District website


How to use General OneFile

Now that we’re on the General OneFile homepage, there are a few different ways that we can look for information.

General OneFile home page


Basic Search

Using the search bar in the middle of the home screen, you can type in keywords to look for information. After you type in keywords, click on the gray arrow on the far right side of the search bar and you'll get a list of results. On the right side of the results screen, you'll see options you can click on to help narrow down the search results so you can hone in on exactly what you are looking for.

Screenshot of search results in General OneFile


Subject Guide Search

Clicking this button right underneath the search bar on the home screen will bring you to a new page with a different search bar. Every article in General OneFile is tagged with subject terms, and this search bar can be used to search through the compiled glossary of all the subject terms. Clicking on a subject term will bring up a list of all articles that are tagged with that term.

Subject guide search in General OneFile


Publication Search

One of the four gray tabs at the top of the “Subject Guide Search” page says “Publication Search.” Clicking on this will take you to the Publication Search page that has yet another search bar. This search bar is specifically for searching for the title of a magazine, newspaper, journal, etc. NOTE: There is also a “Publication Search” button on the home page right next to the “Subject Guide Search” button under the main search bar.  You also have the option to click on "List All Publications" to see a complete list of all publications in alphabetical order by title. Searching for a title will give you a results list of any title that has the word you searched for in it. When you click on a publication title in the results list, you'll be taken to a page with information about that title, including the years and volumes available, the type of publication it is, a description of that publication, and more. There is a drop down menu on the left side where you can choose a year, and all issues for that year that are available will be listed. You can then click on a specific issue and see all of the articles from that issue.

Publication search in General OneFile


Advanced Search

Another one of the four gray tabs on top of the “Subject Guide Search” page and the “Publication Search” page says “Advanced Search.” Clicking on this will take you to the Advanced Search page that gives you even more searching options. With the advanced search, you can search for a combination of things in one search (i.e. a title and an author’s name) to try and get more specific results. You can also include other options in your search, such as: only show full text articles, only include certain publication dates, only show certain types of documents, and more. NOTE: You can also get to the advanced search page from the home screen by clicking on the gray magnifying glass above the main search bar on the home screen.

Advanced search in General OneFile


Topic Finder

This is the fourth gray tab at the top of any of the previous three search pages, as well as under the “Subject Guide Search” button on the home screen. Topic Finder is a unique tool that can be used to find connections between topics. Type in a topic or keyword(s) and General OneFile will show you other topics and keywords that are often found or associated with the topic/keyword(s) you typed in. A visual representation is used, either in the form of a wheel or tiles. This can help you hone in on a specific topic or piece of information. Clicking on a keyword within the wheel or tiles will show you all the results that fit both the keyword(s) you typed and the keyword you clicked on.

Topic Finder in General OneFile


Other useful tools

When you are viewing an article that you found, some other tools come up on the right side of the screen that can be extremely helpful.

An article in General OneFile

Here is a breakdown of the tools highlighted on the right side in the image above:

  • Citation Tools: generates a citation for the article you are viewing. There are 3 formats available for the citations: MLA, APA, and Chicago. You can copy and paste it, download it, or export it to a variety of platforms, such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Email: email the article that you are viewing either as text in the body of the message or as a PDF file that you can download.
  • Download: directly download a copy of the article you are viewing.
  • Print: print a copy of the article you are viewing.
  • Highlights and Notes: when you're looking at text, you can select text by dragging your mouse across. This give you the option to highlight the selected text with a virtual highlighter and you can also add your own notes that will be attached to whatever you highlighted. This is where you can see all your highlights and notes.
  • Save: save the article/chapter/section you are viewing to a folder on the General OneFile website. Everything you save will stay in the folder until you close out of your session (see image below).
  • Download MP3: General OneFile has a text-to-speech feature and this option lets you download an mp3 file of the speech.

Top toolbar in General OneFile

You can also translate the article you're looking at to a variety of different languages.


General OneFile is an extremely useful database that is available for free for FRVPLD card holders. It can be accessed in the library and at home as well. Have questions, want more information, or want help using General OneFile? Please stop by the Information Desk, call 847-428-3661, option 3, or send an email at (link sends e-mail) and we’d be happy to help you!