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Electrical Engineering

Your Starting Point for Research and Study

Look for articles published by PolyU scholars? Try PIRA


The PolyU Institutional Research Archive (PIRA) is an online platform that actively collects and disseminates the research and scholarly outputs created by the PolyU community. 

Find Articles

Google Scholar vs OneSearch vs Databases

Generally, there are three ways to find articles:

  • Google Scholar is a quick search tool when you have an article title in hand, but not very convenient when searching by keywords - too many irrelevant and non-scholarly results.
  • OneSearch is a one-stop search of local and remote resources Library has, most of them being scholarly materials. You may still find too many results when your keywords are not specific enough.
  • Directly search in a Database if you have a concrete subject to research, try search articles in a database. A database is usually a collection of journals, and each journal is a collection of articles. Some databases focus on a specific subject area, e.g. IEEE Xplore covers articles on electrical and computer engineering, and Medline mainly covers biomedical literature. 

Follow the steps below to find an article in OneSearch:

  1. Visit Library homepage, click on "OneSearch", or directly visit OneSearch.
  2. Type in your keywords or title of the article and hit the search button. When you start typing, OneSearch will automatically suggest popular searches for you.
  3. Limit results to "Articles" under Resource Type on the right panel of the page. You may further refine results to "Peer-reviewed Journals", or within a publication year range. 
  4. Click on the article title to see more information about the article. 
  5. Under "View It Online", you will find options for full text download.
    Remember to sign in with your NetID and NetPassword to get access to the full text.

Click to see steps in screenshots

To search articles in Google Scholar, we suggest that you access Google Scholar via the Library homepage, especially when you are out of campus. By doing this you will be able to directly access the full text of the articles (we subscribed to) through PolyU eLinks.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Visit Library homepage, switch to "Articles" and then click on Google Scholar@PolyU. Sign in with your NetID and NetPassword if you are out of campus.
  2. Conduct a search in Google Scholar. The article within our collection will be provided with the "PolyU eLinks" option. Click to get the full text PDF for free.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Google Scholar setting - link with PolyU Library

You may also change the setting in your Google Scholar to link it up with Library subscribed databases. This is identical to clicking on Google Scholar@PolyU via Library homepage.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Search in a database

Searching within a database helps you narrow your search as the coverage of the database can be very selective. Some databases focus on one specific area, which can help you filter out the contents that are not relevant to the subject; some may cover peer-reviewed journals only, to ensure the articles covered are of certain quality. Almost all databases will provide an Advanced Search option, which allows you to search in a more precise way, e.g. search within article title, journal title, or subject terms (that are tagged to each article). This helps you find the most relevant results quickly and effectively.

Note that login with NetID is required to access the following databases off campus.

Search in a citation database

Web of Science and Scopus are two large multidisciplinary citation databases. They do not provide full-text articles, but they are very helpful for exploring related articles by looking at citing articles (who cited the article) and references (who have been cited by the article). If you do not have an idea which databases or journals should go for, start with these two.

Full text not available? Try ILL.

Request a copy by filling up a form via our InterLibrary Loan (ILL) service. Alternatively, you may follow the steps below to place a request while you are searching.

  1. When you see no results found after a search, first try to check v Expand Results beyond PolyU Library. This may help you get a record of the article you are looking for.
  2. Click on the article record, and sign in with your NetID and NetPassword. Then click on "InterLibrary Loan".
  3. Click on Logon to ILLiad.
  4. The details of this article have been pre-filled automatically. Click Submit Request to place the request. Normally you will receive an email notification to download the copy within a couple of days.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Search Tips

Boolean Operators (AND, OR and NOT)

  • AND combines search terms so that each result contains all of the terms. AND narrows your search.
    e.g.: youth AND drug finds articles that contain both youth and drug.

  • OR combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms. OR is often used to connect synonyms or similar concepts. OR broadens your search.
    e.g.: youth OR teenager finds articles that contain either youth or teenager or both.

  • NOT excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows it. NOT narrows your search.
    e.g.: drug NOT alcohol finds articles that contain drug but exclude alcohol.

Search Order of Boolean Operators

  • NOT AND > OR (in most databases, including OneSearch)
  • Use parentheses () if you need to override the order. 


  • youth OR teenager AND drug finds articles that contain either youth (only), or teenager and drug (both words are present);
  • (youth OR teenager) AND drug finds articles that contain either youth and drug (both words are present) or teenager and drug (both words are present).

Truncations & Wildcards

Truncations (*) and wildcards (?, #) are used to include different spellings therefore broadens your search.


  • comput* searches computer, computers, computing
  • colo?r searches color, colour

Truncation and wildcard symbols may vary by database. Check the Help page in the database to learn the symbols and operators that database supports. (or, google database name + "operator" to locate the search help page directly)

Phrase search with quotation marks ""

Phrase search is used to search the specific expression or concepts. Usually quotation marks "" are used to search the exact phrase. Phrase search narrows your search.


  • "knowledge sharing" searches only the phrase "knowledge sharing" and will NOT search knowledge creation and sharing (additional words in between) or knowledge shared

In some databases, quotation marks cannot be used with truncation or wildcards. e.g.: "knowledge shar*". Do check the Help page in the database to learn the symbols and operators that database supports.

Keyword searching Subject Heading searching

Keywords are natural language words or phrases that describe the search topic.

Keyword searching looks for the keywords in any field of the record (if not specified).

Subject headings are a group of "controlled vocabularies" that describe the content of each item. These controlled vocabularies are usually given by subject specialists or indexers.

Subject heading searching looks for the subject heading terms in the subject heading field (e.g. Subject, Subject Terms) of the record.

Commonly used subject headings include  MeSH and Emtree, both are used to search biomedical literature.


  • Subject heading searching helps you find articles by "meaning".
    e.g. search "knowledge management" by Subject returns results that may not contain the phrase "knowledge management" but discuss organizational learning (which is a related subject to knowledge management).
  • Some databases can recommend subject headings when you do a keyword searching. After that you may select appropriate subject headings to search again.
    e.g. EBSCOhost uses "Suggest Subject Terms".

Access Articles

Follow the steps below to install the bookmarklet to your browser.

  1. Enable the bookmark toolbar in your browser.
  2. Drag the following button to the bookmark toolbar area.

  1. Right-click on the bookmark button to rename it as "Connect via PolyU Library".
  2. Access article from publisher website, e.g., then click the "Connect via PolyU Library" button you have just installed. This will prompt you to login your NetID & NetPassword and access this page as a PolyU user. You shall be able to download PDF now.

Watch a short video to learn how to install bookmarklet in Chrome:

EndNote Click (formerly Kopernio) is a free browser plug-in which helps you to get full-text PDF faster by securely connecting you to the Library’s journal subscriptions and open access content. Follow the steps below to install the plug-in in your browser.

  1. Go to EndNote Click's page
  2. Click to add the plug-in in your browser
  3. You will be prompted to create a personal account if you haven't done so. Then link your account with the University.
  4. Upon your next visit to a publisher site, you will see "View PDF" button popped up. Click on the button will get you the PDF through Library's subscription.

LibKey is a free browser plug-in which provides instant links to full-text content for articles subscribed to by the Library - or open access alternatives - as you do research on the web and come across literature. The service covers thousands of scholarly publisher websites, Wikipedia and major databases such as PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science. 

  1. Go to LibKey's download page
  2. Choose your browser and add it to your browser
  3. Select "Hong Kong Polytechnic University" from the list. 
  4. Upon your next visit to a publisher site or database, you will see "Download PDF" or "Article Link" button along with article entries. Click on the button will direct you to the options to download PDF through Library's subscription.

Unpaywall is a free browser plug-in which helps you to skip the paywall on millions of journal articles and get permissible full-text PDF. Follow the steps below to install the plug-in in your browser.

  1. Go to unpaywall browser extension page
  2. Click to install the plug-in in your browser
  3. When you visit a publisher site again, unpaywall will try to get you a permission version of PDF, including post-prints in repositories.