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VDOT OneSearch: Quick Start Guide: Viewing Results

The purpose of this guide is to help VDOT employees find and use VDOT OneSearch to perform simple searches. OneSearch is a federated search tool that helps VDOT employees quickly search dozens of databases at once in real time, merging relevant results to

Viewing Results

After you click "Search" you're off to the races. In a matter of seconds you'll find you have searched up to 25 databases — a feat that would have taken hours to do manually. Results from each database are returned and ranked according to how relevant they are to your query (the higher the number of stars, the more relevant a document is to your query). 

As results are retrieved, you may see a pop up screen offering Additional Results as database searches are completed (this takes only seconds). Selecting "Add Results" allows you to read through the results that are returned the fastest while the search continues across all databases in the background. 

Screen capture showing the "Additional Results" feature.

In our sample we searched for "covered bridges" in a total of 6 databases spanning all three subject categories.  Next we'll look at how the results are compiled. 

Search Results Screen

Three main parts of the search results screen to pay attention to are:

1. Topic clusters/dates and other "limits" on the far left.
2. Results tabs, which organize results by document "format" at the top.

3. Item records, which appear in the center and include details like: title, publication date, description, and the name of the database a citation was retrieved from.

Screen capture showing OneSearch results.


1. Topics: Includes Topics (or subject areas) in addition to date ranges, sources, publication types and more.
Tip: At this point, adjustments can be made here to further refine or "narrow" the search results displayed in the center of the screen. 

2. Tabs: Tabs sort all relevant results by document format.
Example: Want to limit results to Articles & Reports? Click on that tab and it will re-focus to show all 191 Articles & Reports your initial search found, displayed in the center of the screen.  

3. Items: Individual item records are displayed in the center of the screen. They are ranked for approximate relevancy (the more stars the more relevant the document is to your query), with format information, date of publication, and database retrieved from. Each item is hypertext linked, as described next.

Understanding Result Details

Each item listed is a "result" that could have come from any of the databases we asked OneSearch to search. Individual items are separated and displayed within your OneSearch results screen, as shown in the example below: 

Example of one result from OneSearch.

OneSearch can only retrieve data provided by the original source, so if the original database did not have a publication date or an abstract, we can't reasonably expect that missing data to be reflected in OneSearch. Using the example shown above (which is fairly representative), here are a few things we can tell about this item:

  • It is one of 191 items found in the search that falls into the format category "Articles & Reports".
  • Its title is: Prioritization Framework for Asset Management of New Brunswick's Covered Bridges.
  • It was published in 2020, in the periodical Journal of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 34, Issue 4.
  • Full text is available in PDF format.
  • The article has a 5-star relevancy rating, based on our search criteria.
  • The article was retrieved from the ASCE Library database.

NOTE: At this point we are still reviewing results retrieved into OneSearch. The next step will take us from OneSearch to the article inside the database it came from. 

Linking To An Item

Clicking on an item's title opens a new browser window, where you will be taken directly to the item inside the database that it was found in. In this case, we're transported to the ASCE Library database (which includes more than 155,000 articles and papers), and are are taken directly to the item we're interested in. 

Now that we're in ASCE Library you'll notice the item is more fully described (author, abstract, etc.) and you'll find a link to the full text, as shown below: 

Example of a OneSearch result as it appears in ASCE Library.

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