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Database Tutorials

Academic Video Online (AVON)


Basic Searching

The Basic Searching screen is the first thing you'll see when you enter into Academic Video Online (AVON). Basic searching is good for when you have a broad topic you want to search more about, but not necessarily a specific direction you'd like to go.

Your screen will look like this:

AVON Basic Search screenshot

In the boxes that say "Search" (in the top right of your screen) or "Search all videos" (right in the middle of your screen): 

  1. type in one or two terms (i.e: "blueberries" or "Soviet Union"),
  2. then hit Enter on your keyboard to conduct a search.




Advanced Searching

Advanced Searching is helpful because you are given more ability to pinpoint exactly the kinds of videos you would like to see in your results. This is especially helpful when you want to narrow down what kind of video you're looking for (documentary, performance, interview, etc.), or if you know exactly what you want the video to be about.

To get to the Advanced Search from the Basic Search page, below the box in the middle of the screen that says "Search all video", there's a link to Advanced Search.

From any screen, you can also get to the Advanced Search by clicking the Menu button in the top left corner. A menu bar will appear just below it - Advanced Search is all the way to the right.

When you get there, your screen will look like this:

AVON Advanced Searching screenshot


It's best in AVON to keep your terms broad. If you click on the "Select Terms" next to some of the fields (like Subject, Person Discussed, etc.), you can select the options you want from each of the lists to cater your results to what you need while using the language the database has.

BE CAREFUL THOUGH! Because AVON doesn't have the same millions of entries that our article databases have, adding too many terms to your search will very quickly dwindle your results! It's best to keep the number of terms relatively small. At the top of the page, there is a line that says "Your search criteria match ______ items". Keep an eye on that number as you add in terms, it will change every time you change your search - even before you actually click the red search button!

When you're ready, click that red search button! (Be patient - it'll take a minute to load, and it might look like the page isn't actually doing anything)




Searching for Movies/Documentaries/Cartoons

While you won't find Disney or Warner Bros. movies in AVON, it does have a collection of films as well as live performances. Of course, the heart of any academic video collection is going to be in documentaries and interviews, and this is definitely the case in AVON. 

To search for a particular type of video, go to the Advanced Search and scroll down to "Content Type". You'll probably have to click the "Show Content Type" button to reveal all the kinds of videos they have. From there you can check the boxes next to the types of content you want to see in your results. Below, I've checked off content types that will likely yield you movies and fictional films:

AVON Movie Content Type Searching screenshot

  • If you're looking for movies, especially make sure you check off "performance" (I know it doesn't look like it's helpful, but just trust me on this)

You can also filter your results (after you've done a search) by Content Type, and only choose to include videos that are performances or dramatized scenes.

If you're having trouble finding the kind of video you're looking for, feel free to talk to a librarian - we'll help you find what you need.



Searching Tips

  • Start broad: AVON doesn't have the same number of items as our article databases - the number and specificity of search terms you use there may not yield you any results here.
  • Keep your search terms simple
  • Word order, case and punctuation are not important, especially in basic search
    • Case and punctuation do not matter in an Advanced Search, either, but subject and person searches containing multiple words will return better results if entered in the order you would expect to see them. For example, a subject search on civil rights will return better results than rights civil.
  • Boolean searches using OR and NOT will not return appropriate results, so don't force these words into your search
  • Similar to above, there also isn't a truncating function (usually an asterisk in other databases) - so just type in the word you think will work best
  • These tips are from AVON's help page, click below for these and others if you can't find what you're looking for:

Reading Results

Once you've clicked the search button, your page will look like this:

AVON Results screenshot


The results page looks relatively similar to the results pages on our other databases:

  • The title is in large font and in bold at the top of each entry
  • Directly below the title is citation information about each video
  • If there is an abstract (as in the second video here), that will also be displayed
  • You can refine your results using the options on the left of the screen.

However, AVON also has the ability to search within your results with another keyword 

  1. there is a box below "Searching:" that says "Search within these results"
  2. type an additional keyword in this box
  3. AVON will search only through the results displayed for videos with your additional search term

You can also hover your mouse cursor over "See Details" below the thumbnail of the video to see a more complete set of information about that video


Refining Your Search

On the left of the results screen, there are all kind of ways to refine your search. You cam limit by Author, Content Type, Person Discussed, Language, Publisher, Subject, Genre, Place Recorded, etc. Click on the specific option you'd like if you see it, or click on the "More+" button below each category to get a box on your screen that looks like this:

AVON Refine Results pop out screenshot


From here, you can click the boxes next to each option to either include or exclude that particular kind of result. In the example above, if you check include next to interview, and then click exclude next to counseling session, you'll get a list of results that have interviews, and do not have counseling sessions. 

Also helpful in this menu is the number in parentheses to the left of each option - this displays how many results fit that particular descriptor. In this case, there are 75 results that are interviews. Note: some of these will overlap, and some videos will have multiple descriptors in each category.

Watching the Video and Reading the Details

To watch a video, simply click on the title in the results page. The video will automatically begin playing when you are directed to a page that looks like this:

AVON Video screenshot


Directly below the video are button to go to the previous video, play/pause, go to the next video, and control volume.

You can also choose clips with the scissors icon (see a librarian or AVON's help to learn more about clips), bookmark the video at a certain place, see a visual table of contents, change the layout of the page (if you'd like to see all the information below the video rather than on the side), turn on/off closed captioning, look at quality settings, or make the video full-screen.

NOTE: hovering your mouse over each icon will display what they do 


If you scroll a little further, there is information about the video to be used in a citation.

There are also icons below that to cite, save, share, or embed the video.


To the left of the video there are two tabs: Details, and Transcript (note: not every video will have a transcript, but most of them will)

  • Details gives you more information concerning:
    • what the video is about (Abstract, Field of Interest, Subject, etc.) 
    • how long it is (Duration, in seconds)
    • Content Type
    • Citation information (minus the title) is replicated here, as well
  • Transcript gives you the audio of the video in text form
    • This is helpful if you want to skim through the video's content
    • Or if you would prefer to read the information at your own pace
    • You can also click on phrases and jump to the part of the video where those words are said
    • As the video plays, the transcript will highlight which words are being said

Citing a Video

To cite a video in AVON, simply scroll down past the video until you see a series of links that look like this:

AVON Cite screenshot


Click on the "Cite" button (boxed in red above). You'll be brought to a page that looks like this:

AVON List for citing screenshot


On the left side menu, you can choose how you'd like to cite your video: click on "Format List for Citation", and you will see the kinds of styles that AVON can create.

Click on the style you would like to use

The page will automatically refresh so you see the citation instead of the thumbnail:

AVON Citation screenshot

NOTE: Double check the citation to make sure the information and formatting is correct!!! Our databases pull information automatically from places it thinks the information should be and may not be able to format it correctly. Always always check the citation given to you by the database against the regulations given in the respective handbook for your citation style.

Once you've checked that it's correct, you can copy and paste this citation directly into your document.

OR you can save the citation as PDF, email the citation to yourself (or someone else), share it via social media, or print it out. Clicking any of those options on the left side will give you the same list of citation styles to choose from.


You CAN cite more than video at once - simply add videos to this list (using the little + button on the results page next to the video you'd like to add) and go to your list of videos (up in the top left corner of the page). Then save the citations however you wish.


If you have any questions about citing sources, you can check out our Research Guide on the topic.

More Help from Alexander Street Press: