Advanced Database Searching

Efficient research information searching
and retrieval for post-graduate scientists
Nov 2008
...
Today’s Session
   Aims
    ◦ Get you familiar with accessing Leicester’s
      suite of information resources
    ◦ Prov...
Session Outline
 Accessing information resources on/off
  campus
 Searching comprehensively
 Strategies for building qu...
Your Experiences
1. What databases/information
   resources have you used before?
2. What’s your approach to searching?
3....
Resources at Leicester
 Allaccessed via Leicester Digital
  Library
 Nearly all available off campus too
 Each indexes ...
Which Databases to Use?
 Depends on your research area
 Some multidisciplinary ones
    ◦ SCOPUS, Web of Knowledge
   S...
How Many is Enough?
   Comprehensive searching requires using
    several
    ◦ Omissions and overlap between resources
...
Hands on time!
 Browse the booklet to Self test (1)
 Why not
    ◦ Look through the A-Z databases and find ones
      yo...
Sophisticated Searching
 Preparation of a search strategy is the key
 Searches can be built up
    ◦ Single search eleme...
Boolean Logic
pain or injury
                 broad search,
                 many results


pain and injury
             f...
A Simple Search (Mk 1)
 Find articles on earthquake detection
  sensors
     earthquake and detection and sensors
 While...
Truncation & Parenthesis
 Truncation substitutes for part of a
  word
 Good for finding plurals or alternative
  spellin...
A More Sophisticated Search (Mk 2)
   Articles on earthquake detection sensors
    1. earthquake or seismic
    2. detect...
Hands on Time Again!
 Browse the booklet to Self test (2 & 3)
 Why not
    ◦ Try running the search we’ve just tried on ...
Enhanced Searching Strategy
Expanding on what we’ve considered:
1. Define your topic clearly
2. Identify key concepts and ...
A Most Sophisticated Search (Mk 3)
   Articles on earthquake detection sensors
    1.   earthquake or seismic
    2.   de...
Refining Your Search
   Expect to revise your initial search
    ◦ Rarely work exactly right first time
   May need to e...
Other Tools
   Saved searches
    ◦ Can be used for search alerts on some resources
   Subject index searching
    ◦ Usi...
Bibliographic Software
   There to aid you in managing your search
    results
    ◦ Build a personal bibliography
    ◦ ...
It’s A Small World(z)
   If you haven’t already, join the Leicester
    Science graduate online community
    ◦ smallworl...
Contacts
   For searching/database support
    ◦ Gareth J Johnson (Physical & Biological
      Sciences) gareth.johnson@l...
Final Hands on Time!
 Browse the booklet to Self test (4)
 Why not
    ◦ Try answering the questions?
    ◦ Contrast a s...
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Advanced Database Searching Nov08

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Slides to acompany the workshop session for postgraduate (PhD) students at Leicester University. Covers accessing databases and building more sophisticated searches.

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Advanced Database Searching Nov08

  1. 1. Advanced Database Searching Efficient research information searching and retrieval for post-graduate scientists Nov 2008 Gareth J Johnson David Wilson Library
  2. 2. Today’s Session  Aims ◦ Get you familiar with accessing Leicester’s suite of information resources ◦ Provide some hands on time with searches ◦ Give you a chance for some 1-2-1 support with your searching ◦ Explore some methodology to help save you time and effort
  3. 3. Session Outline  Accessing information resources on/off campus  Searching comprehensively  Strategies for building quality searches  Refining search results  Alternatives to databases  Building your own bibliography (briefly)
  4. 4. Your Experiences 1. What databases/information resources have you used before? 2. What’s your approach to searching? 3. Are you confident that you are finding everything you need? 4. Would you like to spend less time searching and more time reading?
  5. 5. Resources at Leicester  Allaccessed via Leicester Digital Library  Nearly all available off campus too  Each indexes a different range of journals  To be comprehensive will need to search more than one!
  6. 6. Which Databases to Use?  Depends on your research area  Some multidisciplinary ones ◦ SCOPUS, Web of Knowledge  Some more subject specific ◦ BIOSIS Previews, Medline, Crossfire  Subject Rooms have some guidance  More information on Digital Library page
  7. 7. How Many is Enough?  Comprehensive searching requires using several ◦ Omissions and overlap between resources  No literature review is 100% authoritative  Rules of thumb ◦ Expect to search 3-5 quality resources ◦ See previous theses for guidance in scope  Bibliographic software can assist in eliminating duplicate results
  8. 8. Hands on time!  Browse the booklet to Self test (1)  Why not ◦ Look through the A-Z databases and find ones you are familiar with ◦ Have a look at Subject Rooms  Questions?
  9. 9. Sophisticated Searching  Preparation of a search strategy is the key  Searches can be built up ◦ Single search element at a time ◦ Portions of larger search statement  Need to be familiar with Boolean Logic ◦ AND – makes search more specific ◦ OR – includes synonymous terms ◦ NOT – eliminates irrelevant results
  10. 10. Boolean Logic pain or injury broad search, many results pain and injury focussed search, fewer but more specific results focussed search results pain not injury omitted useful results?
  11. 11. A Simple Search (Mk 1)  Find articles on earthquake detection sensors earthquake and detection and sensors  While this works, it is NOT comprehensive  Many articles will be missed  Results will be too broad ◦ Good for finding random papers of possible interest
  12. 12. Truncation & Parenthesis  Truncation substitutes for part of a word  Good for finding plurals or alternative spellings  Brackets ( ) allow Boolean logic to function correctly ◦ Order of priority NOT > AND > OR ◦ fish or sausages and chips  ◦ (fish or sausages) and chips 
  13. 13. A More Sophisticated Search (Mk 2)  Articles on earthquake detection sensors 1. earthquake or seismic 2. detection or identification 3. sensors or monitors  Run each search independently ◦ Then combine to make final search (earthquake* or seismic) and (detect* or identif* and (sensor* or monitor*) ◦ Good for finding papers specifically concerned with our interests
  14. 14. Hands on Time Again!  Browse the booklet to Self test (2 & 3)  Why not ◦ Try running the search we’ve just tried on a database or two ◦ Try improving the search ◦ Make your own simple or more sophisticated search  Questions?
  15. 15. Enhanced Searching Strategy Expanding on what we’ve considered: 1. Define your topic clearly 2. Identify key concepts and synonyms 3. Group similar concepts 4. Build a search strategy on paper 5. Test your search strategy 6. Refine the results or the strategy 7. Output the results for safe keeping 8. Read your papers
  16. 16. A Most Sophisticated Search (Mk 3)  Articles on earthquake detection sensors 1. earthquake or seismic 2. detection or identification or monitoring 3. sensors or seismograph 4. Not nuclear  Revised in the light of test search  Run each search independently ◦ Then combine to make final search ((earthquake* or seismic) and (detect* or identif* or monitor*) and (sensors or seismograph )) not nuclear
  17. 17. Refining Your Search  Expect to revise your initial search ◦ Rarely work exactly right first time  May need to expand ◦ Include more synonymous terms or truncation  May to need to focus ◦ Use more specific terms or use filters  May need to rethink approach ◦ Try different resources ◦ Reconsider search terminology or logic
  18. 18. Other Tools  Saved searches ◦ Can be used for search alerts on some resources  Subject index searching ◦ Using controlled terms rather than keywords  Open Access ◦ Freely available quality research ◦ Online search engines available  OpenDOAR, BASE Academic Search ◦ No need to worry about if the University subscribes to the journals ◦ Reliable quality alternative
  19. 19. Bibliographic Software  There to aid you in managing your search results ◦ Build a personal bibliography ◦ Eliminate duplicate results from multiple databases ◦ Citation insertion into Word documents ◦ Inserts custom bibliography formatted to house or particular journal styles  On campus support for RefWorks and Endnote ◦ Further training online or classroom sessions available
  20. 20. It’s A Small World(z)  If you haven’t already, join the Leicester Science graduate online community ◦ smallworldz.wetpaint.com  Interact with scientists, academics, fellow students and research support staff  Discover Twitter feeds, blogs and social networking identities  Share experiences and peer support  Keep up to date on new developments
  21. 21. Contacts  For searching/database support ◦ Gareth J Johnson (Physical & Biological Sciences) gareth.johnson@le.ac.uk ◦ Other Information librarians  www.le.ac.uk/li/about/informationlibrarians.html  General enquiries ◦ libdesk@le.ac.uk ◦ 0116-252-2043
  22. 22. Final Hands on Time!  Browse the booklet to Self test (4)  Why not ◦ Try answering the questions? ◦ Contrast a sophisticated search on different resources? ◦ Start to develop your own search strategy?  Questions?
  23. 23. Slides Available online at: Slideshare
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