Now, in this segment of the Workshop, we will look at the databases themselves and concentrate on Searching. Eventually we will look at all of the search options on this list, but we will start with Basic searching… It is important to become comfortable using the Basic Search options. For most of the searches that we perform in the Library, that is all you will need. Though there is only one search box, there are several options. You can do simple one word searches, multiples word searches and phrase searches. You can create a search with limiters, with expanders, and with Boolean operators. We will use the databases of the three major database publishers for the workshop today. They, of course, all provide a basic search option, but as we showed you before, the screens and options can appear quite different. Once you are comfortable with one, the others are easier to master. As a first example:
(1 st arrow) …here is the Academic OneFile database published by Thomson/Gale. We are looking at the basic search screen. In some of the databases the first screen that opens is not the Basic Search screen. In this case, the Academic OneFile database opens up on the subject search screen. One click (1st arrow) will bring you to the Basic search screen as we see here. Look below at the search box in the yellow rectangle: This is a keyword search, by default . (2nd arrow) A simple keyword search allows for the search term, to appear in several major fields (title, subject, abstract, author’s name). This very broad search will potentially return many results. By choosing subject (arrow #3) we search only the subject field of our list of articles. This retrieves only articles whose principle subject is tsunamis, not articles on any subject but which happen to mention tsunamis. This search will retrieve fewer results, but those results will be much more relevant. Clicking entire document (arrow #4) searches the whole article for your word, more than just title, subject etc. This can produce many results, including irrelevant ones. This type of search would be very useful to use when searching for a very unique word or name, or perhaps if all other search strategies produced no results. “ more search options ” will allow you to narrow your search further. We will deal will it again on when we discuss search limiters. Note: A subject search searches only the subject field of the article, not the subject headings
On our previous screen we looked at a Gale database. Now I want to show you the opening search page for another of our heavily used databases – Canadian Newsstand, a Proquest database. (1 st arrow) At the top of the page, there are a number of tabs that offer different search options. We are on the basic search page, here in orange, but from here we can also choose the Advanced search page, which we will look at later, or the list of Publications (in this case newspapers) which are included in this database. Here I have put the word ‘tsunami’ into the basic search box. This simple search would return over 16,000 results. (2 nd arrow) But, even on the basic search page there are limiters and expanders to help with your search. You can broaden it by adding other Proquest databases, or narrow it by specifying a date or date range. Specifying this date brought up 104 documents, most concerning the tsunami in the Pacific on that date that killed so many people. If you click on the “More search options” link (3 rd arrow) you will find even more choices.
Here is the basic search page for the Masterfile Premier, an EBSCO database. We did the same search for the word ‘tsunami’ as we did in Canadian Newsstand, but in this case it returned up only about 4,000 hits. That can indicate one of the differences between a database that covers newspapers only, presenting immediate events, and one that is more magazine oriented and contains more researched in-depth articles. As with the other databases this screen allows you the choose to do (1 st arrow ) an advanced search or look for specific publications. It also allows you the ‘refine’ your search much in the same way as the other databases. In addition ( 2 nd arrow) however,you also have the option to search only Academic/Scholarly Journals. – 380 results
3 clicks Now that we have shown you the basic search page we want to show you how to structure your searches. The place to begin is with an understanding of a Boolean search. Boolean logic defines relationships between terms in a search. With the Boolean search operators and , or and not you create connections between search terms within a single document or article. (zoom) AND : As you see from this image where each search term is represented by a circle, a Boolean search requires at least two terms. In an AND search our results occur only where the two circles overlap. This type of search produces the smallest number of results. (zoom) OR : Using or between two or more search terms can broaden a search considerably. It has the effect of adding the two complete searches together and produces lists of results that include one or more of the search terms. This can be useful when searching synonyms but it does potentially produce a great number of results. (zoom) NOT : This is useful when you need to eliminate a concept from a search. Say for example I was searching in a newspaper database for articles on stars, but my searches kept turning up articles on movie stars as well as the ones in the sky. If I added the not operator and did a search on ‘stars not movie’ I would have reduced my results and probably have not lost any useful articles. Now, after that brief description, let’s take a closer look at these searches in the databases…
Here is a one word search in the Science Reference Center will find documents that contains the word earth – this search resulted in 27,804 results To narrow your search and results just add another term…
Here is a Boolean search using the AND operator in the same database. It combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, mars AND earth finds articles that contain both mars and earth. In this case it returned 837 results . Still quite a large number of hits.
Or combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms. For example, heart or lung finds results that contain either heart or lung. This search produced 24,445 results. This type of search can be useful when searching for synonyms, in order to avoid missing a possible result. The number of possible results in this type of search can be quite large, so it is rarely used. Perhaps this number might be reduced by a different search strategy..
Here is a Boolean search using the NOT operator in the Business Source Complete database Not - excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, in this search the term education alone produces over 240,000 results. By removing the technology concept from the search, and looking for earth not mars , the number of hits has been reduced by more than 20,000. Still a large number but more relevant results
2 arrows Now that we have dealt with Boolean… (arrow)In order to do this search we chose Keyword search from the sidebar at the left of the screen. Here is a 2 word query in a Gale database. Two words side by side without a Boolean operator (such as circus elephants) are searched as an exact phrase by default, meaning that it searches for the two search terms together just as they appear in the search box. (arrow)
For exact phrases longer than two words always enclose in quotation marks. Otherwise it will search for individual words, not side by side, but separately. Our search here will only find documents that contain the phrase “Blair Witch Project”.
Now that we’ve looked at conducting Basic Searches, let’s move on to Advanced Searching.
By choosing the Advanced Search option your searches will be more precise. We are able to choose the structure of our searches by organizing the terms into appropriate categories. You will not have to decide on Boolean Operators. They are there for you in the boxes. We will look at limiters a bit further on, but first I want to show you what an advanced search screen looks like.
1 arrow We will be showing examples from the three major database providers, but, typically most Advanced Search screen have the same general features. This is the MasterFile Premier Advanced Search screen. The banner at the top is still the same as the Basic Search screen. You still have access to all search options. (arrow) The area below the green line contains three search boxes instead of just one as in the basic search. This area is much like our Library catalogue. Each box has drop-down options to allow you to label your search terms. And finally on the lower part of the screen there is an array of limiter options, which we will look at in a minute.
4 arrows Here is the same screen in Masterfile, but we filled in a bit of the information. Now we are searching for articles in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in the subject of Global Warming .(click) As you see here we entered the search term in the first box, then, using the drop down menu, labelled that term as a subject .(click) As you see here there are many more options you could choose. Now the database will only search the subject field of an article for the term Global Warming. It will ignore the term if it appears only in the title. We chose ‘and’ as the Boolean operator (click), then filled in the second box with the name of the journal, the Atlantic Monthly, and, though we can’t see it here, we chose (click )Journal name from the drop down list.
3 arrows This is the same search, this time in InfoTrac OneFile (Gale) . You can see the resemblance to Masterfile(Ebsco): 3 search boxes (click), a menu of fields ( click), and a menu of boolean operators( click), with more search limiters provided below. Note that the selection of search fields is different – there are considerable more options here – including start page, volume number, person (as subject)’s name, company name etc. .
This is the same search in Canadian Business and Current Affairs (Proquest). Note the same 3 search boxes, list of fields – again quite large, and the boolean operators. In this database, by default, the additional limiters are hidden – (click) you must click on More Search Options link to view the entire list.
3 clicks Previously I mentioned that we would be discussing the use of the limiters that appeared on the search screens. What is a limiter? A limiter is a search option provided by the database publisher which allows you to focus your search. (click) (click) There are usually more limiters available on the Advanced Search screen than on the Basic screen but their purpose is the same. For example, in some databases you can choose to search only cover stories or you can choose to search only within certain dates or you can do both – search for cover stories within certain dates. (Click) Using the same example, you can find a cover story on Israel that appeared in Time Magazine between December 1985 and October 1986. Pretty specific.
1 arrow The concept of limiters is the same in all databases, but in practical use there can be differences. For example we will look at date limiters in several databases. Some databases make date limiting very easy by allowing you to select days, months and years from drop down menus. In others you need to type in the date and input these in the correct order. If you are not sure how the date should be entered, you can always go to Help. These are the date limiters in Masterfile. You are able to select months from a drop down menu and then (click) type in the year.
This is the date limiter in Infotrac Onefile (Gale). (click) You must type in the date or date range yourself. They provide you with a model.
1 arrow Here is the date limiter in Canadian Newsstand (ProQuest) (click). You are provided with some preset date ranges (last 7 days, last 30 days etc) plus the option to search before a date, after a date, between 2 dates and on a particular date.
The exact list of limiters can vary but there is often a wide range to choose from.
4 arrows, 2 text boxes Here is the full range of limiters provided in Masterfile. Most are organized as check boxes or drop down menus. The same limiters that appeared in Basic Search are also present. but there are also a number of additional ones. These are: (Click) Publication type: (click) primary source documents, biographies, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, books, newswires, transcripts and government documents. (Click) Document type (click) book review , editorial, entertainment review, interview, obituary (not death notice!), recipe, speech etc. Cover Story: (click) great to use if someone remembers an issue of a magazine with a particular story on the cover Documents with images: (click) useful if graphics are needed for a presentation etc.
1 click Now that we have looked at Advanced searching, let’s move on to (click) Subject searching.
Subject searches are very useful when searching for common topics. For example, if you did a basic keyword search for, Global warming, you might end up with an overwhelming number of results. By choosing the general subject first, then conducting a keyword search you will have focused your search considerably, and thereby produced more relevant results. Aside from typing in search terms then labelling the box as we did previously, most databases allow you to browse through their list of subject headings and make a selection. Let me show you what I mean. On the next 3 screens we can look at a few subject searches in Masterfile:
2 arrows, 1 text box We have clicked on ‘Subjects’ under Advanced Search at the top of the screen and now this is the subject search page (click) Below the tab is a search box (click). The lower half of the screen contains the first entries of the long list of subject headings used in this database. All of the subject headings in the database are listed in alphabetical order, so byusing the sarch box instead of scrolling we are hopefully saving some time. In this case, we are checking to see whether the term “global warming” is on the list of subject headings. (Click) on ‘browse’ to apply your search
3 arrows Here are the results: (click) ‘Global Warming’ appears on the list in bold black letters. Below, all of the documents with this subject heading are organized by document type. Here you can see that, for example, there are 1028 academic journal references and 6 primary source documents (click) on the list. Clicking on the link will bring them up. You can take this search further by searching (click) subdivisions of the subject ‘global warming’ or by looking for related terms.
1 arrow Here we went one step further and looked at the subtopics. Each one is then broken into its document type as before…but you can look at the articles themselves by clicking on the links.
1 click The next type of search we will look at is searching by publication. (click)
Earlier in the presentation, we talked about the Magazine and Newspaper Index (the database which allows you to locate particular full text publications within all of our databases). Most databases also provide you with a list of the publications that they include. In some databases, you can search the Publication list in the same way as you would search the database, using a title keyword or a subject. For instance - searching for astronomy as a subject would pull up all of the publications that are primarily about astronomy, whether or not the word appears in the title. It is important to note that some full text publications are embargoed. This means that the publisher is withholding the full text of certain issues, usually the more recent issues. For instance, Consumer Reports has full text articles in Masterfile, but the most recent 3 months are embargoed; Sports Illustrated – the most recent issue is embargoed. This allows the publisher to sell his publication before it becomes available free of charge in the library.
2 arrows, 1 text box This is the publication search page in Masterfile (EBSCO). There are 2 search boxes on this page. The upper search box is a Basic keyword search box, as we talked about earlier. The second box is below the Publication tab. (click) You can search for publications in alphabetical order, by subject or description or match any words (click). You can also browse for publication titles by letter of the alphabet. Here we are checking to see whether Macleans is included in the database. After typing the title, we clicked on (click ) browse.
(click) You can click on the Macleans link to get more information about this magazine or to retrieve specific issues.
This is the full information entry available to you for Macleans magazine in this database .(arrow) We are given the publisher’s address ,(arrow) dates of inclusion for indexing (arrow) and full text ,(arrow) the subjects that this magazine covers (arrow) and dates of specific issues to the right (arrow). If you click on a year, the database will display issues for that year. You can then click on an issue (click) to retrieve a list of all of the articles in that issue. You can also click on (click) “Search within this publication ” to search within Macleans magazine as we did on the previous screen.
1 click Finally, let’s take a quick look at Images searching. Certain databases, including the Ebsco databases, contain image or video files that are searchable. These can be particularly useful for student projects. Ebsco’s largest database, Masterfile, contains photo of people, places, natural science photos, historical photos, maps and flags. History Reference Center (Gale) has both an image and a video file. It’s worth noting that these contain photos / videos of famous American people & places.
2 arrows and 2 text boxes Here we are searching for photos of Winston Churchill… (arrow) Tick (click) off the box next to Photos of people (arrow) and click the search box
1 arrow One of our results, a photo of a young W.C. … Of course, you can print, email and save (arrow). Any questions about image searching?
Most newspaper/magazine databases provide searchable publication lists.
Some publications are ‘ embargoed’ .
Beyond Wikipedia: Searching Databases
Embargo: Beyond Wikipedia: Searching Databases An embargo means that the publisher is withholding the full text of certain issues, usually the most recent ones, until a later date. For instance, Consumer Reports has full text articles in Masterfile , but the most recent 3 months are embargoed. This allows the publisher to sell his publication before it becomes available free of charge in the library.