Using Electronic Resources


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An Introduction to Library Research for Young Adults.

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Using Electronic Resources

  1. 1. Using Electronic Resources 96th Street Branch Library Presented by: Susan Buttaccio
  2. 2. What are Electronic Resources?• Electronic Resources include databases, ejournals and other digital files that the library has either licensed for the use of its readers or established links to facilitate access• The New York Public Library pays for subscriptions to over three hundred databases.A Database, according to the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary, is a collection of data arranged for ease and speed of search and retrieval. In libraries, databases are oftencalled electronic resources.
  3. 3. So why not Google it?• Research obtained from databases provided by the library assures the information accessed is reliable and up to date
  4. 4. How can I access New York PublicLibrary’s Electronic Resources?• Most of The Research Libraries electronic resources can only be accessed on-site at the specific Research Library location.• The New York Public Library’s Branch Libraries make available a large selection of databases, most of which are available for use at home or other remote locations, with a Branch library card.•
  5. 5. What kinds of information areavailable from a database?• Indexes and abstracts, used to index articles in journals, magazines and newspapers), books, conferences proceedings, etc. Some include an abstract which will include a summary of the cited article. Examples: General Science Abstracts, INSPEC, GeoRef• Full-text databases which give access to the entire text of articles and documents, for example electronic dictionaries and encyclopedias, but also journals, conferences, market research reports, directories, laws, etc.• Combinations of the above, for example an index including both citations to articles and their complete text. Example: EBSCOs Academic Search Premier
  6. 6. How do I choose the rightdatabase?• Talk to a librarian. He/she can help determine which is the best database for your information needs and can give you an introduction on how to begin searching.• A list of The New York Public Library’s databases is available on the New York Public Library’s Web site. The list is searchable. Go to: /databases/index.cfm• Consider that there are general databases and subject specific databases, you may want to search both types. For example: if you are researching a topic in biology, you may want to search in Academic Search Premier (general index to scholarly literature) and Biology Digest (specific index to citations and abstracts in the field of biology).
  7. 7. How do I search? Most databases allow you to search in a variety of ways:• Author • Keyword• Title • Subject• Phrase • Boolean Always be sure to consult any available help screens. Help screens can give you additional search tips which can broaden or refine your searches
  8. 8. Some of the ways help screens canactually help you!• Truncation• Wild cards• Controlled Vocabulary
  9. 9. What the heck is a Boolean search?Boolean Operators Named for George Boole   • Use AND or OR to search for words in any order• Use AND NOT to exclude words• Use parenthesis (…) to group words together when using more than one operator
  10. 10. More on Boolean Operators In database searching OR expands a search by broadening the set. It is often used to combine synonyms or like concepts. Think of OR as either or
  11. 11. Using “and” In database searching AND narrows a search. It is often used for linking together different concepts. Think of AND as only if also.
  12. 12. A few more tips..• In database searching, NOT is used to get rid of an unwanted concept. Keep in mind that NOT should be used sparingly, perhaps not at all, since it often brings about unintended results. Remember that the database is not doing any thinking, nor does it understand any concepts; it only matches words• You can combine sets in a variety of ways using the different combinations of Boolean operators. When writing out the sets, parentheses are important because they keep the logic straight. For example, (HIV or AIDS) and Africa should pull up articles that are about both HIV as well as AIDS only if also about Africa… It’s powerful stuff! From:
  13. 13. A note on citations and avoidingplagiarism• Don’t be caught unaware! When writing a paper or proposal it is expected that you will present a list of works cited. Keep track of your research as you go, don’t leave yourself with the enormous task of locating your sources after you have finished your paper!• Make sure that any information gathered from others is cited correctly to avoid plagiarism. Keeping track of your sources is the best way to avoid this mistake! There are many tools available online (for free) which can help you avoid this common and serious issue
  14. 14. Help! I still feel clueless..Don’t worry!• Speak with a librarian, who will give you a quick introduction to an electronic resource and help you begin searching.• Chat with a librarian through Ask Libraries Online• Attend a Free Public Training Class at the Branch Libraries or at the Research Libraries• For additional assistance with search strategies or databases, appointments for half hour consultations with a librarian can be made at the Research Libraries