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CIAO Database Presentation

CIAO Database Presentation



This was a group project for an Automated Reference Services class. We give an overview of the history of the database, examine search options, and present a couple of search examples. ...

This was a group project for an Automated Reference Services class. We give an overview of the history of the database, examine search options, and present a couple of search examples.

Created by Angela Pashia and Todd Schlechte.



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  • These are new to me, I’m not used to having so many options in database searches! -- Angie

CIAO Database Presentation CIAO Database Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • Reviewed by: Angela Pashia Todd Schlechte
  • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO)
    • Covers International Affairs topics
      • Includes theory and research
      • Includes publications from 1991 onward
    • Published by Columbia University Press
  • History
    • Launched 1997 with funding from “a 3-year $360,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to evaluate the potential of online technology for scholarly communication” (Anonymous 1997)
    • Created as a “collaborative effort between the Columbia University libraries and Columbia University Press” (About CIAO)
  • History
    • Offered about 10,000 pages of searchable content, including
      • working papers, reports, conference proceedings from “over 40 participating institutes”
      • full-text online books, book summaries, links to over 150 sites, journal abstracts
      • a calendar “of meetings, conferences, seminars, and research projects” (Anonymous 1997)
    • Material selected by editorial staff
  • Additions
    • In mid 2007, material added as a result of new partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
      • Maps and basic political and economic data for 201 countries added to the Atlas section
      • This section is updated quarterly, while the rest of the CIAO database is updated monthly (Golderman & Connolly 2008)
  • Search engines
    • In 2002, CIAO was using an Inktomi-based search engine
      • (Golderman & Connolly 2002)
    • April 2009 - Migrated from Infoseek to a semi-customized GSA [Google Search Appliance] (Sedgwick, personal email)
  • Current breadth
    • According to current brochure, over 500,000 pages of full text material are now available
  • Stand-Alone Product
    • CIAO is a stand-alone database
    • Available directly from Columbia University Press
  • Coverage of International Affairs
    • Working papers and policy briefs from a large variety of institutions
      • Material appears here before it is published elsewhere (if it is published).
    • Over 80 journals
      • Majority are full-text, but some are abstract only or are a mix of full-text and abstract
    • Variety of e-books from 38 institutions
  • Coverage of International Affairs
    • Case Studies written by scholars
    • Course Packs
      • Variety of material within each pack for use in classroom instruction
      • Very limited number of these available
    • Videos
      • Mostly of speeches given by foreign leaders at Columbia University
    • Atlas
      • Current history and facts about the country chosen are included with a map
  • Search Tools
    • The search tool in CIAO is a semi-modified Google Search Appliance
      • Basic search (keyword) and advanced search that will remind users of Google
      • Includes a few additional fields
  • Advanced Search Interface
  • Controlled Vocabulary
    • “ We do not as of yet have a controlled vocabulary for CIAO but are working on such a list.” (Sedgwick, personal email)
    • When this is done, it will function much like Google’s suggestions.
  • Controlled Vocabulary Example
    • Test Subject field by typing “i” into field
    • Drop-down box appears with list of controlled vocabulary terms available at present
    • Those subject terms tested seem at least partially populated
      • 669 results displayed for “International Political Economy”
  • Other Searchable Fields
    • Author: Last name, first name
    • Institution
      • Searches by institution responsible for the material
      • Drop down box appears with available options once user begins typing
        • Not simple to browse without typing first letter
  • Available Limits
    • Publication Type
    • Region
    • Publication Date Range OR Publication Date
  • Unusual Search Tools
    • Google Advanced Search Operators
      • Restrict search to smaller set of documents
      • Limit by file type (.xls, .pdf., etc.), meta tags, url, and others
      • List and explanation found via “Search Tips” link
  • Search Modes
    • Default mode is Basic Search
      • Page includes tips that suggest automatic truncation
    • Advanced Search also available
  • Boolean Searching
    • Boolean Searching is supported
      • AND need not be typed between words. It is assumed.
      • OR must be typed.
      • The minus sign “-“ (preceded by a space) takes the place of NOT.
  • Boolean Searching
    • Advanced Search page makes it easier to apply Boolean logic without knowing the operators
      • Includes instructions to fine tune search using AND and NOT operators
  • Proximity Searching
    • Not supported as a defined search option
    • Search appliance designed to prefer “pages in which your query terms are near each other” (Search Tips)
      • Similar effect, but does not allow searcher to control how close those words must be
  • Wildcards/Truncation
    • Truncation done by default
      • May add * to word to truncate, or simply type word (or portion of word)
    • Wildcards not supported
  • Phrase Searching
    • Supported in multiple ways
      • Enclose phrase in quotation marks
      • Use phrase connectors, like hyphens, slashes, periods, equal signs, and apostrophes
        • Ex.: father-in-law
      • Use “Exact Phrase” field in Advanced Search
  • Capitalization
    • Search appliance does not support case-sensitive searching
  • Stop Words
    • Common words treated as stop words when used in conjunction with other terms
      • “ how”, “where”, “the”, etc. ignored when combined with other terms
      • If used alone, however, they will be searched
      • Exceptions
        • Can use + symbol for Boolean AND if that term is essential to the search (screen shot below from Search Tips)
        • Enclose phrase in quotation marks
  • Search Example 1 - Todd
    • I wanted to search for ideas on how to bring peace to Afghanistan.
    • My search was essentially a full-text search (peace* AND Afghanistan) AND (strategy OR plan OR approach OR blueprint). I attempted to increase precision by adding the controlled vocabulary “Peace Studies” and the date range Jan. 2008 to Oct. 2010, since I wanted recent results. This resulted in zero results! So I tried the same search again, but left off the date limiter and “Peace Studies.”
    • As you can see, there were 1980 results, some of the leading results lacking relevancy because of the full-text search and lack of controlled vocabulary.
    • I tried re-adding the controlled vocabulary “Peace Studies,” even though documents do not very consistently have this data assigned to them yet. This resulted in 38 results which appeared to be more precise.
  • Search Example 2 - Angie
    • I am curious about what the CIAO has on issues related to religion and Indonesia
    • I will begin with a basic search to see how that works.
      • Intend “Indonesia AND religion,” but AND operator should be applied without my typing it in.
    • Returned 1180 hits! Will try “search within results”.
    • Note – “Related Searches” seen on right never actually loaded
    • “Search within results” went to another basic search box, which I don’t find very helpful.
    • So I will click “Advanced Search.”
      • Did not import previous search terms, opened new advanced search interface.
    • I expected to find a lot of results relating to Islam, since Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims of any country.
    • So let’s see what CIAO has on religion and Indonesia NOT Islam.
    • I am also adding a region limit to Southeast Asia
    • Yay! 13 hits that look interesting!
    • Out of curiosity, how much did the region limit affect the outcome?
    • Removing the region limit returned 634 hits
    • Note that “Islam” was not automatically truncated
      • First result includes term “Islamic”
      • Going back and adding truncation symbol (*) to Islam did not affect results
  • Extra search example
    • To try another feature specific to this database, I did an Advanced Search using only two limits (no other terms) – Type: Case Study and Region: Southeast Asia
    • Returned two case studies, which may be useful for those teaching a course on International Affairs in this region.
  • Impressions
    • Useful for those focused on International Affairs
      • Faculty, grad students, upper level undergraduate majors
      • Government and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers
      • Researchers
    • May be less appealing to undergraduates not majoring in related fields
      • Other sources may be easier to navigate for general reports about countries
        • CIA World Factbook, for example
  • Impressions
    • Navigation is simple, but not well designed for browsing unless user knows institution or journal source desired
    • Search feature is easy to use, but flawed
      • Technological flaw – Todd and Angie were both locked out of accessing documents after searching
        • Able to access materials before searching
        • Not able to access results of searches
        • No longer able to access materials via browsing after performing a search (had to close browser and start new session to work around problem).
  • Anticipated Uses
    • Aid researchers in finding materials
    • Aid professors in preparing course sections or lessons
      • Course packs are designed for use in designing courses on the issues included
        • Section includes links to sample syllabi
      • Case studies are useful to incorporate into a discussion of various topics
        • Many applicable to fields beyond IA – anthropology, area studies, economics, history, political science, sociology, etc.
  • Suggestions
    • Fix technological glitch that logs users out after searching.
    • Improve the application of truncation
      • See example above where it was not applied to “Islam” in the NOT field, leading to results including “Islamic”.
    • Continue to work on adding controlled vocabulary, institutions, regions, etc.
      • Some items have only the date and so cannot be retrieved through the use of the other fields offered in Advanced Search.
  • Suggestions
    • Enable easier browsing
      • Working papers, books, and policy briefs could be arranged by topic and/or region, in addition to current arrangement by institution.
      • Case studies could be arranged by topic and/or region
      • Course packs are not clearly arranged, but listed in easy to browse (with abstract) format
    • Browsing less of a priority if the search glitch is fixed!
  • Works Cited
    • Anonymous. "Columbia University Press Launches a New International Affairs Online Publication." Information Today 14 10 (1997): 2.
    • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO). "About Ciao". 2010. http://proxy.mul.missouri.edu:3698/admin/about.html accessed Oct. 29, 2010.
    • Golderman, G, and Connolly B. “Going Global." Library Journal 127 1 (2002): 40-46.
    • Golderman, G, and Connolly B. "Secrets, Stats, Statecraft." Library Journal 133 1 (2008): 14-23.
    • Google. "Search Tips". 2009. http:// search.columbia.edu/user_help.html accessed Oct. 30, 2010.
    • Sedgwick, Robert. Email to Todd Schlechte, Oct. 2010.