Electronic Databases The world at your fingertips Williamson County Public Library
1. Define databases 2. Distinguish between the internet and a database 3. Benefits of databases 4. Hello, meet our databases 5. Main features of all databases 6. Searching guidelines 7. How to log on- remote versus onsite access Objectives
What is a database?
A large, regularly updated file of digitized information (bibliographic records, abstracts, full-text documents, directory entries, images, statistics, etc.) related to a specific subject or field, consisting of records of uniform format organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval and managed with the aid of database management system (DBMS) software. Content is created by the database producer (for example, the American Psychological Association), which usually publishes a print version ( Psychological Abstracts ) and leases the content to one or more database vendors (EBSCO, OCLC, etc.) that provide electronic access to the data after it has been converted to machine-readable form ( PsycINFO ), usually on CD-ROM or online via the Internet, using proprietary search software. Most Databases used in libraries are catalogs, periodical indexes, abstracting services, and full-text reference resources leased annually under licensing agreements that limit access to registered borrowers and library staff.
Library Databases What Can You do with Databases? Learn Spanish Get reliable medical information Read Newspapers Search for business information Practice the SAT Find out what happened the day you were born Get the dish on famous people Determine the value of the junk in your attic Research your family history Build your résumé Learn geometry Get homework answers Watch a comet demonstration Library Databases
How Databases are Structured
A database is made up of RECORDS- one record represents one article, book, or video, etc.
Each record contains standardized FIELDS for information. For example, there is a title field, subject field, author field, etc.
Fields are made up of WORDS - words you tell the computer to look for have to match with the words used in the field. If the word in the subject field is "adolescent" and you use "youth" or "teenager" your search won't retrieve that record even though the terms are similar.
A THESAURUS can help identify synonymous terms- all databases have thesaurus that list accepted subject terms or headings.
A shortcut to finding the subject heading you want is to find one record that works and identify the subject terms in the record that apply to your search. EXAMPLE
Tip: Databases may differ in the way that the screen looks or the type of information they store but essentially they all work on the same principles.
Internet vs. Database Searches Sample Search- Florida same Library or at home all you need is computer Where Both accurate and reliable- see demonstration Indexed terms search for similar words, similar spellings and like words in both the text and subject headings Compilations of journal articles, magazines, newspapers and other authoritative sources Databases Accuracy and Reliability How What Neither accurate or reliable Crawler searches for keywords and rankings are based on prevalence and paid placement- does not search entire site – deep web unavailable Anything that anyone wants to post with no regulation or standard Internet
Multiple forms of receipt (download, burn, email, print)
Does the citation
Accessible from most anywhere
Useful for everyone in the family or business
No need to pay for expensive subscriptions
Multimedia formats and pictures you can use without violating copyright
You can find primary sources as well as analysis and criticism.
You can ensure that what you get is what you want
You can limit your search results to only the most recent materials .
Magazines and Newspapers
Basic search- author or title
Advanced search- any other field in the record that is searchable
Keyword- a word showing in the subject, abstract, or text of the document (most like web searching)*
Subject- agreed upon on subject in the thesaurus
Format- ebook, audio, article, etc
Entire document- search the entire document not just title or subjects
Full text/peer reviewed
Author- last name first
Boolean Operators can be used to combine words or terms when to make a better defined search. See the examples below.
Example: teenage pregnancy AND prevention will retrieve records that contain both the word teenager as well as the word prevention.
Example: adolescent OR teen will retrieve records that contain either the word adolescent or the word teen or both of the words.
Example: prevention NOT abortion will retrieve records that contain the word prevention only if the word abortion is not in the record.
Keyword Searching: Searching for information by keyword permits greater flexibility. You do not need to know authors or subject headings to perform a keyword search. When you search by keyword, every field will be searched for the term(s) you have entered. However, this type of searching will also generally return more records, as well as some records that are not relevant to your topic.
Keyword searching allows you to combine terms and concepts to retrieve records for the most relevant articles, books, videos etc. You can combine terms using Boolean Operators.
Truncation is used to find different forms of words in a keyword search. Our databases use the question mark "?" as the truncation symbol. Another commonly used truncation symbol is the asterisk * or the # pound sign. The "help" function in the database usually tells you which symbol to use. Example: teen? Will retrieve records that include the word teen, teens, teenager, teenage, teenagers.
Stopwords are commonly used words that will automatically stop a computer keyword search because they occur too frequently in records. Stopwords are usually listed in the help screens of the database you are using. When constructing a keyword search, choose the most important words. Example: If you want to find information about "What programs are there to prevent teenage pregnancy in the United States?" Your keywords are: programs, prevent, teenage, pregnancy and United States. The words: what, are, there, to, in, and the are not key words.