HERSHEY PUBLIC LIBRARY How to Perform a Database Search
Introduction• This tutorial will show you how to do a basic search using the EBSCO databases available through the Hershey Public Library home page. The website is available at www.hersheylibrary.org
Databases • Select an appropriate database for your subject.• On the Hershey Public Library home page, you will see icons for the databases made available. They are located on the right hand side of the page. • Each different database will allow you to select databases by subject.
Science Reference Center• A research database that provides access to full-text science-oriented content. It contains information from hundreds of encyclopedias, reference books, periodicals and other sources.
Biography Reference Center• Offers a comprehensive collection of more than 461,000 full-text biographies such as actors,authors, composers, explorers, figures relevant to U.S. and world history, inventors, musicians, Presidents, current leaders and many more.
Literary Reference Center • A comprehensive database that providesinformation on thousands of authors and their works. It is a full-text database that combines information from major reference works, books and literary journals.
History Reference Center• The world’s most comprehensive full-text historyreference database that features full text for more than 1,990 reference books, encyclopedias, and non-fiction books from leading publishers. It also includes full text for more than 150 history periodicals and 57,000 historical documents.
To login to a database you mustenter the barcode number on the back of your library card Please contact your library administrator to obtain a Patron ID Patron ID 290105457775 Login Supported Browsers Recommended minimum screen resolution: 1024x768
Database Searching• Think carefully about the terms you type into the search box.• Too many search terms might cause you to retrieve no references or very few.• Too few search terms might retrieve too many references.• Incorrect spelling will cause problems in your search.
Describe Your Search Topic• Think of a question, a phrase or a sentence that includes all the important aspects or concepts of your topic.• Break up your search topic or theme into keywords. In most databases you can search simply by using keywords.• Keep your search simple.
What you are Searching• Some databases search the full text references that they contain. Other databases only search a brief description, or summary of the references.• If you are searching a full-text database, you will be able to search on very specific terms.• If you are searching a database that only has summaries (abstracts) of the references, you may have to use fewer terms and less specific terms.
This is the home page of the Magazine Database. On it you will see different typesof search options available such as “find any of my search terms, “ “advancedsearch,” and “SmartText” searching.
Modify Your Search Strategy • Occasionally you may need to modify your search term(s). • Look over the records you retrieve.• If you retrieve irrelevant records, then re-examine your topic or change the keyword you have chosen.
Connectors or Boolean Operators • Connectors are sometimes called Boolean Operators . They are used to combine search terms. There are three connectors: AND, OR, NOT. • AND placed between words means that either, or all, words(s) may appear in each reference. This will narrow your search.• For example, circus AND clowns will retrieve all references which contain both terms.
Boolean Operator OR • The Boolean operator OR placed between words means that either, or all, words(s) may appear in each reference. This will broaden your search.• For example, earthquake OR seismology will retrieve all references with earthquake or seismology. As well as references with both terms.
Boolean Operator NOT • The Boolean operator NOT between words means that the second word must not appear in any reference. This will narrow your search. • For example, toxic NOT radioactive will retrieve all references with toxic, except references which include radioactive.• Use of the NOT connector may exclude useful references.
Truncation • Truncation symbols (also called wildcards) vary from database to database. • Truncate words to retrieve all the alternative terms.• For example, comput* will retrieve computer, computers, computate, and computation. • Other symbols used are ? and #.
Phrase Searching• Some databases assume that a string of words should be searched as a phrase and it will only retrieve references in which the words occur side by side or in a very close proximity. • It may be useful to force the database to search words as a phrase. • You can do this by enclosing the terms in quotation marks, for example, “information technology.”
Additional Databases• The Hershey Public Library also has additional databases that may be of use that are not part of EBSCO Publishing.
Help• If you should need additional help with finding information available through the library website or in searching the databases, please be sure to ask our Reference Librarians.
References• EBSCO Publishing. (n.d.) Retrieved April 23, 2012, from http://www.ebscohost.com/public• Hershey Public Library. (n.d.) Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://www.hersheylibrary.org/