Database Searching:Super Searching Techniques              Elizabeth Farrell     FSU College of Law Research Center       ...
Designing Better Searches• WHY?  – Well crafted searches = more precise  – Better Results, Higher Confidence• The Good & B...
Why Super-Searchers Prefer      Terms & Connectors• High level of search precision• High confidence in search results• Lot...
Using Terms & Connectors• Also known as “Boolean” searching• Uses connectors like OR, AND, NOT between  search terms• Can ...
Designing an Effective Search –              Step by Step•   Step 1: Gather Enough Information•   Step 2: Frame and Articu...
Step 1: Gather Enough Information• What are you trying to find?  – Jurisdiction  – Types of materials• Is a database searc...
Step 2: Frame and Articulate the               IssueConsider…• The information as if you were briefing a  case• Searching ...
Step 3: Determine Key Search               Terms   A well-framed issue will usually make      the key search terms easy to...
Step 3: Determine Key Search               Terms• Good search terms…  – Carry meaning  – Are essential to the issue• Be ca...
Step 4: Add Alternate Terms• Synonyms are critical to good searchesdamag! or destroy! or total! w/10 car or automobile or ...
Step 5: Determine Relationships         between TermsThe purpose of connectors is to show the  desired relationships betwe...
Step 6: Use Fields/Segments to Add              PrecisionOnline documents are divided up into searchable segments (or fiel...
Step 7: Use Advanced Boolean               FeaturesSpecify…• Singular/plural word forms• Upper/lowercase characters• Numbe...
Searching Outside              Lexis & Westlaw• Other subscription databases (BNA, CCH,  Hein)  – Many have boolean and/or...
Questions?Florida State University College of Law Research Center
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Database Searching Techniques

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Transcript of "Database Searching Techniques "

  1. 1. Database Searching:Super Searching Techniques Elizabeth Farrell FSU College of Law Research Center February, 2008 Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  2. 2. Designing Better Searches• WHY? – Well crafted searches = more precise – Better Results, Higher Confidence• The Good & Bad News – Good: Robust, sophisticated search engines in many commercial databases – Bad: Fewer features and some limitations for web search engines Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  3. 3. Why Super-Searchers Prefer Terms & Connectors• High level of search precision• High confidence in search results• Lots of control over search input Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  4. 4. Using Terms & Connectors• Also known as “Boolean” searching• Uses connectors like OR, AND, NOT between search terms• Can specify: – mandatory terms – alternate terms – terms to exclude – terms in specific parts of the document – terms appearing X times – terms within a certain proximity of other terms Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  5. 5. Designing an Effective Search – Step by Step• Step 1: Gather Enough Information• Step 2: Frame and Articulate the Issue• Step 3: Determine Key Search Terms• Step 4: Add Alternate Terms• Step 5: Determine Relationships between Terms• Step 6: Use Fields/Segments to Add Precision• Step 7: Use Advanced Boolean Features Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  6. 6. Step 1: Gather Enough Information• What are you trying to find? – Jurisdiction – Types of materials• Is a database search the best option? Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  7. 7. Step 2: Frame and Articulate the IssueConsider…• The information as if you were briefing a case• Searching the opposite side of the issue• Imagining how the ideal document might discuss the issue Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  8. 8. Step 3: Determine Key Search Terms A well-framed issue will usually make the key search terms easy to see.Examples:• Elements required to prove malice• Relied on a misrepresentation of the facts Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  9. 9. Step 3: Determine Key Search Terms• Good search terms… – Carry meaning – Are essential to the issue• Be cautious of… – Superfluous or incidental terms – Alternate phrasing Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  10. 10. Step 4: Add Alternate Terms• Synonyms are critical to good searchesdamag! or destroy! or total! w/10 car or automobile or vehicle• Antonyms can also be helpfuladmit! or admiss! or inadmiss! or relevan! or irrelevan! w/5 evidence Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  11. 11. Step 5: Determine Relationships between TermsThe purpose of connectors is to show the desired relationships between terms. Examples: •fraud AND insurance •tax! w/3 income •damages w/25 negligen! •res judicata Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  12. 12. Step 6: Use Fields/Segments to Add PrecisionOnline documents are divided up into searchable segments (or fields). Users can specify where within a document a term should appear.judges(oconnor) and court(eighth circuit) and drugs or narcotics Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  13. 13. Step 7: Use Advanced Boolean FeaturesSpecify…• Singular/plural word forms• Upper/lowercase characters• Number of times a word/phrase appears• Terms to exclude Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  14. 14. Searching Outside Lexis & Westlaw• Other subscription databases (BNA, CCH, Hein) – Many have boolean and/or advanced search capabilities – use them! – Syntax may vary slightly, but the principles are the same.• Internet Search Engines – Understand the content and searching limitations – Explore advanced search features (if available). Florida State University College of Law Research Center
  15. 15. Questions?Florida State University College of Law Research Center
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