Effective literature search4 academicssaut

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Presented to SAUT academic staff during the Open Access week on 31st October, 2013.

Presented to SAUT academic staff during the Open Access week on 31st October, 2013.

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  • ASK a volunteer to read the learning objectives aloud to the group.
     
    ASK participants if they have any questions before continuing.
  • Electronic resources can mean huge volumes of data:
    In January 2003 Google claimed to have a database containing 3,083,324,652 web pages, in July 2004 this figure had risen to 4,285,199,774 —and it is widely accepted that Google only gets about half of the available content!
    There are also 10s of thousands of full text journals available online—which means there are a very large number of high quality academic papers out there.
    Add to this newspaper archives and similar online databases and we are dealing with a lot of information!
    Its not unusual to get 1,000s or 10,000s of hits when doing searches of various electronic resources and it can be difficult to sift and sort this information. Before you know it we are faced with an information overload situation.
    It some ways it’s a “nice” problem to be faced with—maybe it’s better too much information than too little — but we all only have a limited amount of time with which to find the best and most appropriate information.
    Obviously quality and evaluation issues are important (and these will be considered later in the workshop), but narrowing down the number of ‘hits’ should be a high priority.
    Additionally, with time online and access to computers at a premium, effective searching can be seen to be very important.
  • At beginning of slide (before revealing any bullet points) ask people:
    What do you think is out there?
    Once people have discussed this, reveal the bullet points (one at a time)
     Demonstrate a couple of example sites of your choice: e.g. you could use your own home page or that of a colleague; for a reference source you could use the INASP site (www.inasp.org.uk); for a library catalogue you could use OPAC97 on the British Library site (www.bl.uk)
    • But how can you find resources like these or resources of particular interest to you?
    Additional notes:
    Also extensive primary data is available
    Many organisations are making the electronic medium their primary publication medium (now including the traditional publishers)
    An important missing category here is ‘junk’ - there is a lot of that out there - be warned!
    A lot of information (e.g. full text journal articles) has to be paid for. But free information is not necessarily sub-standard information.
  • Browsing
    Often used from useful starting places but can be time consuming if starting from the wrong place. Always has a place in finding online information.
    Site specific search tools
    When you have found a site that might be useful, then using the site search tools can be a quick and effective way of finding the information that you require.
    Information gateways
    These will be covered later in the workshop
    Searching and Internet search tools
    This is what we will be covering in this session
  • Most search engines work by simply matching your key word search terms with words within the search engine database.
    Most search engines operate on the basis of simply recording all the words within a web page and recording these in a database. It is against this database that the search is conducted and not the actual pages themselves.
    However, some search engines give different weightings to words that appear in certain parts of Web pages:
    e.g. Words in titles or headings are given a higher rating than words elsewhere in the page. Another approach is to give weight to words that are used in hyperlinks (on the basis that they are important to the page overall).
    Additionally, many search engines use complex algorithms to weight words and their importance. Unfortunately most search engines keep their algorithms secret!
    e.g. Google - key word search and weighting to words that appear in links and the number of times a document is linked to (on the basis that the more links the better the resource)
    Web directories attempt to bring order into the Web, by dividing sites and resources into topics and sub-topics.
    Meta-search engines submit the same search to several popular search engines simultaneously.
  • The following screen captures should be used for illustration if a real connection cannot be made to the Web.
     If a real connection is available, then use that to illustrate the different search engine Web sites.
    Conduct the same search on at least two search engines. It is suggested that you use Google or Yahoo, but use others if you are familiar with them.
    Conduct your searches using the same terms so that comparisons can be made:
    When comparing different search engines look for:
    number of hits for the same search term
    what hits are included the first 10 or 20 hits for the same search term
  •  Google search results page.
    Google is a very clever, fast and minimalist search engine that consistently returns good search results.
  •  Yahoo search tool and Internet portal (this includes a browsing interface - useful for seeing what kind of information is available. This kind of integrated searching and browsing is becoming more common).
    The search part of Yahoo works much the same way as other search tools.
  •  Notice – a different number of results were found using Yahoo as compared to Google, and the documents listed on the first page are different too.
  • Think of this as a checklist that should be in every library user’s head.
    The process of planning a search strategy clarifies your thinking about your topic and helps you ensure that you are looking for information appropriate to your task.
    The following recommended process can be applied to any searching situation, electronic or otherwise, and should be encouraged amongst all users of information resources (especially electronic resources as these are often searched directly by users without the aid of a librarian).
    Searching training for all new library users would be a great ultimate objective (if not currently provided)—it might save time and resources in the long run and should raise the quality of any searching/research done by users.
  • Search terms are often subject keywords, but can also be, e.g., names, molecular formulae or significant numbers, depending on what you are searching for and the source you are using.
    Think about your subject, and what keywords and concepts it is part of or related to. It is a good idea to have a piece of paper and write down all aspects of the subject you can think of and then decide which are relevant to your search.
    If you are new to a subject it may be worth finding a brief outline from an encyclopaedia, dictionary, textbook or a knowledgeable colleague.
    Are there any synonyms (words with similar meaning) for any of the words (see next slide for examples)?
    Are there any alternative spellings? E.g. neighbourhood or neighborhood, colour or color, analyse or analyze, or different spellings for place names
    Finally, do you need to consider plurals/capitalisation of your keywords? E.g. search for mouse and mice? Search for ‘New Scientist’ (which may lead you to the journal) rather than ‘new scientist’ (which may lead you to articles about people who have just become scientists!)
  • Choose which sources to use and search them out
    Thinking about the subject and, bearing in mind your information needs, you can select the best information sources to use. It is often best to search for recent information first as good sources will lead you to earlier ones, through the lists of references at the end of chapter of books or end of journal articles.
    If you need specific information try:
    Reference sources including data books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, compilations of spectra, directories, or the Internet. Relevant text books often include specific data also.
    If you need an introduction to a subject try:
    Reference works including encyclopaedias, dictionaries and handbooks; textbooks, monographs, readers, theses or dissertations; broad subject journals (most have yearly subject indexes), a review article.
    It is really these last two tasks that are most suited for using electronic resources although searching catalogues, etc, can be useful to alert you to the existence of a particular book, etc, even if it doesn’t allow you to see the full text.
    If you need a comprehensive literature search on a subject try:
    Databases, abstracts, indexes, and citation indexes, bibliographies, or reviews should enable you to compile a list of references to relevant books, journal articles, conference papers, reports, theses and patents which you can then go and locate. The Internet can also be useful, by using subject gateways or search engines, though be wary, as the quality and accuracy of information on the Web can be very variable!
    If you need to keep up with new developments try:
    Databases, recent issues of abstracts and indexes and current awareness publications will alert you to new references on your subject that you can then go and locate. Additionally, if your subject is well covered by a few key journals then you could look at these as they are published. The Internet can also be useful, by using search engines, bookmarking useful sites and re-visiting, and by joining relevant newsgroups (though be wary, as again the quality and accuracy of information on the Web can be very variable!)
  • Many search engines allow the use of full Boolean searching with logical operators– AND, OR, NOT between search terms.
    Relevancy Ranking is the sorting of the results of the search so that the most relevant documents are listed first. Many search engines offer relevancy ranking in search results
  • Phrase searching: if you enter the phrase in quotation marks it will look for pages with that exact phrase in it. For example searching for “information literacy” may give you very different results than looking for information AND/OR literacy.
    Truncation/wildcards: These terms are often used interchangably, but generally truncation refers to using a symbol at the beginning or end of a word to search for a portion of the word—this means you find any variations your search term might have. For example looking for librar* would find libraries, librarians, library, librarianship, etc Some search tools also allow you to use truncation at the beginning of a word, e.g, *phobia would find agrophobia, arachnophobia, xenophobia, etc.
    Wildcards, or ‘internal truncation’ allows you to search variations on spellings with the symbol representing one or more characters within a word. For example col*r would find colour, color, colder, collar, collector, etc
    Case sensitivity: some search engines will distinguish between, e.g. ‘the times’ and ‘The Times’
    Fields: They may also allow you to require your search term to appear in a particular field of the page, e.g., in the title or URL of the page.
    Stop words: Many search tools ignore very common words during searches, but may allow their inclusion if, for example, they are prefaced with a + e.g. ‘+The Times’
  • As you can see from the previous slides there can be a lot of variables in the way a search tool will run your search. So, it is very important that having decided on your search terms and which resources you are going to query, you find out how the resources you are using works. Look up the help/FAQs section and to help ensure that you find as nearly as possible the information you are looking for without having to sift through thousands of irrelevant documents or missing out any vital ones.
  • Animated gif would be great here.
  • Review and revise your search
    You may find that you need to revise your search strategy in the light of the results you find, perhaps by using other sources of information, by searching using other search terms (or combining them in other ways in the search) or by using another type of search, such as citation searching.
    The problem with the initial search may be that you are finding too many, or too few, or not enough relevant references. Another problem could be with the references you find; they may not be available in the University Library here, they may be to items that are in a language that you cannot understand, or they may be at a too advanced (or basic!) level for your needs.
  • Collect the information
    Once you have chosen your sources and located them, search them to see if they include references or information relevant to your information need and subject. Points to remember:
    The way you search a source will depend on what it is, and what you are searching for. Printed sources usually have a subject index, and sometimes an author and other indexes. Databases usually provide more types of search, and greater flexibility in searching for particular search terms or combinations of terms. Special types of search you may encounter include citation searching and combining search terms using AND, OR and NOT (Boolean searching).
    Make a careful note of relevant references, or information, you find, perhaps photocopying or printing the relevant section (make sure that you are complying with Copyright Law) and be sure to note the source of any information you use as you will probably need to supply a list of the relevant references that you used.
    If the source gives you further references to follow up make sure you copy them correctly, as a small mistake can make the item difficult to track down. Use the appropriate resource (this could be one of the electronic resources, the library catalogue, etc) and look up the references to find if the items are available locally or as full text electronic copies. You may wish to consider using a Inter-Library Loan service or document delivery service for material not available locally.
    Remember that the quality and accuracy of information is important, and often the more up to date the better. Permanence can also be a factor, for example will an Internet site still be there when someone follows up your references?

Transcript

  • 1. COTUL WORKSHOP AND AGM 30th 31 October, 2013 MWANZA OPEN ACCESS:REDEFINING IMPACT OPEN ACCESS:REDEFINING IMPACT Paul S. Muneja pmuneja@udsm.ac.tz 0713798947
  • 2. • Free e-books Making effective literature search Making effective literature search 11/04/13 2
  • 3. Learning Objectives By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  Plan an effective online search strategy.  Formulate effective search queries  Use Boolean operators to conduct searching.  Browse web directories
  • 4. Introduction…  Searching info is often difficult because of: enormous amount of e-information available different ways in which information is stored diversity of search tools available lack of organization of the web content uneven quality of the web content constant evolution of e-resources E-resources are volatile 11/04/13 4
  • 5. Intro…  information users require skills to: convert information needs into searchable queries construct queries for a given system enter queries as specific search statements locate and retrieve needed information effectively and efficiently evaluate information and its sources understand economic, legal and ethical issues surrounding info use 11/04/13 5
  • 6. Why is effective searching important? • There are a huge number of resources online – Google claims it searches >4 billion web pages • The WWW is not indexed/catalogued – so we need to formulate our searches carefully • We need to make effective use of – – – – computers bandwidth time money
  • 7. What types of information are available online? • • • • • • • Grey literature e.g. public sector publications Individuals’ & organisations’ home pages Collections of subject resources Bibliographic databases Electronic journals (>20,000 full text) Online books Reference resources (dictionaries, encyclopaedias) • Newspapers, magazines, music, etc, etc…
  • 8. How can you find the right information? • Browsing – slow, sometimes appropriate • Site-specific search tools (e.g. within bibliographic databases) • Subject-based information gateways • Search engines
  • 9. Search Engines • Three main types: – keyword searching tools, e.g. Google, All the Web, teoma etc – web directories/portals, e.g. Lycos, Yahoo – meta-search/multi-search engines, e.g. Dogpile, metacrawler, mamma etc • Most have huge databases of web resources • Databases are created by automated robots • Most search engines vary (slightly) in – how they function – what information is included in their database
  • 10. Search terms entered here The search took 0.35 seconds… 203,000 results were found… We need to do a more effective search!!
  • 11. The search took 0.37 seconds 162,000 results were found
  • 12. Planning a search strategy 1. Define your information need/Search term formulation 2. Choose your search terms 3. Decide which sources to use 4. Find out how the search tool functions 5. Run your search 6. Review and refine you search N.B. 1-3 can be done without a computer
  • 13. 1. Search formulation  Finding information is a function of how precise the search queries are.  poor queries return poor results - good queries return great results  Search formulation is the analysis of a topic to recognize key concepts and words that describe a topic (e.g Side Effect of the Methods of Family Planning Among University Students in Tanzania )  Before doing a search, it is important to define/analyze your topic as completely as possible.  unfortunately, this important step is often skipped  this step can be done without a computer 11/04/13 15
  • 14. Search formulation…  During search formulation consider the following: Distinctive words Synonyms - appearance/morphology Variant spellings - behaviour/behavior Phrases – “food security” Plurals - woman/women Acronyms - CaMV - Cauliflower mosaic virus Broader, narrower and related terms - livestock cattle/ sheep/ donkey Scientific Vs common names Compound words – wastewater/waste water/wastewater 11/04/13 16
  • 15. 2. Choose your search terms/Keywords • What unique words do you think will appear in the site/article you want? • Are there any key phrases? • Are there any synonyms, alternative spellings, plurals or capitals that you need to consider? • What broader topic is it a part of or related to?
  • 16. 3. Use appropriate information source of information. What sources are appropriate? • • • • • Individuals’ and organisations’ home pages Newspapers and magazines Subject gateways, databases, catalogues Journals—titles, abstracts or full text Reference resources, e.g., encyclopaedias, dictionaries • Books • Grey literature, e.g. government publications • Print/electronic
  • 17. Information sources…  Choose the most appropriate information source  Always begin a search with the most relevant resource  Specialized vs broad topic databases  Search engines – support keywords & phrases  Subject directories – support browsing  Information searchers are required to be familiar with a range of information resources in order to pick the right starting place during searching 11/04/13 19
  • 18. 3. Use appropriate search tools  In electronic databases, queries can be searched:  As phrase query Using Boolean operators Using truncation Using search limits  During searching, it is important to build on what is found i.e. If a relevant record is found, its keywords should be used to search other records Use one source to find other similar sources See if a Website that you find useful has a list of links to other sites, and check those out 11/04/13 20
  • 19. Phrase searching Use quotation marks (" ") to locate documents with a distinctive string of words.  “food security”, “sustainable development“  when using phrases, spaces between words are as important as any other character  e.g. if a double space is included between any two words in the query while the phrase typically has only one, the search will fail/will bring unexpected results  if a phrase is not specified in a search statement, the default search is one in which any of the words may be present  This can lead to thousands of useless hits.  11/04/13 21
  • 20. Precise terms Subject headings Subject field Boolean operator NOT Boolean operator AND Boolean operator OR Truncation Word searching Broader terms Searching in the title field Broadening search Narrowing search How to narrow/broaden your search results
  • 21. Boolean Searching  This is a logical relationship among search terms, and is named after the British mathematician George Boole  Boolean logic is used to construct search statements using logical operators and specified syntax  Boolean operators broaden, narrow or exclude search results  three main search operators: AND, OR and NOT  Boolean operators are case sensitive: only capital letters 11/04/13 23
  • 22. Combining terms with Boolean Operators • Use Boolean operators - AND, OR, NOT to connect terms and locate records containing matching terms • Type between terms in the search box
  • 23. AND  Retrieves records in which ALL search terms are present  It tends to narrow a search and make it focused  In the example below, records that contain both words “Environment AND Development” will be retrieved.  This operator is equivalent to intersection in set theory 11/04/13 25
  • 24. Boolean AND • AND = and/and: finds both malaria and children • Use the AND operator to limit or narrow a search Malaria AND Children Malaria Children
  • 25. Boolean AND • AND = and/and: finds both malaria and children • Use the AND operator to limit or narrow a search Malaria AND Children Malaria Children
  • 26. BOOLEAN “OR”  Retrieves records that contain EITHER of the search terms  Often used when looking for synonyms  Broadens a search and makes it less focused  Equivalent to the UNION operator in set theory 11/04/13 28
  • 27. Boolean “OR”… • OR = and/or: finds malaria or Plasmodium, or both terms • Use the OR operator to broaden a search Malaria OR Children malaria OR Plasmodium Malaria Children
  • 28. Boolean OR • OR = and/or: finds malaria or Plasmodium, or both terms • Use the OR operator to broaden a search Malaria OR Children Malaria Children
  • 29. Boolean NOT • NOT = finds parasite, but not in combination with malaria • Use the NOT operator to exclude search terms. • Risk of losing relevant references. Use with care! Malaria NOT Children Malaria Children
  • 30. Boolean NOT • NOT = finds parasite, but not in combination with malaria • Use the NOT operator to exclude search terms. • Risk of losing relevant references. Use with care! Malaria NOT Children Malaria Children
  • 31. Combining AND/OR (Malaria OR Plasmodium) AND Tanzania Malaria Plasmodium Tanzania
  • 32. Combining AND/OR (Tusk OR Animal horn) AND Protechion (Malaria OR Plasmodium) AND Tanzania (malaria children Malaria Plasmodium Tanzania
  • 33. Implied Boolean Logic  Nearly all internet search engines use implied Booleans  This is the use of arithmetic operators instead of traditional Boolean operators in many cases, a space between search terms defaults to AND e.g. in Google + is sometimes similar to AND - is similar to NOT  Some databases offer search templates whereby users choose Booleans from a menu  Sometimes logical operators are expressed with substitute language (e.g. in Google advanced search) 11/04/13 35
  • 34. Full Boolean OR Implied Boolean substitute language college OR university [rarely available] any of the words at least one of the words should contain the words AND poverty AND crime poverty crime all of these words must contain the words NOT cats NOT dogs cats -dogs must not contain the words should not contain the words 11/04/13 Sife 36
  • 35. Other search engines features • Phrase searching: allows you to search for an exact phrase e.g. “information literacy” • Truncation/wildcards: allow you to search alternative spellings, e.g. analyse, analyze • Case sensitivity: recognition of upper or lower cases in search terms • Fields: searches specifically in fields such as the ‘title’, ‘URL’ or ‘links’ • Stop words: searches may ignore common words such as: and, if, an, the
  • 36. 5. Run the search • Take the terms/keywords you have decided on • Find the sources you are going to search • Read the ‘Help’ page!! to find out how that particular tool works • Run the search
  • 37. Truncation Truncation means to chop off. When you truncate you chop off the end of the word, so the computer can search for multiple endings. For example, your research question includes the keyword education. You can truncate education, so that the computer will find all of the word ending variations. Educat* will find: Education Educate Educated Educating Truncate sentences e.g. “poverty * strategies”
  • 38. Truncation Be careful where you place the truncation symbol. Educate* will not find education or educating, although it will find educate and educated. Truncation will not find synonyms (i.e. scien* will not find the words botany, biology, or astronomy), although it may bring up articles on those topics IF they include the words science, scientific, or scientist.
  • 39. Search Limits Search Limit will limit search terms to fields such as ‘title’, ‘URL’’ ‘site’ etc. Specifying the format of the file you want to retrieve filetype: restricts results to files ending in various formats such as doc“, xls, ppt, pdf etc. "e.g. malaria prevention methods in Tanzania filetype:pdf Note that filetype:ppt and filetype:xls will not pick up the newer version .pptx and xlsx formats so you will need to incorporate both into your strategy, For example: filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx 11/04/13 41
  • 40. Search Limits… Searching document whose titles contain your search terms This assures the relevance of the query we are searching allintitle: restricts results to those with the specified terms in the title  e.g. allintitle: “Family Planning” Tanzania 11/04/13 42
  • 41. Search Limits… Search the Urls which with the search term your choice. •allinurl: restricts results to webpages that contain the query terms in the URL.  e.g. allinurl:healthy eating 11/04/13 43
  • 42. Search Limits… • site: restrict your search results to the site you specify.  e.g. GMO site:www.fao.org  Malaria prevention site: http://ihi.eprints.org will limit your results to a specific domain such as .org, .go, .edu, .com, .mil • site:domain e.g. gender violence site:org 11/04/13 44
  • 43. Creative Searching Why creativity:? • There is a lot out there: it requires a creative mind to help get relevant and useful information • Creativity helps to think of way or means of obtaining relevant information by employing different search techniques and search terms.
  • 44. You can be creative in the following ways • Creativity through synthesis (combination) of search techniques – Combine two or more search techniques and/or functionalities of search tools to get better results • Creativity through looking for alternative search terms and sources – Using various alternative or related terms to get meaningful results – Using alternative sources to obtain useful information (electronic to print, look in other libraries, persons, ILL or document delivery)
  • 45. Common words/Stop words • Search engines automatically ignore common words and characters known as “stop words.” • a, about, an, and, are, as, at, be, by, from, how, i, in, is, it, of, on, or, that, the, this, to, we, what, when, where, which, with.
  • 46. Special Search Characters Vary between different search engines •Examples: ~ in Google searches synonyms | in Google stands for OR Boolean
  • 47. Advanced Search Screen Like article databases, most search engines have an advanced search screen. This screen offers many options to help you refine your search.
  • 48. Google’s Advanced Search Screen
  • 49. Search Engines • A search engine consists of the interface you use to type in a query, an index of Web sites that the query is matched with, and a software program (called a spider or robot) that goes out on the Web and gets new sites for the index. • The robot crawls the Web at certain intervals, in order to index new material. When you use a search engine, you are asking it to look in its index to find matches with the words you have typed in. • Many search engines may also have news, weather, free software, picture indexes, ratings of web sites, and other features.
  • 50. Search engines – – – – – Google www.google.com Ask.com www.ask.com Gigablast www.gigablast.com Searchalot www.searchalot.com Yahoo search.yahoo.com • 11/04/13 52
  • 51. Directories Directories are categorized lists of sites picked out by human editors. Directory databases are therefore much smaller than those of search engines. However, the fact that the sites are hand picked often means that you will find very high quality sites or articles in the results •Google Directory (directory.google.com) •Open Directory Project (http://dmoz.org) •Yahoo! Directory (http://dir.yahoo.com) •PINAKES •Academic Info (www.academicinfo.net) •BUBL Link (http://bubl.ac.uk) •INFOMINE (http://infomine.ucr.edu) •The Internet Public Library (www.ipl.org) •Intute (www.intute.ac.uk) •Librarians' Internet Index (http://lii.org)
  • 52. Google’s other databases
  • 53. 6. Review and revise your search Hopefully you have found what are looking for, or at least places to start from, but • Be prepared to review and revise your search scope and strategy • Try new sources of information (familiarity is sometimes too easy) • Start again near the beginning of this process if you need to
  • 54. Use the information! • Ensure you keep an accurate records for future use/citation • Promote high-quality resources to your colleagues/users • Encourage others to adopt techniques and strategies that you have found successful • Pass on your expert knowledge
  • 55. Summary • Use of effective search strategies is essential • The use of a search strategy checklist should be encouraged • Understand and use advanced searching • Boolean searches are powerful and under used • Learn the search routines for all packages and electronic information sources
  • 56. Thank you 11/04/13 58