Effective Searching: Checklist


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This handout summarises some of the tools covered by the Durham Researcher Development Programme's "Search Strategies: Effective Searching" workshop.

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  • What this session does not cover: assumes your continuing awareness of the potential bias of reporting in newspapers.Highlight that the session is not looking at newspapers from the point of view of a specific use. Different attendees will have different uses for them:- Facts and details about current opinion Views and opinion on the same Social Sciences students may use as a resource to extract and analyse comment, opinion through tools such as Nvivo. Letters and opinion pieces Profiles Business reporting, news, profiles and data Language and linguistics Political analysis Historic research – BMDs, opinion (private and public), events, commentary, political tracts etc.
  • Various resources vary in coverage in different aspects:Scale (is your research interest geo-specific in coverage. Some resources may cover national news only, whilst others may include regional or local news).Language (Most coverage will be english language news, but some resources also cover multiple titles from other countries in native languages – egNexis covers over 50 national and regional German newspapers. But searching in English may be limited)Currency (Different resources will offer access to varying range of online coverage of newspaper content. We will come back to looking at more historic news content, but many ‘recent’ online collections may only go back to the 1990s and 1980s. Think also about the currency – For example, Times newspapers and FT may sit behind a paywall on the web, but we have access through some subscription databases. What you may find however is that even here, news content may not be available until after a certain point on the day of publishing – eg FT after 11am only on Nexis?)
  • [animation in slide]Assuming the obvious: that you know most newspapers and news sites have an online presence, many of which provide free access, others provided limited free access, others provide only pay-to-view access.However, we’re going to explore a number of resources which allow you to power search multiple sources, from different localities or countries, at the same time often covering a larger archive back some 20-30 years or more.As with most of the library resources, knowing they exist, how to access them and how to search them will potentially save you time.
  • Point out access point from library website: Services and Sites / Other Online Resources / News ResourcesTitles range in coverage from 1980s / mid-1990s to present (although some include content from earlier than this for some titles).Lack of context (eg articles exploring different aspect of same topic may be separated) and text only (may lack fact/text boxes accompanying main article, will definitely lack accompanying images and graphics).… but, useful to search multiple titles at once, identify key articles of interest… and can then use this information to see if can access articles on publishers own site separately.InfoTrac: Gale CENGAGE Learning: Full-Text Custom Newspaper Database - Coverage for Durham Uni: - Daily Telegraph 11/99 - current - Guardian 1/96 - current - Independent 1/96 - current -Independent on Sunday 1/96 - current - Observer 1/96 - current - Sunday Telegraph 11/99 - current - Sunday Times 1/85 - current - Times 1/85 - current.N.B. – up to previous day, not todays news.Nexis UK - Much larger number of resources (international, regional, local… and including present day) - Not just newspapers… includes global newswires, business wires etc. So important to select sources carefully before searching.Factiva – explain about separate login. LikeNexis, international content. Not as much UK content if looking at regional and local titles, but still from 545 UK Newspapers. Content from publications in 22 languages.Point out option to search social media.
  • Mention coverage might be across multiple services, so always check the library catalogue (use Times Literary Supplement as an example)TLS: Archive back to 1902 available via the same platform (works in a similar way rather than actually looking the same) as infotrac. TLS, TES and ThES: need different passwords, available from library catalogue screen (not Durham CIS password).Economist:NB – on web page indicates 1997-current only. In fact, we have a full text archive back to 1843 via the same platform (works in a similar way rather than actually looking the same) as infotrac. [screenshot on next hidden slide]JISC Media hub: TV news, documentary films, still images and classical music and includes the contents of Film & Sound Online and Newsfilm online. The films are of high quality, and are fully downloadable, either in full or as segments, and can be used freely in learning, teaching and research.News on film:Documents almost 160,000 individual stories from twenty-two cinema newsreels and cinemagazines, 1910-1983. Mention when you first access, won’t be given immediate access to films. May need to click on ‘Movietone’ logo and login/register. Offer to demo for anyone accessing it during hands-on. [screenshot on upcoming hidden slide]
  • Actually freely available...
  • Expanding your search is about two things:Thinking about all possible terms/spellings/concepts which might be applicable to what you are looking at, to ensure you don’t accidentally rule out any useful result simply due to semantics.If you have focussed a search too much, and aren’t finding the results you expect, about widening your net to see what else you can find.You’ll have some keywords in mind but as few of you will be experts in this area you will need to think about how others have framed research in this field. You will find that the keywords you use will change once you start looking for information and finding relevant resources. You can borrow their search terms and add to your list.synonyms: e.g. survey or questionnaire – make sure you don’British and American spellings: use wildcards e.g. colo?r finds colour and colortruncation: e.g. educati* finds education, educating, educationalist
  • Times Digital Archive 1785-2006Scanned pages = see news in contextSearch by article typeSearch vacuum cleaner in advertisingBritish Newspapers 1600-1900Two collections: C17th & 18th; C19thView pages or articlesVarying coverage - e.g. Newcastle Journal only one issue but Newcastle Courant over 4000 issuesAsks ‘stop running this script’ say noBrowse publication by location England NE Newcastle
  • For those of you who have used, want to use or excited to use…[demo offered at end of session]
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/26296445@N05/5917135851
  • Individual newspapers e.g. BBCAdditional sources e.g. Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. Generic search engines advanced options (eg Google)News-specific search engines SilobreakerSilobreaker is a search service for news and current affairs that aims to provide more relevant results to the user than what traditional search and aggregation engines have been offering so far. Instead of returning just lists of articles matching a search query, Silobreaker finds people, companies, organisations, topics, places and keywords; understands how they relate to each other in the news flow, and puts them in context through graphical results in its intuitive user interface. Only the news-search service is free.The site pulls content on global issues, science, technology, energy and business from thousands of news sources, blogs, multimedia, and other forms of news media from around the world. With the engine’s focus on finding and connecting related data in the information flow, Silobreaker’s user tools and visualisations are ideal for bringing meaning to content from either today’s Web or the evolving Semantic Web, or bothNewsNow, Simmly operate in similar ways, searching multiple news and social media sources, online news sites, press wires and press announcements from private, public and third sectors.
  • Kidon Media link – useful site for identifying, and linking through to, newspapers from particularcountries and regions
  • Effective Searching: Checklist

    1. 1. Finding Information: Effective Searching Broaden your search Problem Solution Example Search results missing alternative terms which authors may have used. Use an ‘OR’ connector between terms where either one or both should appear in your results. teenager OR adolescent Search results missing alternative spellings of terms you wish to find. Use a wildcard tool to indicate where 1 or more alternative or missing letters might appear. organi?ation col?r (NB – often a question mark or asterisk, but varies between databases) Search results missing alternative word endings where an author has used a different tense of the term you had searched for Use a truncation tool to indicate there may be alternative endings to a word stem to search for. negligen! (NB – often an exclamation mark or asterisk, but varies between databases) Narrow your search Action required Solution Example Filter out results which aren’t discussing all of the key concepts you are interested in Use an ‘AND’ connector between terms where both should appear in your results. teenager AND “substance abuse” Filter out results which might happen to mention two terms you are interested in, but where they may be mentioned in unrelated discussions Use a proximity connector to instruct the database to only return results where term X appears within so many words of term Y. teenager w/3 “substance abuse” (NB – what symbol is used / how it used, varies a lot by database) Return results only where a specific phrase appears Include the phrase/name in quotation marks. “Duty of care” “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” “Sports Direct” Exclude results where a certain term appears Use a NOT indicator before a term you wish to exclude “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” NOT “Chile” Checklist
    2. 2. Wildcard (1 character) Wildcard (other) Wildcard (other) Truncation Proximity (in order) NOT connector Proximity (any order) Library Discover ? (organi?ation) * (colo*r) (1 or more characters) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual Google Scholar * ((national * wage) - alternative or missing terms (eg minimum, living)) Property -Intellectual Ebscohost ? (organi?ation) # (colo#r) (0 or 1 character) * ((national * wage) - alternative or missing terms (eg minimum, living)) negligen* W5 (tax W5 reform) Property NOT Intellectual N5 (tax N5 reform) Proquest ? (organi?ation) * (colo*r) (0 or 1 character) $5 ((nutr$5) - truncation up to stated number of missing characters (max 125)) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual NEAR/5 (tax NEAR/5 reform) JSTOR ? (organi?ation) * (int*net) (0 or more characters) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual "tax reform"~5 Science Direct ? (organi?ation) * (int*net) (0 or more characters) negligen* PRE/5 (tax PRE/5 reform) Property AND NOT Intellectual W/5 (tax W/5 reform) Westlaw UK * (organi*ation) negligen! /5 (tax /5 reform) - also allows for /s (same sentence) and /p (same paragraph) Property % Intellectual LexisLibrary & Nexis * (organi*ation) negligen! W/5 (tax W/5 reform) - also allows for W/s (same sentence) and W/p (same paragraph) Property AND NOT Intellectual HeinOnline ? (organi?ation) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual "tax reform"~5 OVID # (organi#ation) ? (colo?r) (0 or 1 character) negligen$ Property NOT Intellectual adj5 (tax adj5 reform) PubMed (Native interface) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual FirstSearch – ArticleFirst # (organi#ation) ? (int?net) (0 or more characters) negligen* W5 (tax W5 reform) N5 (tax N5 reform) Web of Science ? (organi?ation) $ (colo$r) (0 or 1 character) * (int*net) (0 or more characters) negligen* Property NOT Intellectual NEAR/5 (tax NEAR/5 reform)