TOPIC 1: Searching Databases

Related to my previous post on whether I represent Herring’s poster-child for web searching, I have just finished the tasks for Topic 1’s ‘searching for relevant resources’ on library databases.

So what did I learn?

  • That I now love and actively use the truncation function. Truncation is where you use the starting letters of something you want to search for, then by placing an asterisk after the letter, the search engine will search for anything beginning with those letter. For example, if I want to search for anything to do with education/educating/educate, I would write  educat* and it will hit any of the aforementioned words. Pretty nifty stuff. In all my previous 4 years of university study I never knew of this function, whereas now I rarely do a search that doesn’t include at least one word truncated.
  • That I love the folder option available on the EbscoHost Database – Academic Search. As you are searching, you often get multiple possible winning articles that show up. Instead of clicking on each one, assessing it, then either saving or discarding it, the folder function allows you to quickly place any possible winners in a folder for you to assess and sort through later. This allowed me to do the search much more quickly, then see from the ones saved in my folder which seem better than others on an easy comparative basis. Wonderful feature that unfortunately Informit A+ Education didn’t have.
  • That I love the date function. All the database search sites allow you to narrow your search by publication year. I found through my readings that publication year is very important in studying the field of librarianship as the technology and opinions regarding that technology changes, or is advanced, quickly. An article written in 2000 could possible not be as useful as an article on the same topic written in 2009. When doing the search tasks I was inundated by too many hits, I often used this date function to limit my findings to a period of 2003-present.
  • Always check the Full Text box. Self explanatory. There is nothing worse than finding a subject line that perfectly describes what you are researching, then realising the subject line and abstract is all you will ever see of this perfect text is heartbreaking. Best to never know those non-access texts exist and stick with lovely plump full-text articles from the beginning.

The other strategies mention in the course notes, such as inserting filters and limits on where the search for the key words and adding more search words to limit results, I already was in the habit of using from previous university years, but it was still good to refresh these in my head as it as been a few years since I was a student last.

Overall a very good warming up exercise for the course.


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