ONLINE DATABASES

INTRODUCTION

In the course of identifying and locating the material that meets your information need you will use variety of information sources. They could range from books and journal articles, print and non print sources. This module focuses specifically on finding electronic journal articles using subscribed online databases of the library.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

  • ONLINE DATABASES
  • Online databases are collections of computerized information or data such as articles, books, graphics and multimedia that can be searched to find information. Databases can be general or subject based in form of abstracts and or full text.

  • ABSTRACT
  • A brief, objective representation of the essential content of a book, article, speech, report, dissertation, patent, standard, or other work, presenting the main points in the same order as the original but having no independent literary value.

  • FULL TEXT
  • An electronic resource that provides the entire text of a single work or of articles published in one or more journals, magazines, and/or newspapers. For example, a bibliographic database that provides the complete text of a significant proportion of the works indexed, in addition to the bibliographic citation and an abstract of the content.

  • HTML
  • An acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language, the "Computer Language" used so browsers will know how to display information on the web. It documents links, text, graphics, and attached media.

  • PDF
  • Short for Portable Document Format, a file format developed by Adobe Systems. PDF makes it possible to send and read documents on a computer monitor or printer as they would appear in paper format.



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DATABASE VS. INTERNET

  • Databases
    • Paid by our library
    • Content is evaluated by publishers for authority and licensed for electronic distribution
  • Internet

    • Free to everyone
    • Anyone can publish whatever they want
    • Information can be one-sided, incomplete or incorrect

WHEN DO WE USE THEM?

  • Databases
    • When you need scholarly journal articles, magazine articles, and information not indexed or available on the web
    • When you are in a hurry database contain credible information at one access point so you don't have to sift through numerous websites and try to evaluate their credibility
    • When you are looking for biographies, statistics and biographical entries
  • Internet
    • When you are willing to evaluate the content of websites
    • Want to visit a specific website
    • Want to access digital collections
    • Want to access government information
    • Want to access commercial sites
    • Want to see advertisements
    • Want instant access to today's news
    • Want to find information on organizations, groups, personal Web pages related to a topic



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SEARCH STRATEGIES

Introduction

When you are ready to search the databases it is important to have an understanding of how to search effectively. There are a number of techniques you can use to retrieve relevant search results. The following are some search strategies' that can help ease your search.

Limiting your Search

Most databases have several functions built into their search screens that enable you to limit your search. These include limiting to :

  • Year/s published
  • Full-text articles
  • Publication title
  • Peer reviewed journals
  • Review articles

Search Terms or Descriptors

When searching in databases we tend to use the keywords or subject terms that are known to us, or those that form part of an assignment question. These are not necessarily the terms used in the database. Specific terms or descriptors are assigned to each item indexed in a database. These terms reflect the topic/s covered in an article. Searching by descriptor will retrieve items substantially about that topic, whereas searching by keyword may retrieve both relevant and irrelevant terms.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators can assist you when you are searching in catalogues and databases to find more relevant search results. These are AND, OR, NOT.

  1. AND
    • Specifies that both words must occur in a record (e.g. study skills and research).
    • The results will contain terms both study skills and research.
    • Remember using AND can help to narrow and reduce search results
  2. OR
    • Specifies that other word/s can occur in a record (e.g. study skills or research).
    • The results can contain items which include either study skills research.
  3. NOT
    • Specifies that one word but not the other word must occur in a record (e.g. study skill not research)
    • The result will contain about study skills and not research.
    • Remember using NOT can help narrow your search

Truncation

The dropping of characters and the addition of a symbol at the end, beginning, or within a word in a keywords search to retrieve variant forms. Truncation is particularly useful in retrieving the singular and plural forms of a word in the same search. Database uses variety of symbols for truncation. You will need to check the database help folder to identify the symbol used in each database.

Some of the commonly used symbols are:
(*) asterisk
($) dollar sign
(?) question mark

Wild Cards

Wildcards are used to substitute a symbol for a single letter (character) of a word. This is very useful for searching if the word has different spelling (American, British), or word forms. The wildcard symbol will vary for each database. You will need to check the help files of the database before you start searching to identify which symbol is used.

Some of the commonly used wildcards symbols are:
(?) question mark
(#) hash
(!) exclamation point

LIBRARY DATABASES

EBSCO

Select a topic of interest to you, or if the topic is assigned to you, seek out an aspect of the assigned topic that is of interest to you. Select an original topic. If you are having trouble choosing a topic, you can find suggestions in the variety of reference sources such as encyclopedias and bibliographies.

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Welcome to EBSCO Publishing’s Basic Searching for Academic Libraries tutorial, a concise guide to the most popular EBSCOhost features, including tips on how to make the most of them in an academic library environment.

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We’ll begin by conducting a Basic Search on space shuttle. Note that if you misspell your keyword(s), the Spellchecker function will suggest alternate spellings. The Result List defaults to showing All Results, and can be filtered to view results by specific document type, such as Academic Journals, Magazines, or Books and Monographs, using the links at the top of the list.

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Under the Refine Search tab, it is easy to limit or expand your search results. Depending upon the search method and databases you have chosen, you may see the ability to limit a search by Full Text articles, Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, or a particular publication that you enter in the field provided.

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You can print, email or save a single result from the detailed display when you click on a title link. To print, email or save multiple results, add them to the folder, then print, email or save them from inside the folder. Folder contents can be saved by clicking on the Sign in link, and then setting up a personalized (My EBSCOhost) folder account at no charge.

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The Subject Terms authority file is a controlled vocabulary that assists in more effectively searching the database. You can browse this list alphabetically, or as Relevancy Ranked, using the radio buttons. For a specific subject, enter a term in the Browse for field, click Browse, then check the box in front of the desired subject term, click Add to place it in the Find field, then add search terms.

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The Indexes authority file facilitates browsing through a drop-down list of database indexes, then entering terms to search for in the selected index field of all database records. Click the Browse button to see a resulting list of terms and how many articles in which they appear, with an exact match first, when available. Check the box in front of the desired subject term, click Add to place it in the Find field, then add search terms.

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The Cited References authority file enables users to extend a search beyond the initial Result List, to those records cited by an article. Simply enter an author, source, title and/or publication year to view a list of cited references in the database articles. Check the box of a result and click Find Citing Articles to find article that have cited your result.

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HELP: At any time during your session, you can click on the Help link to view the complete online Help system. All topics on the left are active links that can be printed as handouts. You may also visit the EBSCO Support Site at support.ebsco.com to browse our Knowledge Base of FAQs, download Help Sheets or User Guides, view additional tutorials, or see what’s new in our Top Stories. This concludes our Basic Searching for Academic Libraries tutorial.



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PROQUEST

  • To begin searching ProQuest, start your Web browser and go to the homepage of University of Santo Tomas Library at http://library.ust.edu.ph.
  • Under the QUICK LINKS section, click on "Online Databases."
  • You will then see a list of the databases available. Click on "ProQuest."

  • When you first enter the database, by default you will be on the Basic Search screen, as shown below:

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You are now ready to enter your search terms. When entering your search terms, you may use Boolean operators to expand or narrow your search, and you may use the asterisk (*) to truncate or perform a stem search. Illustrated below is a sample search for articles relating to medical technology. After typing your terms, click the "Search" button to perform your search.

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By entering your search as shown above, ProQuest will find articles indexed under the keywords medical technology—any word with the stem of medical technology Because we have connected the terms with the Boolean operator "and," the two terms are required, but they do not have to be in any particular order, nor do they have to appear back-to-back..

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Also notice in the search above that we have limited the results to full-text articles by checking the appropriate box. All of the ProQuest databases to which the Library subscribes will be searched. There is no limit by date.

Using an Advanced Search in ProQuest

An Advanced Search in ProQuest allows you to set up a focused search strategy and look for specific pieces of information in the record of an article. For example, you could search for a specific author by name, words in a title, the title of a publication, a type of article, etc. This type of search technique is known as "field searching," because you are looking for information in specific fields that comprise a record.

To enter an Advanced Search, first click on the tab labeled "Advanced Search," which appears on the top of your screen. The Advanced Search screen will display, as shown below:

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If you click on the box labeled "Citation and abstract," a drop-down list will display, showing you which fields are available for searching. To select a field to search, simply highlight it with your cursor and release.

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The sample search shown below would retrieve full-text articles indexed under the subject of "business ethics" and indexed under the company name "Enron." Click on the "Search" button to execute your search.

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Other Search Options

  • The Topics Search lets you browse indexed terms and controlled vocabulary relating to a subject. This approach is useful when you're new to searching online or when you're looking for information on a general topic.
  • The Publications Search is a simple way to browse your favorite magazine or newspaper. It allows you to look for a specific publication or to look at all the articles in a particular issue of a magazine, journal, or newspaper.
  • Browse Topics Tool If you click on the link labeled "Browse Topics" on the tools bar from the Basic Search screen, a window will open, listing ProQuest's indexed terms and controlled vocabulary. You may browse this list and add relevant terms to your search strategy.


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Viewing Your Search Results

  • Use the Search Results page to review the list of articles found matching the search words you entered. You can use your Results List to read articles online or to save them to your Marked List in order to read them, e-mail them, or print them later.

  • To view articles in your search results, simply click on the article title, or click the icon corresponding to the format you want to view. Icons on the Search Results page let you know which formats are available for each of the articles on your list.
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Managing Your Articles

In addition to reading your articles, you can also use the Marked List to help you manage the articles you've found. Use the Search Results page to save information about your search and the articles it found.

  • To save an article to your Marked List, check the box next to the article.
  • To save your search to your list of Durable Links, click Save Link. You'll find the Save Link button at the top of your Search Results page. Saving a link to your search allows you to run it again later or to combine it with other words in a future search.
  • To save an article that interests you to your list of Durable Links, use Article Display. Open the article in the display format you prefer, then click Save Link. You'll find the Save Link button at the top of the Article Display page. Saving a link to your article will allow you to view the article from another location or to share the article with others by e-mailing them the link.

Obtaining Copies of Articles

Once you have evaluated the results and decided which articles you want copies of, you have two options: you can either print the article, if your computer is connected to a printer; or you can e-mail a copy of the article to your e-mail address. Generally speaking, if you are working on your home computer, you will probably want to print the article, provided you have a printer.

  • To print a copy of the article, click on the "Print" button on the Article View screen. This command will format the article for printing. Then, click "File" on your browser's menu bar and drag down to "Print."
  • To e-mail an article, click on the "Email" button on the Article View screen, then when prompted, type in your e-mail address.

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Citing a Full-text Article Obtained from ProQuest Remember to document your sources! The two styles most often used by LBCC students are MLA (Modern Library Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). ProQuest will provide you with citations to your articles. First, mark your selected articles by checking the box next to the article on the Search Results page. Click on "Viewed marked articles." This will take you to the Marked List page.

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Click on "Print your bibliograpy." Cannot Locate Image Select a citation style. Then, click on the "Print" button, and you will see a formatted bibliography of the citations you marked, which you can then print from the print command in your browser.

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JSTOR

JSTOR

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Search: Basic

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Search Results: Articles

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Search Results: Images in JSTOR

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Search Results: Images in ARTstor

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Search: Advanced

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Search: Article Locator

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MyJSTOR

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MyJSTOR: Citation Management

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MyJSTOR: Registration

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Browse: By Discipline

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Browse: By Title

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Browse: By Publisher

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Page View

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Article Navigation

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Questions or Comments?

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