The key to being a savvy online searcher is to use common search techniques that you can apply to almost any database, including article databases, online catalogs and even commercial search engines.
- This is important because searching library databases is a bit different from searching Google.
- The techniques described in this section will enable you to quickly retrieve relevant information from the thousands of records in a database.
- When you search a database and do not get the results you expect, use the Questions? for advice. Library staff are happy to help you find what you need.
USE ADVANCED SEARCH WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Almost all databases will offer an advanced search feature which will walk you through the use of many of the tips below.
USE AND to narrow your results. AND tells the database that ALL search terms must be present in the resulting hits.
Example: Vietnam AND protestors AND college students
USE PHRASE SEARCHING to narrow you results. Phrase searching - putting quotation marks around words that should stay together in a search - causes the words to show up in the results as you expect them to be.
Example: "Tet Offensive" ; "Vietnam veterans" ; "Fall of Saigon"
USE OR to connect two or more similar concepts (synonyms). This will increase you results by telling the database that ANY of your search terms can be present in the resulting records. Notice that you place parentheses around the similar concepts.
Example: (Johnson OR Nixon) AND "foreign policy" AND Vietnam