College freshmen are expected to understand and use databases properly. So...
Let's get going!
NOTE: Most databases and search engines will allow full or limited Boolean searching. Google and Yahoo also have directory searching as part of their services. Check them out!
1. Hand picked
2. Allow for serendipitous discovery.
1. Access to huge amount of information.
2. Allow full-text searching.
(Adapted from: Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries )
The triumvirate of search engines.
. Google Yahoo! Bing (MSN) are basically the unique search engines out there.
The others mostly "borrow" their searchware, index or results from them.
Who owns what on the internet? So far...
Yahoo owns Delicious, Flickr
Google owns Youtube, Picassa, Blogger
Microsoft owns Bing
If you're interested in search engines, check this site: searchenginewatch.com
Both databases and search engines use and, or, not. But they use them differently and you must learn them.
Here is how you use the 3 operators with databases.
AND - All the search terms must appear in the results entries
More and more databases use the implicit "and" like most search engines do. This means that you do not have to write [and] as it is assumed you want all the words written in your query. When in doubt, write it out: and.
cognition and nutrition
OR - Either one of both terms will be searched
You must write the words as is, in small letters.
"global warming" or "climate change"
NOT - Excludes a term you don't want in your results
You must write the word as is, in small letters.
depression not treatments
Truncation (* in EBSCO)
(also called stem searching)
To truncate means "to cut". Databases allow you to search for variations of a word by "cutting" the word down to its root or stem then by adding a symbol to replace all the possible combinations.
Databases may use different truncation symbols and EBSCO uses the asterix * symbol (the star).
[comp*] will retrieve computer, computers, computerized, computing, etc.
[adolescen*] will retrieve adolescent, adolescents, adolescence
Wildcard (? or # in EBSCO)
. The wildcard symbol is used to replace one character within a search word. E.g., [ne?t] will retrieve neat, nest, next. Different databases may use different symbols. heck the help section of the database to find out what symbol it uses.
Proximity operators expand your searches (in databases only, not with Google)
N (near) and W (within) are used to search terms that are in proximity to each other. Check if and how your search engine supports proximity searches.
E.g., N5 means you want to search the search terms within 5 words of each other > [tax N5 reform] will retrieve tax reform and reform of income tax
E.g., W8 means you want to search the terms within 8 words of each other and in that order > [tax W8 reform] reform will retrieve tax reform but not reform of income tax
Use of parentheses ( ) (in databases only, not with Google)
Most engines will execute your search query from left to right. The order of the operators in your query is important as the order of execution will be led by the AND operator, then by the OR operator and finally by the NOT operator. To control the execution of your query, use (parenthesis) to group search terms.
The engine will first execute the operation within parenthesis then perform the other operations of your query in order. Databases will almost always allow you to use full boolean searching, including the use of parenthesis and other symbols.
jungle and (cats or felines)
(cats or dogs) and (contest or show)
((mouse OR rat) AND trap) OR mousetrap