Many of you will use the Colby libraries online resources, which included databases.
A database is software that allows people to search, sort, and retreive information. Our entire world is run by databases - information on products sold by Amazon are stored in databases, as is information used by Netflix for their movies, Google stores information on webpages in databases and Moodle at Colby is a database.
Some scholarly databases are highly organized and bring together material focused on a particular field or genre. Others, like Academic Search Complete allows you to search a number of underlying databases, with some degree of diminished functionality.
The libraries has many different databases, and they may seem to differ greatly at first glance. However, aside from content, most databases operate in a fairly similar way in regards to discovery and searching.
If you are familiar with a set of basic techniques for structuring and focusing your search in any of them, you can quickly master almost anything you will encounter, even if that sometimes means discovering that a particular feature is not supported by a given resource.
This guide seeks to introduce you to those basic techniques.
Keep your search simple
Search on key concepts (using synonyms if necessary) one at a time
|Concept 1||Concept 2|
|blaze, blazes, blazing||mammal, mammals|
|burns, burning||bird, birds|
Use AND, OR, NOT accurately:
|Search Concept 1||Set #1||FIRE* OR BLAZ* OR BURN*|
|Search Concept 2||Set #2||FAUNA OR MAMMAL* OR BIRD*|
|Combine both concepts||Set #3||#1 AND # 2|
Build your sets of concepts, then combine them as needed
|Search a third concept||Set #4||grassland* or prairie*|
|Omit 3rd concept from previous results||Set #5||#3 NOT #4|
The SEARCH HISTORY command shows your previous searches. You can return to them, or combine them in different combinations as you refine your search.
Don't waste time getting nowhere. After 10-15 min., ask an SRS librarian for help!