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W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Oxford University Library Services – Information Skills Training Key Search Skills for Searching.

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Presentation on theme: "W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Oxford University Library Services – Information Skills Training Key Search Skills for Searching."— Presentation transcript:

1 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Oxford University Library Services – Information Skills Training Key Search Skills for Searching the Scientific Literature Gabriella Netting, Penny Roberts 6 November 2005

2 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources What will we cover?  Reasons for conducting a literature search  Organisation and access of scientific literature  Search strategies for subject searching  Evaluation  Citation searching  Demonstration of a database search

3 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Some reasons for searching:  Specific information  E.g. specific data needed for an experiment, information about a technique, a mathematical equation, explanation of an observed phenomenon, etc.  Research needs  E.g. finding relevant data/information for a project, an essay, or an exhaustive search for a preparation of a systematic review  Current Awareness  E.g. monitoring progress in a specific research interest

4 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Organisation of scientific literature:  Primary literature  These are the first published results of an original investigation usually reported by an individual or a research group.  Examples: conference papers, patents, theses/dissertations, research articles, pre- prints  Peer review process  Intended audience: researchers within the same field  Specialised vocabulary  No financial rewards for the publication

5 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Basic structure of primary literature:  Abstract or introduction  Methodology  Results and discussion  Conclusion  References  Examples: Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, American Journal of Surgery, etc.

6 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Organisation of the scientific literature cont.  Secondary literature  This is information about primary sources in a condensed format.  Examples: bibliographies, encyclopedias, also textbooks and review articles  Intended for wider audience  Not peer reviewed  Written by journalists  Publications contain advertisements  Examples: Nature, Science, Scientific American etc.

7 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources How do we access scientific literature?  Papers are recorded by indexing/abstracting services  The records are electronically searchable  Results contain all necessary information to find the paper  Some results will link to electronic full text but not all of them!

8 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Search skills  Finding the best search terms  Combining terms using connectors  Finding appropriate information sources  Selecting, evaluating and saving results  Retrieve full text electronically or in print

9 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Where to start?

10 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Journal article databases  Used to find papers, book chapters and book reviews (N.B. references only, NOT necessarily full text)  They could cover a specific subject or many subjects  Are not necessarily tied to library holdings  They look different but have similar functionality

11 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources A couple of definitions  Bibliographic (journal article) Database = a systematic compilation of citations of journal articles (Use these to search for content, e.g. book chapters and journal articles )  Library Catalogue = a list of books, journals, maps, records, etc. held in the library (Use this to search for a book or journal, once you know the title of the journal or the author or title of a book)

12 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Interdisciplinary journal databases for the sciences  Web of Knowledge  Web of Science covers journals in all subject areas  Scopus  Covers all sciences and some social science

13 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources How to create a search strategy?  Ask a clear search question e.g. What are the popular ways of losing weight?  Break the question into search concepts e.g. popular, ways, losing, weight  Select a range of related search terms popular: common, favourite etc. ways: methods, techniques etc. losing: lose, reduction, reducing etc. weight: fat, diet etc.  Combine terms into a search strategy by using Boolean operators

14 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Combine terms using Boolean connectors: AND, OR, NOT  AND to narrow the search  OR to broaden the search (use this to combine synonyms, or related terms)  NOT excludes search terms

15 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources AND, OR, NOT methods weightlosing

16 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Other search tricks  Symbols for wildcards and truncation  ? for a single character within the word  wom?n for woman or women  * for truncation or variant spellings  enzym* for enzyme, enzymes, enzymology etc  “use this” for searching for phrases e.g. “ creation theory ”

17 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Final search string: Topic: Popular ways of losing weight Search string could be: (popular OR common OR favo?rite) AND (way* OR method* OR technique*) AND (los* OR reduc*) AND (weight or fat or diet*)

18 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Evaluate your results:  By relevance  By the source material  By citations  For web resources: URL, currency, layout, working links, etc.

19 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Getting your hands on the full-text Is there a TOUR link from the database?  Click on it to access the full-text if available  Check TDNet 

20 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Getting hold of the full text (cont.)  Is it available in print in an Oxford library?  Check OLIS   If not, request the document from a document provider through your library

21 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Citation Searching  Doing a search on just one citation allows you to create a bibliography of both old and new research related to your topic.  To work back in time: use the bibliography at the end of the paper  To work forward in time: use a citation index to see how many papers referred to the original paper subsequently.  Examples : Science Citation Index, Scopus and Google Scholar

22 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Any questions about:  Access to databases and e-journals :  Radcliffe Science Library services:

23 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources We welcome feedback  You will get an with the online evaluation form in due course.  Next WISER Science session: Keeping up to date with the literature. Monday, 13 November This session will show you ways of using electronic bibliographic resources to keep up with the literature in your field by creating personal research / interest profiles and making your own current awareness service

24 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Demonstration  Question: Is there a link between lack of sleep and academic performance among university students?  Search string: (sleep depriv* OR insomnia*) AND (academic performance OR academic achievement) AND (college student* OR university student*)


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