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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 31 October, 2007

2 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources What will we cover?  Reasons for conducting a literature search  Organisation of scientific literature  Search strategies  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  Research needs  Current Awareness

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 reported by an individual or a research group. E.g. conference papers, research articles, dissertations, etc.  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. E.g. encyclopedias, textbooks, review articles  Intended for wider audience  Not peer reviewed  Written by journalists  Publications contain advertisements  Examples: Nature, Science, Scientific American etc.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  Finding appropriate information sources to search  Selecting, evaluating and saving results  Retrieving full document

9 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources

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  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)  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 )

12 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

13 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

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

15 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 ”

16 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*) DO NOT TRY THIS!

17 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Instead: Do separate searches:  popular OR common OR favo?rite  way* OR method* OR technique*  los* OR reduc*  weight or fat or diet* Then combine searches:  #1 AND #2 AND #3 AND #4

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 link from the database?  Click on it to access the full-text if available  Check OU e-Journals

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 Other search strategies… Thesaurus searching  These are predetermined subject terms from which to choose  Yield more accurate results  Provide definition of terms  Some databases search subject terms automatically, eg. Medline

22 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Other search strategies… Citation Searching  Doing a search on just one citation allows creating a bibliography of both old and new research on 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, eg. Science Citation Index, Scopus etc.

23 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Here to help  Queries about e-journals and databases, including access problems  Radcliffe Science Library 

24 W orkshops in I nformation S kills and E lectronic R esources Or contact your Subject Librarian  Bio- & environmental sciences:  Life sciences & medicine:  Physical sciences:  Health Care Libraries:  Complete list at 

25 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. Wednesday, 7 November

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


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