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Google vs. Library Databases. Searching is not the same in library databases as it is in Google. Google uses natural language. You can type in your question exactly as you would say it in conversation. Library Databases use subject headings.

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google vs library databases
Google vs. Library Databases
  • Searching is not the same in library databases as it is in Google.
    • Google uses natural language.
      • You can type in your question exactly as you would say it in conversation.
    • Library Databases use subject headings.
      • You must type in only your key concepts rather than complete sentences.
slide2

Google will take our complete sentences or ideas and pull the key phrases out for you, bringing back lots of (hopefully) relevant results. The key phrases are hyperlinked below.

key phrases

slide3

This same search phrase does not give us any results in Academic Search Premier. The databases need you to input key phrases alone.

slide5

Putting the key words and phrases into separate boxes and using “and” from the drop-down menu, or stacking terms, also increases our results. The search on the left searched for documents that contain the phrase “animal rights” and the word “issues.” The search on the right looked for documents that contain the phrase “animal rights issues,” yielding much lower results.

If we used “or” from the drop-down menu, our results would be huge as our search would look for documents containing “animal rights” OR “issues,” not both. Similarly, using “not” would search for documents containing “animal rights” that do not contain the word “issues.”

how to evaluate a web page
How to Evaluate a Web Page

In general, you should not use many web pages in your research. Notable exceptions include academic sites or a .edu web address, such as the Colorado State University Library pages shown here, or government sites with a .gov web address. This does not mean that pages with these addresses are above scrutiny. You must still evaluate the source.

If you do use any web pages in your research, make sure you can identify the author or sponsor. Web pages without authors or sponsors are much less likely to contain credible information.

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If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

You can visit the library’s homepage or contact a librarian.

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