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Introduction to Searching the Literature

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  1. Introduction toSearching the Literature 1st Year School of Biological Sciences Ric Paul, Biomedical Sciences Library

  2. Today’s Objectives After this session you will be able to… • Explain what information you expect to get from a bibliographic database • Create a basic search strategy • Search a bibliographic database and use the results to find useful articles in the Library

  3. A Journal Article • It is an entity in itself, with its own title and authors • Most articles are primary, research articles: • They describe a specific piece of research • They are aimed at other researchers in the field • Assumes considerable prior knowledge • Will not explain complex theories, ideas, terminology

  4. Literature Review/Review Article • Some articles are “review articles” or “literature reviews” • Gives and overview of a topic • Aimed at people not so familiar with the field • Gives you more background on the topic, and explanation of the concepts and ideas • Good for getting started, or keeping up-to-date • To find, set “reviews only” limit when searching • Some journals focus on reviews: • Annual Reviews of…, Progress in…, Trends in…

  5. Journals/Periodicals • “Journals” are sometimes called “Periodicals” • Journals publish many articles in each issue • These are not related to each other in any way • Journals have a subject specialisation • Some are very specific, others quite general • Some journals are peer-reviewed • High academic credibility • But publication process can be slow

  6. WebCat is the Library’s main catalogue Gives details of which journals we subscribe (print & electronic) Gives details of which years and volumes we subscribe to in print Does not include details of authors and titles of articles within those journals TDNet is a catalogue of our journal holdings Gives details of which journals we subscribe (print & electronic) Gives details of which years and volumes we subscribe to electronically Does not include details of authors and titles of articles within those journals WebCat & TDNet

  7. Bibliographic Databases • Lists “bibliographic” details of journal articles • Author & title of the article • Journal title, volume, issue and page(s) • Often includes the abstract & added keywords • Does not include the full article itself • Does not tell you whether you have access to the full article from the Library, either in print or electronically

  8. To Find an Article • Search for your topic on the database (Web of Science, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, etc.) • Identify an article that you’d like to use • Search WebCat or TDNet for the journal it was printed in • If we have the journal, check that we have the year/volume that you need

  9. Log into SUSSED

  10. Go to the “Library” tab

  11. But we are going to head for the “Subjects” section From here you can easily log into our catalogues, WebCat & TDNet And the catalogue of the National Oceanographic Library (one of the branches of the University Library), Oceanis

  12. You can go to any of these links for subjects in the School of Biological Sciences

  13. Now go to the link for “Databases and indexes”

  14. Here you’ll find information about some of our databases – the main ones for you are at the top Click on the link for “Web of Science”

  15. Click on the button to access “Web of Knowledge”

  16. This is the main menu for the Web of Knowledge databases, of which Web of Science is one Usually you would click on the “Web of Science” link, in the middle of the page – but we’re going to use the new version of WoS Click on the “Access the new version!” button

  17. Now click on the “Web of Science” button

  18. This is the main search page for the Web of Science

  19. Enter the search “habitat disturbance”

  20. We’ve found 4,247 results To view the details of one of these articles, click on the title

  21. Here we can see the article’s authors, title, and the details of the journal it was published in It is important to note, however, that we do not get the full text of the article itself – instead, we must check WebCat or TDNet to see if we have the journal (in this case “American Journal of Primatology”) We can short-cut that process by clicking on the TDNet button

  22. TDNet has found that we have online access to this article But the lack of a catalogue link suggests that we don’t have access to it in print Click on the publisher link to go to the article

  23. We are taken directly to the article that we wanted Click on the “PDF” link to retrieve the article itself

  24. You can now read and/or print out the article as you wish Now you can close the windows until you return to the Web of Science search screen

  25. That’s all very well, but all we’ve done is a very simple search – to be more specific about what we want, we’ll have to search the database more effectively

  26. A Thorough Search • A simple search of the database may find you some information • However, you may well have missed lots of potentially useful articles • To search thoroughly and effectively for the information you need, you must develop a detailed search strategy

  27. Search Strategy • Write a detailed, specific search question • Identify the concepts of your question • List alternative keywords and phrases • Singular and plural forms • Alternative tenses • British and American English spellings • American terminology • Include both narrow and broad terms

  28. Question, Concepts & Keywords • Search query: • What are the implications of trawling and dredging on habitat disturbance? • Search terms: • trawling, fishing, dredging.. • habitat, habitats • disturbance, threat, threats, destruction…

  29. Boolean Logic • Allows you to search for multiple keywords • OR combines different expressions for the same concept • fishing or trawling • AND links two different concepts together • dredging and habitat destruction • In most databases, and and or are perfectly acceptable

  30. Truncation • Finds any keyword with a common “stem” • Truncation symbol is commonly * or $ • Check each database for details of which symbols are used, and how they are used • otter* will find: • otter • otters • fisher* • fishery • fisheries

  31. Truncation in Web of Science • Note: For Web of Science only: • ? = One character • wom?n = woman, women • organi?ation = organisation, organization • $ = One or zero characters • behavio$r = behaviour, behavior • animal$ = animal, animals • * = One or more characters • enzym* = enzyme, enzymes, enzymic, enzymatic

  32. An Example Search Search1: trawling fishing dredging Search2: habitat Search3: disturbance threat destruction

  33. An Example Search Search1: trawling or fishing or dredging Search2: habitat Search3: disturbance or threat or destruction

  34. An Example Search Search1: trawl* or fishing or dredg* Search2: habitat$ Search3: disturbance or threat* or destruction

  35. An Example Search Search1: trawl* or fishing or dredg* Search2: habitat$ Search3: disturbance or threat* or destruction Search4: Search1 and Search2 and Search3

  36. Let’s try our more detailed search – click on the “Search” link

  37. Search for “trawl* or fishing or dredg*”

  38. Let’s return to the search screen, and carry out part two of our search We’ve found 19,192 references

  39. Now search for “habitat$”

  40. Let’s return to the search screen, and carry out part three of our search This is a completely separate search, which has found 84,225 references

  41. Now search for “disturbance or threat* or destruction”

  42. To combine these three searches together, we need to go to “Search History” This time we’ve found over 100,000 references

  43. Here we can see all the searches we’ve carried out in this session, and can join them in whatever way we want

  44. Then choose to combine them with “AND” Mark the last three searches Click on the “Combine” button to continue

  45. We’ve now got 444 articles that mention our keywords – click on the search result to view them

  46. This is the most recent of out 444 hits – but that’s still quite a lot of references to look through We can fine-tune our results by applying some limits

  47. On the left-hand side of the page we have lots of options for refining our results It is often useful to look at more recent results – so let’s open the “Publication Years” section

  48. Now click on one of the “Refine” buttons Web of Science covers material back to 1970 – but we can easily select just the last five years (and we can open it further to select years beyond that) Select the last five years, and let’s also limit our results to just literature review articles

  49. We’ve found 22 review articles, published in the last five years Now we need to work through the list, identifying any interesting articles If you’re not sure about an article, look at its abstract to get further information When you find one that is useful, use the TDNet button to check whether it’s available to you from the Library

  50. Let’s go through to the article itself Just as in our previous example, this one is available online, but not in print Bear in mind that some journals are only available in print – so whilst it’s convenient to get articles online, you may still have to use the print journals from time to time If the article isn’t available, go back to your results list and keep looking until you find one that is useful, and which is available from the Library