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Advanced Research Skills : Biodiversity, Conservation & Management Autumn 2012. Sue Bird Bodleian Subject Librarian Geography. Elective Essay Assessment. Aims : Does the essay have a clear aim, question or perspective that is relevant to the literature or an issue?

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advanced research skills biodiversity conservation management autumn 2012

Advanced Research Skills :Biodiversity, Conservation & ManagementAutumn 2012

Sue Bird

Bodleian Subject Librarian Geography

elective essay assessment
Elective Essay Assessment
  • Aims: Does the essay have a clear aim, question or perspective that is relevant to the literature or an issue?
  • Presentation: You are expected to know how to cite references
  • Literature: Does the essay address a range of relevant literature, and demonstrate a good level of understanding of the literature on the topic.
  • You need to conduct initial scoping lit review – key themes, etc.

Followed by a more focused & deeper literature review. Peer-reviewed literature acts as a form of substantiation

this session
This session
  • More on Bibliographic Databases
  • Searching techniques for journal articles, conference papers, book chapters etc
  • Keeping up to date
subject searching
Subject searching
  • Better to use specialist indexes covering the world’s literature to find articles
  • Access via OxLIP+ (
  • Use inter-library loan for items not held in Oxford and not online
e journals

“I didn't check for the hard copy

  • so used to getting online access!”

“I had just googled the article rather than using SOLO, so that was the issue & why I’d been asked to login, or use Athens”


Electronic newspapers

  • Some are freely available. Alphabetic list on OxLIP+
  • Best source for the “Text Only” of huge range of newspapers and magazines is Nexis UK. Goes back approximately 10 yrs in most cases and is very current i.e. today’s daily news items

Electronic newspapers

  • Factiva - from Dow Jones & Reuters Company
  • Business news & challenges, market trends & info.
  • 14,000 + sources inc. local & global newspapers, newswires, trade journals, newsletters, etc.
  • Archive back to 1969 - 28 languages from 159 countries
  • Dun & Bradstreet company profiles, Reuters Fundamentals, etc.

Legal information, cases etc.

  • Lexis Library
  • WestLaw – both UK & US editions
  • But there are a lot more

(if necessary ask the Law Library for help)

databases vs search engines
Contents are indexed by subject specialists

Subject headings

Limiting functions e.g. publication types, language

Allow you to

View Search history

Combine searches

Mark and sort results


Save searches

Set up alerts

Searches done by automated “web crawlers”

No thesaurus / subject headings – just free text searching

No limiting functions

Usually none of these!

Databases vs. Search engines
databases scopus or web of science enable you to
Databases (Scopus or Web of Science) enable you to:
  • Refine results overview to find the main journals, disciplines and authors that publish in your area of interest.
  • Click on the cited by and reference links to track research trends and make connections.
  • Find out who is citing you or your supervisor, and how many citations an article or an author has received.
  • Use Author Identifier to automatically match an author’s published research including the h-index
  • Use Journal Analyzer to provide quick insight into specific journal performance
  • Analyze citations for a particular journal issue, volume or year.
  • Use this information to complete grant or other applications quickly and easily.
  • Use Alerts, RSS and HTML feeds to help you stay up-to-date
  • Data export via bibiliographic managers such as RefWorks, EndNote and BibTeX
bibliographic databases
Bibliographic Databases
  • Abstracting and Indexing Services
  • Vast range.
  • SCOPUS (includes GEOBASE)
  • ProQuest
  • Web of Knowledge
search strategies
Search Strategies
  • Boolean logic
  • Truncation
  • Wild cards
  • Synonyms
  • Which language are you using?
boolean connectors
Boolean connectors
  • AND – combines terms to restrict results
  • OR – useful for covering synonyms
  • NOT – excludes unwanted areas of research

THE bibliographic database for the Earth, Geographical and Environmental Sciences

Scopus --

Abstract and citation database containing both peer-reviewed research literature and quality web sources. With over 19,500 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers, including 325 book series.

47 million records:

26 million records with references back to 1996 (of which 78% include references).

21 million records pre-1996 which go back as far as 1823.

4.9 million conference papers from proceedings and journals.


eReader Formats

The eReader Formats application allows users to convert ScienceDirect articles as seen in the browser into ePUB or Mobipocket format, whichever is appropriate for the user's electronic reader device.

Interactive Map Viewer

Interactive Map Viewer displays supplementary geospatial data from Elsevier online articles as an interactive map.

Methods Search

Methods Search application helps you find the methods you need for your research.

bibliographic searching
Bibliographic Searching

Search Tip : 1

  • Important to remember that although each database covers thousands of journal titles no single database is ever comprehensive.
  • If you are having difficulty finding material on a topic use the keywords you find in any relevant reference and search again.
bibliographic databases1
Bibliographic Databases


  • Biological Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management
  • Ecology Abstracts (under Biological Sciences)
  • COS Conference Papers (under Biological Sciences)
  • IBSS: International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
  • Sustainability Science Abstracts (under ESPM)
  • EconLit
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
bibliographic databases2
Bibliographic Databases


  • CAB Abstracts – biogeography
  • Forest Science - biogeography
  • GeoRef – physical geography & geology
  • Zoological Abstracts (1864-2009 only)

Web of Knowledge

Similar but not the same : a.k.a. Web of Science

  • WEB of Science: ISI citation indexes
  • Broad Coverage – all subject areas
  • (Journal Citation Reports – help choose the most effective title in your area)
bibliographic searching1
Bibliographic Searching

Search Tip : 2

Take time to explore the various databases & platforms available.

Some will be more useful to you than others.

  • Scopus
  • OvidSP
  • ProQuest
  • Web of Knowledge

bibliographic searching2
Bibliographic Searching

Search Tip : 3

Boolean Logical Operators AND, OR, NOT

Proximity operators

Adj (literally adjacent); Near(same sentence); With(same field)

Field descriptors: AU(author); TI(title); AB (abstract); SO(source or reference); DE (general descriptor) etc are likely to be specific to each database and won’t operate in ‘cross searches’

Combining searches: #1 and #2

other tricks
Other tricks:
  • Use symbols for wildcards and truncation
    • ? or $ for a single character

globali?ation / globali$ation (is it an ‘s’ or a ‘z’)

    • * for truncation or variant spellings

govern* for governance, governmentality, etc

  • use quotation marks for searching for phrases
  • e.g. “resource management”
synonyms language
Synonyms & Language
  • Topic = Personal energy use reduction
  • Search:
  • A) personal energy use
  • B) “personal energy use”
  • C) “energy use” OR “energy consumption” AND

personal OR private OR household

  • Context : “carbon footprint” OR “carbon neutral”

(including food mile* (i.e. miles or mileage)? )

bibliographic searching3
Bibliographic Searching

Search Tip : 4

  • Consider subject synonyms & British and US spellings.
  • Apply truncation, usually * to find plurals/alternative word endings and ? to replace a single character.
  • Expand search by following hypertext links esp. subject headings
  • Authors names: Check the online help for formats. Use the database index to find different forms of author’s name otherwise truncate first initial.
bibliographic searching4
Bibliographic Searching
  • Three ways to keep up to date:
  • E-mail alert – you can specify a search to be repeated and the results emailed to you at chosen intervals or Zetoc will tell you when the next issue of a journal is available.
  • Saving and rerunning searches – you save a search and run it again in the future.
  • Citation Alert – you will receive an email every time a particular article is cited in another WoK or Scopus indexed article.
bibliographic databases3
Bibliographic Databases

Search : REDD+ (2012 only)

Scopus = 212 articles

ProQuest= 84 articles (after de-duplication of 140) (adds another 15 to the total)

Ovid = 144 after de-duplication of 269articles (overlap of only 1 with Scopus )

Web of Science = 128 articles (116 overlap with 1 or more databases - a further 12 unique items)

Biosis = 57 (5 further unique items)

RefWorks de-duplication = 387unique items!!

guide to resources

keeping up with current research
Keeping up with Current Research

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