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Overview of Search Strategies in the Online World - Tips and Tricks

Overview of Search Strategies in the Online World - Tips and Tricks

There are a variety of online resources; some are freely available, while others are fee-based or require a subscription. The following are examples of online resources:

  • Subscription databases: Ebsco and Proquest

  • Indexes and Abstracting Services: Applied Science and Technology (Online and in hard copy)

  • Catalogs: Library of Congress Online Catalog (OPAC - Online public access computers)

  • Search Engines: Google and Alta Vista

  • Directories: Google Directory and Looksmart Directory

  • Government: Office of Scientific and Technical Information

  • Virtual Libraries: WWW Virtual Library and Project Guttenberg

Search Tips
Search engine commands can be found in the advanced search screens or help features.

  • Google will search for specific files such as Microsoft Word documents or pdf by adding ':doc' or ':pdf' to the search string 'laser:pdf'

  • Google will search for specific domain websites by adding 'site:gov' or 'site:edu' unto the search string 'laser site:gov'

  • Google will search for words in the title or URL of a website by adding 'intitle:' or 'inurl:' unto the search string 'intitle:laser'

Keyword vs. Subject Heading
Keyword

  • Keyword searches in every field

  • Uses natural language- uncontrolled vocabulary

  • Keyword searching is good to use when you are not sure of which subject heading(s) to use

  • Keyword searching is good to use when you want to find a subject heading

  • Keyword searching is good to use when you have a very specific and unique word such as "percholate acid"

Subject Heading

  • Subject headings search only in the subject field

  • Uses controlled vocabulary such as the Library of Congress subject headings

  • Subject headings will provide a more precise and orderly search

Phrase Searching:
Depending upon which search engine you use, phrase searching looks for the exact phrase. Google use quotation marks "". For example search for exact phrase "Days of our Lives".


J. Harbster Library of Congress
Email: [email protected]

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