Showing posts with label search strategy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label search strategy. Show all posts

2 August 2016

Finding non-English resources: A guide for users

Where do you start when you’re looking for non-English resources in the Library?

There are many different writing systems in Library Search and a new guide makes searching in these non-English languages easier.
The Finding non-English Resources guide focuses currently on Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Cyrillic languages, as the Library has many resources in these languages in the Asian Collections and the Ada Booth Slavic Collection.
A tab for each of the four languages is provided, containing language-specific information about how to search. The Japanese and Korean tabs include a quiz to allow users to test their understanding, and one will be added for the Chinese tab soon.
Developed in consultation with academic staff from the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, the guide will include other languages in the future.

The guide also includes instructions for the use of IME (Input Method Editors) software. This allows people to type in many different languages and characters using standard computer keyboards.

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19 April 2016

Creating a thorough search strategy

Finding every possible article relevant to a particular research topic is something that researchers and graduate research students may need to do. Get some expert tips on how to go about it from Subject Librarian Tracey Whyte.

Photo: Got Credit
When conducting research you may be wondering: Has this research been conducted previously? Have I reviewed all the literature on this discipline? Have I retrieved the most recent research conducted? Are there gaps in my research?

One way to resolve these questions is to plan a search strategy. A search strategy is a systematic method of searching for information. There are a few steps in this process.

Step 1
Prepare your search strategy by first brainstorming what you know about the topic already, defining terms or identifying particular resources to include.

Step 2
From the keywords you’ve hopefully identified already, think of similar words or phrases and group the similar terms together. This will broaden your search as you can choose from these alternative words if you can’t find information using the one term provided. Steps 1 and 2 are described in more detail in the ‘Developing a search strategy’ section of the Graduate Research Library guide.

Step 3
Next, test your search strategy across relevant Library databases or search tools. You can access Library databases from the Database Library guide or from the Databases tab on other subject Library guides. Highlight relevant resources and read the information about the resource from the abstract or summary and select relevant records to review more closely.

Step 4
Another useful tip to guide your searching is to identify the subject terms in the record. The subject terms are terms the database uses to describe what the article is about. You can replace your keywords with these subject headings to broaden or narrow your search. You may find alternative subject headings that are relevant so include those in your search too.

At right is an example of subject terms displayed in a complete record. This process of identifying terms, testing in a database and identifying subject headings relevant can be repeated until you have enough relevant information. Most search strategies use a combination of subject heading and keyword searching so use the method that retrieves the most relevant results.

Remember you may not be able to find all this information in one search, you might need to break down the components of the topic further into several searches or try a combination. There will be trial and error before you perfect your strategy.

Step 5
Lastly, you may also find it useful to create saved searches or alerts particularly if you will be viewing resources at another time or reusing the search. Login to the database or search tool to be able to save the search. Follow the database prompts and check the search tool or database Help screens for more information about how to do this. You can save and retrieve your searches as long as you sign in.

Need more information? The Library has also developed a comprehensive, interactive tutorial to guide you in the search process and don’t forget you can contact your subject librarian for advice about developing a systematic search strategy.

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13 August 2015

Creating a search strategy

Planning a strategy before you actually start the task of searching for articles relevant to your assignment can be a good idea.... By Penny Presta.

Making plans before you go on holiday makes for a smooth trip (and is part of the fun). Planning before you start searching for your assignment is smart too. It can increase the relevance of search results and save you time (leaving more time for fun)! In the Library we call it ‘creating a search strategy’.

What is a search strategy?

A search strategy offers a systematic approach to searching for information. It involves following a few key steps to finding what you need. The good news is these steps are pretty much the same regardless of which assignment you are doing.

Identifying the key concepts

An essential part of starting your search is identifying the best subject terms and keywords. Start brainstorming keywords, followed by compiling a list of synonyms and related terms so that you know you have your topic covered.

Starting out with a broad search

Developing a search strategy is an evolving process. Generally you will start with a broad strategy and look at your initial search results, adjusting your terms as you go along. Your results can be refined by adding parameters to limit the search (such as articles published in the last 10 years or information types such as books and journal articles). 

As you progress in your search for academic materials you will begin to notice alternative subject terms and keywords in article abstracts and start using these for a different set of results.

Look through the Library’s interactive online module for the whole story.

Why bother?

Scholarly sources of information such as library databases don’t like sentences. They perform best with keyword combinations which will be the result of an effective search strategy. So if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by how to find the materials you need, maybe it’s time you adopted this systematic approach.

For assistance creating and refining search strategies, attend a drop-in at your branch’s Research & Learning point. Honours students, postgraduates and academic staff may make a one-on-one appointment with their subject librarian.

Image: CC licence Richard Lee

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