What do you call this object?
Before you start searching, brainstorm different words to express your concept or idea.
Keyword are the words you will use to search electronic catalogs, databases and the Internet. You can miss lots of useful information if you don't use keywords effectively, because computers will only search on the terms you provide.
You should think about:
When you start searching note any useful alternative words that occur during your searches and add them to your keyword list.
Truncation Finds Multiple Word Forms
The asterisk (*) is usually used, to search words with the same root:
Sociolog* = Sociology, Sociological, Sociologist(s), etc
Wildcard symbols (usually a ‘?’) replace a single letter:
Wom?n = Woman, Women
Sometimes keywords that worked well in one database won’t be as effective in another. If you find that your results are a bit scattered, try using that database’s terminology: the Thesaurus or Subject Terms link. Many databases have a list of designated words that are used to summarize a topic, but they may not be obvious to you.
For example, when the keyword salaries is browsed for in ‘Subject Terms’ in the SocINDEX with Full Text database it tells the searcher to use the term, ‘WAGES’ in place of ‘salaries’.
Need to search a database? Watch this Boolean clip to learn how to combine search words and get the results you are looking for.
Adapted from the materials created by The University of Auckland Library, NZ. This video is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.
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