To search for a phrase (words in the exact order), put quotation marks around the phrase. It's possible to combine words and phrases in a Novanet, a database search, or even a Google search. If you do not use quotes, you will find items that contain the individual words, but not necessarily in the order you specified.
electric car finds the words electric and car anywhere in the items
"electric car" (with quotation marks) finds only items containing the exact phrase in that order.
Subject headings are an established set of words or phrases that are used to describe or classify articles in a database.
Unlike keywords which are a match made by the computer between what you entered and what exists in the item records (authors, titles, abstracts, etc.), the subject headings are applied by staff employed by the database companies. The subject headings represent the main essence of the articles.
communication to represent all types of communication.
Social media is a narrower term related to communication within online communities. This is narrower than communication but still encompasses many types of online networks and communication.
Finally, you can have narrower subject headings such as blogs, which concern themselves with one type of social media.
This is an advantage because depending on your topic and what items are available, you may need to make your search narrower or broader. The Subject Headings structure provides some guidance on the terms to use to broaden or narrow your search. It can also provide related terms.
GMO or genetically modified seeds (the term we may want to use)
Transgenic seeds (subject term in use)
Gender role (the term we may want to use)
Sex role (actual subject term in use)
When you are doing searches in databases, you can make your searches more effective by using something called TRUNCATION. [Use the next button at the top of the screen to navigate through the tutorial]
Imagine you are looking for an article about the dangers of driving while using a cell phone. You type “cell phones and driving” into your favorite library databases. Alas, you’ll miss an article like: “Cellular phones: is it safe to drive and talk?”
For example you searched for “cell phones and driving” and results are items like, “Driving with cell phones” and “Cell phones and safe driving”]
Luckily, there’s a solution: Truncation
Truncation uses symbols (or wildcards) to replace letters in words. You can use them to get more results than you would with one word.
Different databases, catalogs, and search engines use different symbols. Some of the most common are
? (question mark)
# (pound sign)
For example cell*, will retrieve cell, cells, cellist, cellophane
What does that mean? Instead of searching for “cellphones and driving”, you could look for “cell* phone* and driv*”.
cell* finds cell, cells, and cellular
phone* finds phone and phones
driv* finds drive, drives, and driving
“Cellular phones: is it safe to talk and drive?”
Truncation works in many:
Search teacher* and training and you’ll find info about “training teachers” and teacher training”
Psych*ic would find psychic, psychotic, psychopathic, or psychopathologic. Add another asterisk at the end and you’d find the plurals, too.
Working on a country study and can’t remember how to spell Azerbaijan? Search for Azer*
Looking for a good Web site on cats? Using cat* will find cat and cats, but it will also find catapult, caterer, cathedral, catamarans, and logs more. Try (cat OR cats) instead.
Using al* to find allelomorphism probably won’t work. Better learn to spell it.
Database 1: search librar*
Database 2: search librar#
dog? might find dog or dogs.
dog* might find dog, dogs, dogged, dogma and dogmatic.