Approaching a Search
Every user approaches his/her searches differently and user studies suggest that libraries (and database creators) cannot predict the order in which users will seek resources. Think about how you approach a search. What is your priority? Do you seek resources first:
- by subject -- I'm looking for history journal articles
- by format -- I'm looking for journal articles in history
- by accessibility -- I'm looking for full-text journal articles ... or ... I'm looking for material I can get from home ...
- by name -- I'm looking for America: History and Life
How you start your search may depend on many things -- including how soon you want to stop. Your decisions on use may also involve:
- whether you have "named" what you are looking for -- users will often choose databases simply because they are familiar with them (ie they have used them before) or because their name seems familiar
- whether the source / resource seems accurate and current
- whether a single element is present -- for example, users sometimes reject a whole resource because the items cited are not immediately available for display in full-text
- whether it strikes your fancy -- it is funny or different or cool or has an "eewww" factor
- whether it is convenient -- is it too complicated to search, are the articles too long or complex, are they difficult to print, does the database say whether they are peer-reviewed ...
Searching for particular types of information may be easier if you pursue a particular search strategy based on the type of information you seek or the "container" which holds it. For some suggestions, try Specific Approaches for Specific Information.
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Created: 2001/12/04 Last updated: 2010/08/19
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