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We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation? Why not share! Embed Size px. Advanced Search The advanced search screens give you control over how your search is carried out. You can pick the specific fields you want to search and easily specify how you want to combine your search terms. When you use the advanced search screen, it is easier to understand what the search is doing, which also makes it easier to modify your search to change the number of results you receive see Figure 3.

This is the language of the search. Keyword Searching and Synonyms Keywords are the words and phrases that best describe your topic. Keywords are your own words. They are the words that you thought of when you developed your topic and research question. Take your key- words from your research question. These are the words you want to search to find information that matches your research question. Not all words in your research question make good keywords.

See the example in Figure 3. Why is impact not a keyword? It is not an essential descriptor of your topic. You cannot search for your topic without ocean temperatures, whales, and population, but you can search for it without impact. If you use impact in your search, you will miss all the article that use the words influence, effect, and bearing instead. So using the word impact limits your search, but not to an aspect of your topic, just to that word. Impact is a verb in our research question. Nouns make better search terms than verbs.

Keyword is the default search.

The search will look for your term in any field in the database and return only the records that have your keyword in one or more of the fields. It is important to choose good keywords. If your keyword is not a good way to describe your topic, you will not find the information you need. Thinking of synonyms for your keywords will help your search. Synonyms are words that mean the same thing. When it comes to database searching, that definition is a little narrow.

For database searching, a synonym may be a similar or related topic. You need to think of synonyms when you are preparing to search databases. How will rising ocean ocean Climate refugees. Rising ocean population temperatures. How will ris- ocean temperatures Climate refugees. Synonyms will help you broaden your search and increase the amount of material you find. Synonyms might turn out to be better search terms than your original keywords see Figure 3. Subject Searching and Field Searching Subject searching is using specific language to search the subject field of a database.

That language is called controlled vocabulary because a specific subject term is assigned to all articles on the same topic. For example, if you want to find all the articles in a database that mention teens in association with the rest of your topic, you would need to use your synonyms and search for teens, teenagers, youths, minors, and adolescents. However, if you knew that the database assigned the term adolescents to every article that mentions teens, teenagers, or any of the other variations, you could search only one term and search it in the subject field to find all the articles.

The vocabulary is controlled by the company that puts together the database. They have employees examine the articles they are going to include in their database and assign subject headings to each article from a list of approved terms. The list is called a thesaurus. This step ensures that all articles on the same topic are described in the same way, and that makes subject searching a very effective way to find information. Subject searching is a specific type of field searching.

You can also limit your search to any other field in a database. For example, if you know the author of an article or book you want to find, you can search for their name in the author field. This nar- rows the focus of your search. The name is only searched in the author field, not in the rest of the fields. This means that even if you search a common name like Williams, you are only finding Williams as an au- thor, not as a subject or as a word in the title.

Another useful field search is the title search. If you know the title, using a title search will often find exactly the information you want. Limiting your keywords to the title field is a way to narrow your search and find fewer results. It can be a very helpful way to retrieve more relevant items. Then you can examine those records to find official subject terms, and if you need to find more items, search those subject terms to find additional relevant items.

Mechanics of the Search Databases use commands to combine your search terms and execute a search. These commands are the search language of the database, as opposed to keywords, which are the language used in the search. When you put together these commands with your keywords, you create a search statement. Using keywords from our example in Figure 3. If you want to search for whales, ocean temperatures, and popula- tion, you need to combine these terms using the proper commands to get the information you want.

Understanding search mechanics and commands will enable you to get it right.

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Boolean Operators One very important set of commands are the Boolean operators. Boolean operators were developed by George Boole, an English math- ematician in the 19th century Gillispie The operators are And Or Not Boolean operators are used to control how your keywords and subject terms are combined in a search statement. Boolean opera-. The And operator finds the intersection of your ideas. It narrows your search, giving you fewer, more relevant results. In other words, it increases your relevance while decreasing your retrieval.

We use Venn diagrams to illustrate how Boolean operators work. The gray area in the middle is where our two ideas overlap or intersect. This area represents the records in the database that mention both of our search terms, and these are the only records that will be retrieved. In the previous example, assume we searched for earthquakes and tsunamis. There are articles in our database on earthquakes. There are articles on tsunamis.

However, there are only 20 articles that mention both earthquakes and tsunamis. Our search finds only those 20 articles. Where the two circles overlap in the Venn diagram represents those 20 articles that mention both of our keywords. If we want the intersection of three terms, earthquakes, tsuna- mis, and models, our search statement should look like this: earthquakes and tsunamis and models.

The And operator is very powerful because it brings your ideas to- gether, which is exactly what you want to do to find information that addresses your research question.

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You can construct excellent searches using only And. The Boolean operator Or finds the union of ideas. When you join keywords with Or, you find every instance of each of those concepts. The Or operator broadens your search, retrieving more results while. Using the terms earthquakes and tsunami used previously, our search is earthquakes or tsunamis There are articles about earthquakes and articles about tsu- namis in our database and just like the example for And, 20 of those articles mention both. How many total articles did we find? The Venn diagram in Figure 3.

The Or operator should be used to group your synonyms together. For example, the synonyms for earthquakes are tremors, seismic activity, and temblors. You can combine all of these synonyms into a set with the search statement. The following section on nesting will explain how to do this and why it is important. The last Boolean operator is Not. Use the Not operator to exclude ideas from your search, narrowing your results and increasing rele- vance.

For example, if you want to find articles on tsunamis that do not mention earthquakes, your search would be. With articles about tsunamis and articles about earthquakes and 20 articles that mention both, our search would find the 80 articles that mention only tsunamis, The Not operator is the most difficult of the Boolean operators to use, and it has less application than the others as well. You may never need to use the Not operator.

Concise Guide to Information Literacy, 2nd Edition -

It can be useful to exclude ideas that are not the focus of your research or ideas that add ambiguity to your search, although you also run the risk of losing relevant results. Proximity and Phrase Searching Proximity searching is a very specific type of And searching that re- quires your search terms to be close to each other. Unlike the Boolean operators, proximity operators are not standardized and will be differ- ent in different databases.

You will need to consult the help screens of the database you are searching to find out what the proximity operators are. This search means that the word methane must be within five words of cattle. There is no order implied, so methane can come be- fore or after cattle. The words must be in the order specified by the search statement. In this example, legalization needs to be within two words of drugs, but legalization must come first. The double quotation marks are another form of proximity opera- tor. They mean that the words within the quotation marks should be matched in order with the words appearing right next to each other or more simply put, an exact match.

This is called phrase searching. The double quotation marks as the phrase search operator are sup- ported by most database search engines and even Web search engines like Google. Climate change, income tax, Shakespearian sonnet, and special interest groups are all examples of phrases.

Enclosing them in quotes ensures that they will be searched for as a phrase and matched exactly. Phrase searching is the most useful and easiest to use of the proximity search, but also the most limiting. Using proximity in your search statement will result in lower re- trieval and higher relevance than even an And search will yield. You should use phrase searching whenever you have two or more words that represent one concept or idea.

This will focus your search on that concept and not on the words that make up that concept. It is much bet- ter to search for special interest groups than to search for special and interest and groups. Nesting Nesting is used to group synonyms and control the order of execu- tion in your search statement. The search engines of databases follow rules that define the order of execution of their commands.

Typically, And is executed first, then Not, and finally Or. Order of execution impacts your search results, and you need to know how this works in order to get the results you want. For example, your research topic is the impact of climate change on whales. You developed a Boolean search statement complete with synonyms that looks like this:. You know exactly what you want the database search to find, but the search engine sees your search statement very differently than you do. This is what it sees:.

In other words, your search is going to find all the articles that men- tion both global warming and whales, then it will add those articles to all the articles that mention climate change, then add that to all the articles that mention cetaceans. That is not what you want. The search you want looks like this:. The parentheses control the order of execution. They tell the data- base that their portion of the search needs to be done first. In this case, the search engine would execute the search for climate change or global warming first.

It will hold these results as a set, then look for whales or cetaceans and create a set from that information. Finally it will And those two sets of information together to achieve the results you want. Truncation and Wildcards Web search engines are powerful pieces of software that automati- cally search for other forms of the words you enter in your search. If you search for computer, you will also get results for computers. Commercial databases are not as sophisticated, yet. They search for exactly what you enter.

To find forms of a word, you need to include them all in your search. For example, if you are looking for articles on computers, you would want to search for. Commercial databases do make it a little easier by supporting truncation. Truncation allows you to find various word endings with a single search term.

Truncation broadens your search results, in- creases your retrieval, and decreases your relevance because trunca- tion is an Or operator. With truncation, our previous example would simply be. The rest of your search statement will give the truncation context, which will help eliminate the forms of the word that you do not want. However, you need to be careful with truncation.

If you shorten a word dramatically, it will find too many other words and hurt your search.

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In some cases, it is best not to truncate. There are too many possible word endings that can be attached to cat, and your search results will not be what you expected. The asterisk is often the symbol used for the truncation operator. However, there are some databases that use different symbols. If your search does not seem to be giving you the results you expect when you truncate, then you may need to consult the help screens to see what the truncation symbol is.

Wildcards are used to find variant spellings within a word. If you are searching for articles on the use of color by the Navajo, your search may look like this: colo? Here is the search using the Or operator instead of wildcards: color or colour and Navajo or Navaho The wildcard operator varies from database to database. Some data- bases may even have a number of wildcard operators that have slightly different functions.

You will need to consult the help screens to find out what the operators are for the database you are searching. Wildcards are not needed nearly as often as truncation, but they can save you some time and complexity in your search when you do need them. Often, there is a link to Help in the upper right corner of the page, but you may have to look around to find the link.

Help screens provide information on how to search the database, fields, and operators that are available; any spe- cial features or searches that you can use; and viewing and saving your results. If you are unsure about a search you are performing, a quick look at the help screens may answer your questions. Refining the Search When you search a database, chances are your first search will not be perfect.

It will retrieve either too many or too few items. Knowing how a search works allows you to quickly refine your search. In the sample worksheet in Figure 3. To use the worksheet, you Or together all the words in one row, then you And together each of the rows. This worksheet is based on the advanced search screens you will see in a number of databases and rep- resents the way you should use the advanced search screen. Here are the changes you can make to broaden this search. First, you can delete a row, which removes one of the And operators.

With one less intersection of ideas, the search will return more items. Sec- ond, you can use Or operators to add synonyms to your search, which will also retrieve more items. Finally, you can do both. In the example in Figure 3. The possible deletion you can make to broaden your search has a strikethrough. If your search finds too many items, then you will want to narrow your search.

Narrowing your search gives you a chance to focus on a more specific aspect of your topic or add another concept to your search. To narrow your search, you can add a row to the search worksheet with an And operator. This will narrow your results by requiring another intersection of ideas. You can also remove your synonyms and Or operators, or you can use a combination of both techniques. Refining your search to get better results is quick and easy to do when you know how databases work.

Refining your search may also help you focus in on a specific aspect of your topic or even change your research question altogether as you find articles that hold more interest for you. Assignment Take your research question from chapter 2, pull out the keywords, and enter them on a search worksheet. Then think of synonyms for each of your keywords. Finally, write a Boolean search statement using. Research Question What impact has climate change had on marine mammal populations and behaviors? Your librarys home page will guide you to all the resources the library owns and can access.

Somewhere on your librarys home page you will find access to the library catalog. The catalog lists all the ma- terials that the library owns in print and electronic formats. Through the catalog, you will find books that your library has shelved in the stacks, eBooks, and eReference books that you can access directly from their catalog records. Catalogs also list the titles of journals that your library owns in print. However to access the contents of the jour- nals in order to find articles on a particular topic, you will need to use the other databases that your library provides.

We will look at those databases in chapter 5. Searching the Library Catalog It is likely that your librarys catalog is the smallest database that your library has access to. It may consist of only 10, or , items. While that does not sound very small, compared to the commer- cial databases and the Web, it is small. When you search a small data- base, you will need to broaden your search to find relevant material. If you want to find reference material in the library catalog, you will have to think in very broad terms about your topic and craft a search state- ment accordingly.

Your public library catalog may be very different from the catalog you use at school. However, all catalogs support keyword Boolean searches. Library catalogs make it easy to do field searching because searching for a title, an author or a subject is common in a library catalog. If you want to see if your library owns a specific book, then a title search is fast and efficient.

5 Components of Information Literacy

If you are looking for books by a certain author, then the author search is a better search than a keyword search. Subject searching, as discussed in chapter 3, is a little more difficult. You will not know the official subject terms until you try a keyword search and find relevant records whose subject terms you can check. However, there is a specific subset of subject searching that comes up often when searching the catalog. For example, if you want to find books about Ansel Adams as opposed to books by Ansel Adams, then a subject search is the best approach because it will focus only on the books about him and not include the books by him.

Library catalogs often have special searches that let you browse through records. You can browse by author, title, subject, and call num- ber. These searches will show you a list of results based on your search.

Concise guide to information literacy

If you do a browse search of Adams as an author, you will get a list of all the Adamses who have written a book that your library has pur- chased. Often, this results list will show how many books your library has for each author. If you are unsure of the spelling of an authors name or do not know their first name, if you want to see how many items your library has in a given subject, or if you want to see what is on the shelf in a specific area, these searches are very helpful. Your librarys catalog may have other features that are designed to make using the library easier for you.

The catalog may allow you to see what you have checked out and allow you to renew those items with a click of the mouse. It may allow you to place holds on items that are checked out so that you will be contacted as soon as that item is re- turned. It may let you keep lists of items you want to read. Be sure to explore your catalog and see what features it has to offer.

Retrieving Materials If the material you find is print, then you will need to copy down the call number, which is a unique identifying number, and find the item on the shelf. The catalog should also tell you what collection the item is in. It could be in the circulating collection, the collection of books that you can check out, or it could be in the DVD collection, or it could be in the reference collection. Books in the reference collection cannot.

However, they are often designed for quick use, which you can do in the library. Your library will have the books shelved by either Dewey Decimal Classification call numbers or Library of Congress Classification call numbers. Both systems are designed to place items on the shelf by sub- ject so that items on the same subject are filed next to each other. This makes it easy to browse the shelves and find other items on your topic.

The Dewey Decimal Classification is often used in smaller libraries, public libraries, and schools libraries. The Library of Congress Classi- fication system is designed for larger libraries. You will find it in use at most large public and academic libraries. The Dewey Decimal Classification divides knowledge into 10 broad areas from to For example, the s are philosophy and psy- chology, the s are social sciences, and the s are arts and rec- reation. Within each area there are many subcategories. For example, is the number for photography.

Items are arranged on the shelves from low numbers to high num- bers. Dewey makes that easy to understand. It is a decimal system, however, and confusion can arise from the numbers following the deci- mal point. The following sequence of decimal numbers is in order from smallest to largest. For example, if your library had books with the numbers Library of Congress call numbers use letters and numbers to desig- nate subjects.

The broad categories include A for general works, B for philosophy, psychology, and religion, then skipping ahead, H is for social science and business, L is for education, P is language and literature, T is science, and so on. For a complete list of the Library of Congress classification you can look at the Wikipedia article Library of Congress Classification A second letter is used to divide the topics into smaller categories, and then numbers on a second line divide those categories into even smaller subject categories. For example, B is the broad category for philosophy, psychology, and religion.

S63 Library of Congress call numbers usually have the letters on one line and the numbers on the second line. Those num- bers are decimal numbers, just like in the Dewey system, which means a book with the call number BF Both Dewey and Library of Congress use Cutter numbers and year of publication to further identify a specific book. A Cutter number is fre- quently based on the authors name.

If there is no author, then the Cutter number is based on the title of the book. The first element of a Cutter number is the first letter of the authors last name, then numbers are assigned to the second, third, and maybe fourth letters of the authors name. Cutter numbers are decimal numbers, so a book with a Cutter number of.

C would come before a book with a Cutter number of. C59, if the rest of the call number was the same. The year of publica- tion will distinguish different editions of a book from each other. A book with a year of publication of would be shelved before a book with a year of publication of , if the rest of the call number was the same. Figure 4. Utilizing Print Sources Once you have found the items you need on the shelf, you need to find the information you want within the source. Just as you are not going to read an entire reference book to find the few pieces of infor- mation that you need, you also may not need to read a whole circulat- ing book, but only the chapter that relates to your research question.

To get at the information contained within these sources quickly, you need to take advantage of the options they give you. Reference sources are designed for the quick look up of information and are most frequently arranged alphabetically, making them easy to. If you cannot find the information you need, be sure to check the index located at the back of the book. What you are looking for may not have its own entry, but it may be part of another entry. The index of any book will guide you to the entry or chapter where that term is men- tioned.

Use the table of contents to find a chapter or section of a book that relates to your research question. When you are reading from a source be sure to take notes and sum- marize the information you find. If you come across a particular sen- tence or phrase that you really like, copy it verbatim so you can quote it in your research paper. You should note the page number where you found the quote, and always copy the citation information for your source. You will need this information for your in-text citations and your bibliography.

How you take your notes and record citation information is up to you. What is important is that you record your quotes and citation information accu- rately. We discuss this subject more in chapter Utilizing Electronic Sources You may find eBooks and eReference books on your results list when you search your librarys catalog. These sources have the same features of their print counterparts. You can use the index or table of contents to find the information you are looking for or browse through their contents.

Unlike their print counterparts, these are electronic da- tabases that also support the search functions we talked about in chap- ter 3. Searching these resources takes you directly to the information you want. Because these are electronic resources, they have special features that make them easier to use than their print counterparts.

We look at these features when we talk about using databases in chapter 5. Vocabulary author search Cutter number browse search Dewey Decimal Classification call number index. Assignment Find four books and one reference book that you would consider using in your research on your topic in your library catalog. Sources can be print or electronic. Record the search you used to find the items and the call number, author, and title of each item.

See Figure 4. A73 The climate crisis: an introductory Archer, David guide to climate change 2. C5 Global climate change and the road Kushner, James A. K to extinction: the legal and planning response 3. S58 Global catastrophes and trends: the Smil, Vaclav next 50 years 4. E97 Under a green sky: global warming, Ward, Peter Douglas, W the mass extinctions of the past, and what they mean for our future Search Statement for Reference Book global warming 1. Online Encyclopedia of global warming and Philander, S.

George climate change [electronic resource]. Your librarys home page will direct you to the databases that you can search. While the library catalog list the names of journals that the library subscribes to, these databases give you access to the articles contained within the journals. Your library may have only a handful of databases, or it may have hundreds of databases, and each database may contain tens of thousands or even millions of records. Knowing which one of those databases you should use for your research can be intimidating. Choosing a Database Your library will have a general database, one that has informa- tion in all subject areas.

It may even be highlighted on the librarys webpage. This is a good place to start your research. You can try out your search statement; find some relevant articles that will help you identify other, better keywords and subject terms; narrow the focus of your research; and perhaps even find enough good information for your research.

If you do not find enough information in a general database, then you will have to try a subject-specific database.

These are databases that focus on a specific field of knowledge or subject discipline. There are databases for every subject area, including biology, literature, psy- chology, business, and everything else. Your librarys webpage prob- ably has a list of databases by subject with a brief description of what. You may have to look around the li- brarys website to find it, but this will help you pick a database.

Your library may also have something called federated searching. Federated searching executes your search in multiple databases at the same time. Not all libraries have federated searching, and it may not be called that on your librarys webpages. In cases like this, a predetermined subset of the librarys databases will be searched. You may also be able to choose other predefined collec- tions of databases to search which are grouped by subject, or you may be able to pick the databases you want to search for yourself.

For federated searching to work with multiple databases from mul- tiple vendors, it can only use the most basic search features. In that regard, federated searching typically supports Boolean operators, phrase searching, and field searching. It does not support proximity operators and special features like user accounts. Federated searching can be confusing to use because of feature differences, how results are displayed, and the large amount of records that it might find. How- ever, you can browse through your results list and find the articles you need. Another way to use federated searching is to do a quick search, and then look at the results to see how many hits your search had in each database that was searched.

You can use these results to pick the databases that seem best for your research and search them more thor- oughly. Federated searching is another tool that your library has and one that is worth exploring. Citation, Abstract, and Full-Text Databases Another thing to be aware of when choosing a database is what kind of information it contains. There are some databases that contain only citations, which is the information needed to find an article, including the author, title of the article, and publication information. There are da- tabases that contain citations and abstracts, and there are databases that contain the full text of every article they index.

Citation and abstract da- tabases are not that common anymore. Full-text databases are also not the norm. Most databases are a hybrid. They have full text of articles for some portion of the records in the database and abstracts for the rest. When you find an article that looks good for your research, but it is not available in full text in the database you searched, there are a few things you can try.

First, your library may have something called a link resolver, which will check the other databases your library has to see if the article you want is available in full text in any of them. The link for the link resolver will be displayed on both the results list under each item record and on the full record display for the individual re- cord.

Look for a link that says something like check other databases or find full text. If the article you want is not available in full text in any of the li- brarys databases, then you will need to check the librarys print hold- ings to see if the library subscribes to paper copies of the journal that contains the article. One way to find this information is to search the librarys catalog for the journal title. That will tell you if your library subscribes to the journal and what years it owns. There may be other ways to find this information as well, and if your library does not have the article you want in print or any of its databases, then ask the librar- ian what your options are.

We talk about library services that can help you in these situations in chapter 7. Hybrid databases allow you to limit your search to the full text con- tent. This is very useful when you do not have much time to get your research done. However, you may miss a good article that, while not full text in the database you searched, is full text in another database your library has.

Be careful when selecting full text only searches; you might be missing some good, relevant articles. Utilizing Electronic Sources Databases have many features to help you use the information you found. You can print, save, or email an article of interest. There are usually links to these features at the top of the results list or the top of an individual record display. Databases allow you to mark records. This means you select the items that interest you from your results by either checking a box by the records or clicking on a link that says Add to folder.