Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Field Searching

  • This is the ability to limit a search by fields: keyword, author, title, date, subject, etc. This again narrows down results
  • In most databases, field searching is available as a drop-down menu
  • If you do not restrict to field searching, the database searches all fields for the word(s) you put in the search box. This would be keyword search.
  • Other fields that a database may or may not have are (depending on the subject is deals with) : ISBN, ISSN, Journal title, Accession number, Geographic terms or locations, company name, NAICS code, product name, document title, document number, brand name, book review, etc.
  • Some databases have their own subject terms and you will have no option but to choose only from them. One example that comes to mind is the Greenwood Daily Life Online. You can also do a keyword search here but it is more effective to search using their subjects, timelines and geographic locations. Example from Greenwood:

· SUBJECT (view all)
o Holidays and Festivals
§ Carnival
§ Christmas
§ Easter
§ Festivals
§ Holidays
§ New Year's Celebrations
§ Ramadan
§ Spectacles
o Ancient (beginning of time to 4th century CE)
o Medieval (5th century - 14th century)
o Modern (15th century - 19th century)
o Present (20th century -21st century)
o Africa
o Asia
o Caribbean
o Europe
o Latin America
o Middle East
o North America
o Oceania

If you are not sure where to start, keyword is a good place. But if you know the title, author or the dates between which the item was published you can narrow your search using one or many different fields.

A title search can also be done using websites. For example in Google, to search for a book with a title Gregg Reference Manual, type intitle:Gregg Reference Manual. Searching this way will reduce the number of hits from 173,000 to about 7000. This is a more effective search if you know what you are looking for. It brings up information on the book titled "Gregg Reference Manual", instead of looking for three different words, Gregg, Reference and Manual.