Information Competence

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Overview of Databases

Overview of the Web

Search Strategies

Evaluating Results

Capturing Information

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Interpreting search results in bibliographic databases

Evaluating search results

Most systems have several ways of displaying your results. Often the search results are first displayed as a list of brief records, like the example below:

Notice this list of brief records includes only an abbreviated magazine title and partial article title.

You will need to view the full record to evaluate the information.. e.g. if you were interested in #3, you would select that record.
Below is the full record display for #3. The information in the Abstract and Subject fields should help you decide whether this article is relevant to your topic. Also note the date and title of publication (source, in this case) to see if the material is appropriate for your information needs.
Notice the subject headings for this item which indicate the major topics covered in this article.

If you topic was "deforestation", this article would NOT be relevant. "Deforestation" is only mentioned in the abstract.

Interpreting search results

The full record display also provides the bibliographic information you need to get the complete article.

Here is the information you need: author, article title, and most importantly, the full magazine title, issue date and pages.

Locating the item

Once you have the bibliographic information, you must check the library's online catalog to locate the actual item.

For example, if you are looking for a book, you search the library's online catalog using the author or title access point.

If you are looking for an article, it is important to remember you must search the online catalog for the title of the publication, not the title of the article..

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