Search Skills

  • Basic concepts for database searching. Concepts and terminology useful in thinking about the two main approaches to search and retrieval of documents. Very brief. See also the larger glossary.
  • Search operator comparison. A one page table comparing basic search operators in three different search engines.
  • Search tips, part one. This covers elementary topics like controlled vocabulary; precision vs recall; how to find better search terms; how to retrieve more or less in a bibliographic database; how to group or combine terms (when a search engine allows grouping of terms with logical and proximity operators). The problems of synonymy and polysemy; single search (federated and unified discovery search systems which attempt to deal with multiple databases).
  • Search tips, part two. More on searching a controlled vocabulary database vs a natural natural language document set. Problems inherent in relevance ranking and secret automatic features. The future.
  • Recent changes in LC subject headings. Including headings for God and the Bible.
  • Assignments and drills. Exercises to help you develop better search skills. Includes some homework assignments for RS101, DM102, BS1004 and other courses.