Sault College subscribes to a wide variety of online databases that provide full-text articles and citations for thousands of magazine, journal and newspaper titles. The steps below will help you construct an effective search and achieve targeted results.
Library Staff are available to assist you and each database offers online help.
|How to Develop and Perform a Database Search|
|1. Choose a Topic||
For example: Nutrition for Children
|2. Brainstorm a variety of keywords to use in your search and further define your topic||
|3. Design a Search Strategy||
|4. Select Databases for your Search|
|5. Display the Results of the Search and Modify as Required||
|6. Evaluate Search Results||
|7. Record your Search Strategy||
|8. Select Records to Print, Download or Email||
One of the most powerful capabilities of online searching is the ability to combine concepts. Boolean operators control the logical relationships among concepts and link two or more search terms to make your search more precise.
Boolean logic consists of three logical operators:
Simple Search without Using Boolean Operators
Chart of Search Results for Each Search
See explanations below
The “AND” Operator
The AND operator requires that both of the search terms are present in each record.
The AND operator narrows your search and retrieves less results.
The more terms we combine in a search with AND logic, the fewer records we will retrieve.
Example: “College AND University” will only find the documents where the term ‘college’ and ‘university’ both appear.
The “OR” Operator
The OR operator broadens your search and retrieves more results.
OR logic is most commonly used to search for synonymous terms or concepts. It collates the results to retrieve records containing one term, the other, or both.
Example: “College OR University” will find documents with the terms “college”, documents with the term “university” and documents with both terms.
The NOT Operator
The NOT operator narrows your search and retreives less results by excluding a term.
Exercise caution when using NOT: the term you do want may be present in an important way in documents that also contain the word you wish to avoid.
Example: "college NOT university" will only find records where the term ‘college’ is present and the term ‘university’ is not present.
Using Quotations (Phrase searching)
Quotations force words to be searched as a phrase, in the exact order you type them. For example “working mothers”. If you had searched for working mothers without quotation marks, you would have retrieved all records with working and mothers in the document, but not necessarily the words combined as a phrase. Note: Databases automatically assume you want an AND between any two words typed without a boolean operator (working AND mothers).
Truncation symbols allow you to search for suffix variations of root terms or words.
Examples are – Child* (will search for child, children, children’s), Nurs* (will search for nurse, nurses, nursing, nurse’s). The characters used to represent Truncation searching will vary by database, so always check the help files.
Using Parenthesis (Nesting)
Use parenthesis to specify the order in which search terms will be combined. Parenthesis MUST BE USED to group terms joined by OR when there is any other Boolean operator in the search. Without parenthesis, terms will be combined in left-to-right order.
|If you enter:||The Database:|
birds and dogs or cats
|Provides records containing both birds and dogs, and records containing cats whether or not they contain birds or dogs|
|(birds and dogs) or cats||The same results as above|
|birds and (dogs or cats)||Searches for records containing dogs or cats or both, then searches this subset of records for records containing birds so that all records contain birds and dogs OR birds and cats OR birds and cats and dogs|
Wild card symbols allow you to search for spelling variations within the same or related terms. Example – Wom?n (will search for both woman and women), Colo?r (will search for both colour and color). The characters used to represent Wildcard searching will vary by database, so always check the help files.
Including or Excluding Words (+/-)
Your search may include a common word that is ignored by the database or your results may include words that you want to exclude. To force the database to include a word in your search, use a plus sign (example: Star Wars Episode +1). To force the database to exclude results with an irrelevant word, use a minus sign. For example, to find articles about surfing on the water and exclude articles about surfing the internet, search for: surfing –internet.
To Access Library Databases
Ron Doyle Library
443 Northern Avenue
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
(705) 759-2554 ext. 2711
To access the databases from off-campus:
Don't know your PIN?
PINs are emailed to Sault College accounts on the 6th of every month.
Look for "Library Notice" from "Sirsi".
Or you can reset your PIN on your own.
Follow the instructions here: www.saultcollegelibrary.ca/blog/Library-Pin