The Oxford Guide To Library Research

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-11-01
  • Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PR
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With all of the new developments in information storage and retrieval, researchers today need a clear and comprehensive overview of the full range of their options, both online and offline, for finding the best information quickly. In this third edition of The Oxford Guide to LibraryResearch, Thomas Mann maps out an array not just of important databases and print sources, but of several specific search techniques that can be applied profitably in any area of research. From academic resources to government documents to manuscripts in archives to business Web sites, Mann showsreaders how best to exploit controlled subject headings, explains why browsing library shelves is still important in an online age, demonstrates how citation searching and related record searching produce results far beyond keyword inquiries, and offers practical tips on making personal contactswith knowledgeable people. Against the trendy but mistaken assumption that "everything" can be found on the Internet, Mann shows the lasting value of physical libraries and the unexpected power of traditional search mechanisms, while also providing the best overview of the new capabilities ofcomputer indexing. Throughout the book Mann enlivens his advice with real-world examples derived from his experience of having helped thousands of researchers, with interests in all subjects areas, over a quarter century. Along the way he provides striking demonstrations and powerful arguments against thosetheorists who have mistakenly announced the demise of print. Essential reading for students, scholars, professional researchers, and laypersons, The Oxford Guide to Library Research offers a rich, inclusive overview of the information field, one that can save researchers countless hours of frustration in the search for the best sources on theirtopics.

Author Biography

Thomas Mann is currently a Reference Librarian in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
What research libraries can offer that the Internet cannot (both resources and search techniques
Trade-offs of what, who, and where restrictions on free access
Hierarchy of levels of learning
Data, information, opinion, knowledge, understanding
Wisdom separate
Implications of format differences
Nine methods of subject searching
Patterns in inefficient searches
Initial Overviews: Encyclopediasp. 1
Characteristics of encyclopedias
Specialized vs. general encyclopedias
How to find articles in specialized encyclopedias
Cross-disciplinary searching
How to identify additional specialized encyclopedias
Peculiar strengths of general sets
Subject Headings and the Library Catalogp. 18
Problems in determining the right subject headings
Uniform Heading
Scope-match specificity and its modifications
Specific entry
Four ways to find the right subject headings
Alphabetically adjacent terms
Subject tracings
Browse displays of subdivisions
Recognition vs. prior specification
Use of three menu listings
Precoordination and postcoordination
Particularly useful subdivisions
Miscellaneous tips on subject headings
Narrowing a topic
Proper names
Finding foreign language books
Pattern headings
General Browsing, Focused Browsing, and Use of Classified Bookstacksp. 46
Alternative methods of shelving book collections
The problems with shelving by accession number, by height, or in remote warehouses
Serendipity and recognition
General browsing vs. focused browsing
Full-text searching and depth of access
Lighthouse libraries example
Searching for a single word
Valery and Dreyfus example
Inadequacy of Google Print as a replacement for classified bookstacks
The complementary relationship of the library catalog and the classified bookstacks
The catalog as the index to the classification scheme
Trade-offs and remedies
Exploiting the internal structure of the cataloging system
The problems that result when the system is ignored
Browsing in other contexts
Importance of full texts of books arranged in subject groupings
Subject Headings and Indexes to Journal Articlesp. 65
Separate thesauri
Descriptor fields in online records
Eureka databases
Browse search feature
FirstSearch databases and Wilson Web counterparts
Related Subjects search feature
Contrast of Eureka and FirstSearch softwares
EBSCO Host research databases
Search features
Dialog and DataStar databases
ProQuest databases
Miscellaneous databases with controlled descriptors
Cross-disciplinary searching
Finding where journals are indexed and which journals are available electronically
Identifying the best journals
Problems with abbreviations of journal titles
The change in cataloging rules for serials
Keyword Searchesp. 99
Problems with controlled vocabulary searches
Advantages of controlled vocabularies
Problems with keyword searches
Advantages of keywords
Index/Abstractlevel keyword databases and printed sources
Full-text databases
Convenience vs. quality of access
ProQuest databases
EBSCO Host research databases
InfoTrac databases
Project Muse
Web sites on the open Internet
Search engines
Subject directories
Invisible Web sites
Google Print project
Citation Searchesp. 120
Finding where a known source has been footnoted by a subsequent journal article
ISI indexes
Web of Science
Cross-disciplinary coverage
Cycling sources
"Reviews" of journal articles
Additional features of ISI indexes
Citation searching in other databases
Related Record Searchesp. 130
Finding articles that have footnotes in common with a starting-point article
Differences between CD-ROM versions and Web of Science
Higher-Level Overviews: Review Articlesp. 134
"Literature review" or "state of the art" assessments
Differences from book reviews and encyclopedia articles
Web of Science "review" limit capability
Other sources of literature reviews
Published Bibliographiesp. 141
Differences from computer printouts of sources
Doing Boolean combinations without a computer
Two problems in identifying published bibliographies
Bibliographies not shelved with regular books
"Bibliography" can be missed in library catalog
Finding bibliographies via the library catalog
Finding bibliographies in Z class shelving area
Other sources for finding bibliographies
Guides to the literature
Bibliographies not superseded by computer sources
Boolean Combinations and Search Limitationsp. 153
Boolean combinations
Component word searching within controlled subject strings
Word truncation
Proximity searches
Limitations of sets
Limiting by time periods
Limiting by geographic area codes
Limiting by document types
Combining keywords and citation searches
Boolean combinations without computers
Precoordinated headings and browse displays
Published subject bibliographies
Focused shelf-browsing
How to identify which databases exist
Locating Material in Other Librariesp. 176
Determining library locations of desired items
WorldCat, RLG Union Catalog, National Union Catalog of Pre-1956 Imprints
Other union lists and databases
Web sites for identifying out-of-print books for sale
Determining which libraries have special collections on your subject
Interlibrary loan and document delivery
People Sourcesp. 185
Journalists and academics
Inhibiting assumptions
"Find it on your own"
Advantages of people sources
Listservs and discussion groups online
Techniques for students
Sources for identifying experts
Associations and directories
How to talk to reference librarians
Hidden Treasuresp. 204
Resources not shelved or cataloged with conventional research materials
Microform sets and counterpart Web sites
Web collections
Government documents
Particular importance of Congressional hearings
Archives, Manuscripts, and Public Records
Special Subjects and Formatsp. 238
Book reviews
Business and economics
Copyright status information
Genealogy and local history
Illustrations, pictures, and photographs
Literary criticism
Out-of-print and secondhand books
Primary sources
Standards and specifications
Tabular data
Tests (Psychological and Educational)
Reference Sources: Searching by Types of Literaturep. 261
Reference questions vs. research questions
Review of search techniques for research questions
Type of literature searches
Internet sources for fact searches
Coverage of the various types of literature
Understanding the formal properties of retrieval systems
The Discipline of library and information science
Sources for identifying types of literature in any subject area
Concluding thoughts
Wisdomp. 275
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