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Information Literacy Modules: System Tools

What are System Tools?

In the Searching module, we examined how searching works in the catalog and several databases. We looked briefly at the results in the catalog. That was a good introduction to the interface, but there are many more features available to help when conducting research. Some of these features help with the searching process, and some help with staying organized and retrieving information. This module will point out these features in the catalog and some of the databases. It is worth noting here that regardless of the system being used, there is always a help file available that explains how to best search that system. The various search techniques presented in the last module may work differently in each system, and the help file will clarify how to implement those strategies.

Before we look at the various electronic search interfaces, let’s take a moment to consider how Print Finding Tools function. How do you work with print indexes and bibliographies? That will depend on the index and bibliography. When working with a reference set, before opening up the set and looking around, look in the beginning of the item and look for something called the Introduction or the Scope. These sections will explain how the reference set is constructed, what you can expect to find as far as contents and organization.

Catalog Tools

Finding Tool Features: Catalog.

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We have already been introduced to this interface, the basic Library Catalog Search. Most of the areas visible in this view have already been explained, but there are a few more features to point out that can be used as you search. These are: the top menu bar, loans/renewals, requests, my account, and help. Most of these require you to be logged in to access.Picture. View of Library Catalog Basic Search screen.

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Top Menu Bar. This menu bar is always visible when working in the Library Catalog.  Library Home: Provides a link to the Library home page at Library Databases: Provides a link to the list of databases the Library has access to. This link can be used to work in the databases directly. Ask a Librarian: Provides a link to a page that provides access to a chat service staffed by SJR State Librarians, and contact information for our Public Services Librarians. Statewide Catalog: Provides a link to the Statewide Library Catalog. This system provides the ability to request materials from public colleges and universities around the state of Florida. My Account: Provides information about your Library account, such as loans and renewals and requests. We will look at these in more depth over the next few pages. Picture. Closeup view of the Top Menu Bar. It is displaying the labels just desribed.

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loans/reneawals: This area shows you how many items you have checked out and the items due dates. There is a renew feature available. The bottom area displays items requested through UBorrow.  UBorrow is the service in the Statewide Catalog that allows you to request books from other colleges and universities in the state system. Picture. Closeup of the Loans/Renewals button. Picture. View of the Loans/Renewals screen. Material checked out is displayed in a list, arranged alphabetically.

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requests: This area will show you the titles of items you have requested. The Local Hold Requests are titles owned by SJR State. UBorrow Requests are titles that have been ordered from other colleges and universities in the Statewide Catalog.  The bottom area that says Interlibrary Loan Requests is always blank. It is part of a  service that we do provide, but not through the Library Catalog. Picture.Closeup of the Requests button.  Picture. View of the Requests screen. Material requested is displayed in a list, arranged alphabetically. There are two areas. Local requests are displayed above, and UBorrow displays below.

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my account: This provides an overview of the other  features just described. The  third option under User Activity, View Bookings, will always be zero as this college does not use this feature. We also do not have fines visible in here.  Under Settings there is an area to Change Password. Keep in mind that the Library’s system is not directly linked to the College,  and changing the password in here is not related to MySJRstate. Since student access to these systems is controlled through what is know as Single Sign On through MySJRstate, you will most likely never know your password for the Library Catalog, thus changing it will neither help nor hurt your access.  Under Contact information, the phone number the Library has in our system is displayed. If it has changed, please let us know. Picture. Closeup of the My Account button. Picture. View of the My Account screen. The content is presented in three columns: User Activity, Settings, and Contact Information.

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This is a view of the Help file for the Library Catalog. It opens  to Catalog FAQs and Search Hints. The Help file is a list of helpful tips and hints with a menu of links to each entry at the top. Picture. Closeup of the Help button. Picture. View of the open Help menu. The various portions of the FAQ are displayed in two columns.

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Finding Tool Features in the Results Screen.

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This the a view of a results list. There are several features to examine on this screen that are helpful in controlling your results and how they are displayed.  The search area is always visible when working with results, so your search can be modified at any time. Picture. View of the Results Screen.

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The yellow box to the left side of the results list contains what are known as facets. In the last module it was mentioned that there is a way to remove eBooks from a results list.   The top check box, Books in the library, is that feature.  The check box directly below it allow you to only see items that are not checked out yet.  The rest of the facet areas correspond with the various search limiters in the drop down menus on the search screen examined in the last module. There are more facets available in each category than  provided in the drop down menus, making these extremely useful features.  At the bottom of each area, if more possible options are available, the  link “show more” appears. If clicked, the list expands and provides  check boxes for each option, so multiple options can be selected. This  is a way to choose more than one campus, but not select all three.  At the bottom of the box is the section Want more results? Try… The top link in this section, Search Other FL Academic Libraries, is a  Link to the Statewide Catalog. WorldCat is an international catalog that  is available to expand your search beyond the Florida public academic  system.  Any facet you may select can always be undone with a click at the top of the results list. Picture. View of the Facets menu from the results screen. Each Facets group is labeld, with actionable links listed that relate to the filter. The areas shown that are not mentioned in the text are: Format, with Book, Online Resouces, and Media shown as the top three types of formats avilable on the search. Show more is displayed after media. Next Area: Subject: Topic, with History, Business & Economics, and Electronic books shown as the top three results. Next Area: Author, wiith the names Evanovich, Janet, Gaiman, Neil, and Hanks, Tom, shown as the top three. Next Area: Language, with English, Spanish, and French shown as the top three. Next Area: Library Collection. The three campuses are listed, plus a fourth campus called St. Johns River/eResources. This is not a phyisical campus. It is used for eBooks and streaming media in the system. Picture. View of an expanded Facet list when Show More is clicked. This is the Format facet, and it shows: Biography, autobiography, Book, Fiction, Governemnt Publication, Media, Online Resource, Projected Medium, Streaming Video, Video DVD, and Video (all formats).

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The UBorrow link at the top of the screen will take you to the Statewide Catalog. The difference between this link and the one on the top menu bar is this will keep your search terms in place and provide results when you enter it. Picture. View of the UBorrow button. It is located at the top of the Results List page, on the top right corner, under the Start over button. . The other point of interest in this view are the sorting menus: Results/page: This feature allows you to control how many results are displayed on a screen. The choices are. Picture. Closeup of the Results/page drop-down image. The amounts available to select are: ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty. Sort By: This allows you to control how your results are presented. The default is Relevance, where the systems orders the results on what it determines to be the most relevant first.  Sometimes, depending on the need of your project, it is better to look for the newest (most recent) published material first, and that is an option. Picture. Closeup view of the Sort By drop-down menu. The selections available are: Relevance, Author A to Z, Pub Date (newest), Pub Date (oldest), Title A to Z.

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This is an example of a basic record in the results list. While this example is a book, there are various features available on this page that are available for every record.  Format: this item has an icon and a format description located under a brief  item description (Author, Publisher) Location: the college and campus name where the item is held Availability: this displays if the item is already checked out or available to be checked out. This feature is only available for physical items held in the Library (books, DVDs, etc.), but not for electronic items (eBooks, streaming videos, etc.) Accessibility tools: these tools are: add, print, email, txt, and export. We will look closer at these in a moment To see a detailed record of the item in question, click on the title. Picture. View of an item in the results list. The various features from the description are visible.

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Before we look at a detailed record, let’s consider the various icons that will be presented in the results list. The icons  are presented under the publication info.  In this example, we see a book and eBook. Below you can see the various icons displayed in the Library Catalog. Picture. View of Format Icons on the results list. The following formats are displayed as pictures: eBook. Streaming Video. Book. Video, DVD.  Sound Recording. Journal or Magazine. Newspaper. Musical Score, sheet music. CD, sound recording.

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This is the view of what is known as a bibliographic record. It provides details about each item, including areas to evaluate the result to see if it is what you are looking for, like Subject Headings, and Summary.  Let’s explore how it is set up and some of the features available. Picture. View of a Bibliographic Record in the Catalog. It includes descriptions of the item and an image of the book cover.

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This is the drop down menu from the search screen we looked at in Searching is a Bibliographic record. These search fields on the menu correspond with areas on the bibliographic records, which is what the system uses to search with. Picture. Closeup of the Search Fields drop-down menu. The menu includes: Keyword; Title; Journal Title; Author; Subject Heading; Series; ISBN, ISSN, OCLC, etc.; Call Number; Item Barcode. The Keyword search  field above searches all   of the areas on a record.  Some of the options on the menu do not always have related fields on a given record, such as Series. An item would need to be a part of a series to have that kind of information. Picture. View of a bibliographic record in the Library catalog. The record displays primarily in two columns. The left column shows the standardized description for each field. The right column displays the specific information about the book or DVD, etc. being displayed. The left column on this example includes the following fields: Author, etc.; Title; Published; Publisher; Description; Summary; ISBN; Subjects, general; Other author(s), etc.; Format. There are four arrows pointing from the menu image to the corresponding record image. Arrow is pointing from Search Field: Title on the drop-down menu to the Title, area on the bibliographic record image. Arrow is pointing from Search Field: Author on the drop-down menu to the Author, etc., area on the bibliographic record image. Arrow is pointing from Search Field: Subject Heading on the drop-down menu to the Subjects, general, area on the bibliographic record image. Arrow is pointing from Search Field: ISBN, ISSN, OCLC, etc., on the drop-down menu to the ISBN, area on the bibliographic record image. The author’s name is highlighted, and is a link. If you click on it, a new list will be generated that contains all of the titles in the system they wrote, as seen below. Picture. View of a new list of books by the same author. This list is produced by clciking on the author's name from the example bibliographic record page.

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Below that information you can see the location information. That includes the campus (in this case it is Orange Park), collection (in this case it is Popular Fiction), and the Call Number.  The call number is explained in detail in the next module Retrieving Sources.  Below the Location is the Details Holdings area.  It again shows the location info, but it also provides a bit more. Description – this areas sometimes contains useful notes, in this example it is blank  Item Status – this area indicated whether or not an item is checked out already, or on the shelf. This item is on the shelf and available. Due Date – If it was already checked out, there would be a due date here. Or there could be a message like Lost or Missing. When those are present the item is no longer available from the college. It may be found in the Statewide Catalog and be requested through UBorrow. A discussion on using UBorrow is presented in Retrieving Results. Note – this area is similar to Description, in that it may contain useful info, or is may be blank. Picture.View of lower portion of a bibliographic record.

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The last field available is the Place a Hold field. This is what you use to request items from between the campuses of this college (Local hold requests from the requests feature) .  Holds allow you to request items from between campuses, and allow you to  have your name attached to a title that is already checked out, so when it comes  back you will be notified and the item will be held for you. Picture. Closeup of the Hold Field. The last feature to examine on the record is the item toolbar available at the top of  the page. Most of these same tools were  pointed out when we were looking at the results list. add – this allows you to create a list of items you would like to examine closer. Just click on the folder icon to add the title to a list. view – this is how you can see the list you are creating. A list will only be saved while you are currently searching. Once you close the browser, or leave it inactive for too long, the list will be deleted. print –allows you to print the information on the page. This is not how you would print from an eBook or an article on CatalogPlus. permalink – this provides a url that will bring you back to the Library Catalog page. txt –you can text yourself a message that contains the title and location information. export – this feature allow you to send the citation information available on the page about the item to a citation building software (ReWorks, Zotero, etc.). Picture. Closeup of the Item Tool Bar from the top of the Bibliographic Record page.

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Database Tools

Finding Tool Features: Databases

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Quick Explanation. Just as in the catalog, the databases provide many features you may find useful. We will explore these here. Many of the different databases have the same basic types of features available. Instead of attempting to show them all, we will look closely at EBSCO. Then, using the same examples shown in the Searching module, we will point out the main differences in Gale, ProQuest and JSTOR. This section will work through the search screen and results lists, but the features available to gather information for the given formats will be explored in the next segment, Gathering Information as You Work.

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Database Selection: When first working with the various databases available through SJR State, it can be confusing to pick the right one. Each database has an explanation  of what it provides available right under the title.  Take  a moment to read it if you are not sure if the database you are considering will provide what you need. View of the Library's Databases A to Z page. Academic Search Complete is the second database in the list shown.

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EBSCO Features

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EBSCO Basic Search Screen. Though the database page does provide summaries, the database providers also offer summaries. EBSCO has information icons available for each database if you select the Choose Database link above the search box.View of EBSCO's Basic Search Screen. Above the search box, Choose Databases is highlighted. View of the opened Choose Databases feature. All of the databases avialable from EBSCO you have access to are visible, and each has an information icon that will provide a description of each database.

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EBSCO Top Menu Bar. The top of each EBSCO database has this blue bar. Depending on the databases selected, the features available may change. Let’s explore the options shown above. New Search, Does what it says, gives you a new search screen. Publications, This feature allows you to search for publications by title. This is an extremely useful search if looking for a particular journal or magazine. It will show you if the current database indexes that title. If it does, you can then see the years available, if it provides full text coverage, and more information on the publication. Subject Terms, This area allows you to search through EBSCO’s controlled vocabulary. As stated in Searching, they do not use Library of Congress Subject Headings.  Cited References, This is a type of search that looks for search terms in citations. It then cross searches to see if the citation located is referenced in other articles.  Images, This provides the ability to search for articles that include images. More, The more area will provide different options, depending on  the database chosen. The options for Academic Search Complete is Indexes. Indexes refer to the different areas on the records the system uses to search (author, title, publication title, etc.) Sign In, Though you are signed into the system through the college, it is possible to create a user account in EBSCO. Many databases provide this option. We will look at this further in a moment. Preferences, This requires that you create a profile and sign in to use. It allows you to control how results are displayed and certain features for emailing records. Languages, This allows you to control the language the system displays the interface. It does not  effect the language of the content in the various articles.  Ask a Librarian, This is a chat service the college offers, and can be accessed through this link. Help, This feature is the help file for EBSCO. It has been mentioned before, but it will provide descriptions on how to use all of the various aspects of the EBSCO databases. Including the advanced searching techniques described in Searching.Vew of the top menu bar in EBSCO. The menu consists of the areas described. Closeup of the More drop-down menu. I contians one selection titled Indexes.

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EBSCO Results List Features. On the left side of any results list in EBSCO, there are more filters available. Many of these are on the Basic and Advanced search screens. The top box of the Refine Results area shows filters applied to the initial search, as well are the search terms. Full Text was the only filter applied. It can be removed by clicking on the blue X. These filters can be added or removed as you work with the results. The filters are: Limit To, This allows limiting to Full Text, References Available (the articles provided contain reference to other materials) and Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.  Source Types, This area will change depending on the database being  searched and the types of results retrieved on the search terms.  Subject: Thesaurus Term, this provides a list of controlled vocabulary terms related to the search terms. Subject, This provides a list of possible search terms related to the initial search, but they are not controlled vocabulary. The rest of the filters are specific to those indexes. View of the Refine Results area. It is presented in a list/column on hte top left side of the results list. This image shows Limit To, and Source Types. View of the bottom of the Refine Results area. This image shows the Subject: Thesaurus Term and Subject facets/filters.

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EBSCO Format Icons. This is a view of the search results. There are several features available we will explore, but first it is worth noting that much like the catalog these are icons that indicate the type of source. The full text of an article is also available from this view, as is PlumX Metrics. The PlumX Metrics is a service EBSCO uses to cross reference articles/book chapters with usage information. It tracks if an article/book chapter is cited in other publications, if it is mentioned on blogs or in social media, and several other areas. Image of results list. Two academic articles are displayed.  Icons explained are. Format Icon, Journal Article. Format Icon, Magazine or Trade Journal Article. Format Icon, Newspaper Article. Format Icon, Book Chapter. Format Icon, Book Review. Format Icon, Primary Source/Government Document.

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EBSCO Feature Menus: Relevance, Page Options, and Share. The Relevance menu allows you to control the order the results are displayed. There are less options than what is available in the catalog, but it does allow to work with the default, Relevance. Then it is possible to sort to oldest or newest, sort by author, or source. Source would be the title of the journal, book, magazine, newspaper, etc. View of expanded relevance menu with the following options: Date Newest, Date Oldest, Author, Source, Relevance.   The Page Options menu allows you to control how the results are displayed.  The default for how much info is  shown is brief, but more can be selected. Whether or not images are included on the results list. The amount of  results per page can be modified. And last, how the page layout is presented can also be modified. View of the Page Options menu. There are four sections with various options. Section one, Resluts Format: Standard, Brief, defualt view, Title Only, and Detailed. Section two, Image Quick View: text reads, View thumbnails of the images in an article from the results list. On, Off. Section three, Results per page: top row, five, ten, is the default, twenty. bottom row, thrity, forty, fifty. Section four, Page Layout: one column, two columns with filter tools on the left side, three columns, is the default, two columns with filter tools on the right side.  The Share menu allows you to save the results list if you want to. The list can be added to your account folders. It can be emailed or sent to your RSS feed service. Also the system provides a permalink that will recreate the list. view of the Share menu. There are three sections. Section one, Add to Folder: Results (1-10), and Add search to folder. Section two, Create an Alert: E-mail Alert, and RSS Feed. Section three, Use Permalink: Persistent link to search (copy and paste) with a URL presented.

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My EBSCOhost. This is a sign in screen for My EBSCOhost. This is the Sign In link on the blue bar described on the search screen. Creating an account in EBSCO is an excellent way to organize your content.  Searches, articles, book chapters , etc., can be saved. Folders can be created to help with organization. All of the databases available through EBSCO are linked to this account. To create an account, simply click that link on the screen below and follow the instructions. Most of the databases have a feature like this.   The one thing that may be a drawback is if you choose to create multiple accounts and save work in the different providers (Gale, EBSCO, ProQuest, etc.). There is no way to combine the separate accounts.  It is also worth noting that these accounts are only accessible when you are logged into the database through MySJRstate. This does not create a private account to EBSCO, it creates an area inside EBSCO to save work. If one attempted to log directly into EBSCO using these credentials, they would be unsuccessful. View of the Sign in to My EBSCOhost page. It asks for Username and Password, or the option to create an account.

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Gale Features

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Gale Advanced Search. This is a view of the advanced search screen examined in the Searching module. There are a few areas worth examining: Browse Topics – this takes you to a screen that provides the titles of different academic topics. Click on one to explore lists of various subjects the database provides content on. Search History – this is similar to the same feature in the SJR State Catalog. Get Link – this provides a permalink for the page you are currently viewing. Highlights and Notes – Gale allows a user to highlight and notate articles, and save this information while searching. This feature on the menu brings one to a view to review the material. View of the top of theAdvanced Search screen. The features described are located toward the top right area of the screen, under the logo banner.

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Gale Advanced Search Continued. At the top of the page are two areas that stand out:  Sign in with Google, as you work in Gale, it is possible to save articles and other materials found directly in Google Drive. This saving option is also available in other databases, but Gale provides a login on the search screen.  Much like Google Drive, Microsoft provides OneDrive. If you have a Microsoft account, material can be saved directly into OneDrive.  Because Gale has integrated with Google and Microsoft in this way, they do not provide a My Account feature to save work.  As seen in EBSCO, Gale provides a Subject Guide Search to search their controlled vocabulary, and a publication search that allows you to search for specific publications. The one area Gale offers that is different is Topic Finder. Same view of the Advanced Search screen as the previous page. The Google Drive and Mircosoft features are available in the very top right corner of the screen, above the banner image. The other desbribed Features are located below the top search box, towards the left side of the screen.

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Gale Topic Finder This particular feature is nice when thinking about how to narrow a subject. Gale provides a visual break down of the various areas there is information on a given subject. The amount of sources available is indicated by a combination of color and size. When a tile is selected, a list of all topics related to that tile is presented in the pane to the right. The larger tiles have more subdivisions that can be used to narrow the results list.  If a larger tile is selected and you want to return to the previous screen, use the Reset link just above the tile display. View of the Topic Finder screen. A search box is located in the upper left corner. A field of cells are displayed on the left portion of the screen that represent various topics that are related to the subject searched. The most relevant topics are presented in the upper left corner of the pane, with decreasing relevance being presented gradually towards the lower right corner of the pane. The right pane is used to display results of cells selected.

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Gale Publication Format Display. Gale displays the results a bit differently from EBSCO. Instead of mixing the various types of formats and providing filters, Gale separates the various formats into result sets. Academic Journals, if there are any, normally default to the first position. The other formats available are  listed in the toolbar Showing Results For.   As you scroll down the results list, other areas to narrow on are displayed to the right, and many of these filters are the same as EBSCO.View of a results list in Gale. Formats of the types of results are presented from left to right along the top of the list. Filters are displayed to the right of the list.

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ProQuest Features

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ProQuest Search Screen. ProQuest provides a general search screen that allows you to work with all of their content, or you can select one subject area to see what is offered in that area. As is the case with most databases, a Help feature is available. ProQuest provides this in the Learn about the ProQuest Platform section.  The icons at the top of the screen provide as follows: The arrow/clock icon presents recent searches, within  current session. The folder allows you to view selected items. Remember the check boxes in the catalog? Many databases have a similar feature.  The Head icon brings you to an area to access your account, just like in EBSCO.  The question mark is another way to access the Help area. View of the main ProQuest general search screen. The described icons are in the top right corner. In the middle of the screen is the ability to select specific content databases that are available. Nursing and Allied Health  is highlighted. The next image shows a close up of the first page of that database. View of the close up opening screen for Nursing and Allied Health.  All of the described features are avalable on this interface as well.

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ProQuest Browse Feature. Of the other features available on the ProQuest search screen, the last one worth pointing out is Browse. This provides a specific set of materials that may differ depending on the subscription to ProQuest. SJR State’s subscription only includes the two areas visible here.  Video Training Programs for health related careers. This section provides a list of hundreds of videos on various nursing and allied-health topics.  Practical Nursing  and Registered Nursing, these areas provide a study path for becoming a  nurse. Documents on Health Promotion and Maintenance, Management of Care Environment, Management of Therapies and Treatments, Nursing Sciences, and Nursing Specialties are provided.   ProQuest presents its results similarly to EBSCO. The mix the formats, but provide icons to indicate what each result is. View of the Browse Feature. Image described in text.

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JSTOR Features

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JSTOR About Feature JSTOR provides an About feature that provides a detailed overview of how they are structured. It also has a Login to My Account feature just above About.  SJR State has access to the following collections: Arts & Sciences 1. Arts & Sciences 2. Arts & Sciences 3. Arts & Sciences 4. Arts & Sciences 7. Life Sciences. View of the JSTOR Advanced Search screen. The indicated featrues are in the upper right corner. View of the JSTOR ABout page.

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JSTOR Journal Filter. Below the Advanced Search Screen, JSTOR provides a list of all academic topics they have materials in. Each topic  has a check box if you want to limit to that area. If you click on the blue arrow next to any topic, the titles of the journals available on that topic are presented. You can in turn select specific journal titles, or any combination you think will be beneficial.   This subject selection area replaces the publication search found in the other databases. The publication dates available on  a given title are listed next to the title.  View of the top of the JSTOR Journal Filter. The list of subjects is fairly long and requires scrolling. Close up of one of the subject opened up. The titles of the Journals available on that subject  are presented as a subset, which is also failry long.

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Internet Search Engine Tools

Though our modules mainly focus on the Library’s search systems, the internet is another place to find information. The concept of what a search engine is was described in Selecting Finding Tools. There are several in common use today, these include Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo to name a few. The most popular choice at this time is Google.

Just like the catalog and databases, search engines have the ability to create complex search strings. In other words, there are more ways to search with Google than to just put your search terms into the basic search box. Let’s take a moment to look at a few.

Advanced Searching –
  • Search by File Type: you can look for specific types of files by using the term filetype: and the 3 letter file abbreviation. (e.g. filetype:pdf or filetype:ppt)
  • Search Within a Site: if you know you want something specific from a site, but are unsure of where to look for it, use Google to help. Use the term site: and then the URL with what you are looking for. (e.g. library hours
  • Remove Words: you can eliminate unwanted results by putting a “-“ before a key term. This will remove that word from your results list. (e.g. Using “pancake recipes -shortening” will only retrieve sites that do not have the word shortening on them)
  • Find Exact Quotes/Phrases: as in the Library’s catalog, you can put quotation marks around a set of words, and you will only retrieve results that have that exact order of words. Google tends to ignore articles (a, an, the, el, la) so if it is important to include an article the quotation marks will make it includes the word.
  • Similar Web Sites: to find sites that are like ones you already use, include the operator related: followed by the web address of interest. (e.g.

There are more ways to adjust and improve your searching in a search engine. Most have an Advanced search area that provides tools and tips. Also, just like the databases, most search engines also have help files. To find these features in Google, look to the bottom right corner of the screen and click on Settings.

View of the Googel Home page. The mentioned features are toward the bottom right corner.

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