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Guides for Better Searching

Quick Search Tips for Finding Biological & Agricultural Information

If you really don't know where to start, start here!
This page concisely indicates which resources to use to find information in bSeptember 20, 2006 when looking for biological vs agricultural vs general, information. It also includes a handy summary table on which search features and truncation symbols supported by the the various search engines are summarized.

Note: The same information that is in "Selected Electronic Databases for Biology and Agriculture" and "Quick Search Tips for finding Biological & Agricultural Information", above, is available as a flyer in the Life Sciences Library, printed on a single sheet, double-sided. Come in an pick one up, or contact us, and we'll send it out to you...as many copies as you need (e.g., if you need to distribute it to a class)!

Selected Electronic Databases for Biology and Agriculture

For the major Bio/Ag databases, provides:

Electronically Searching for Agricultural and Biological Research Articles

Note: this resource is used in Graduate-level training classes.
Learn the steps to effective searching:

  1. Define your search topic
  2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), nested parentheses and truncation.
  3. Refine your search using terms.

Specifically, you'll learn how to...


A Quick Reference Guide to Online Bio-Ag Resources at Purdue

Search Hints

Regardless of the search interface, using better searching skills will enable you to perform better searches.

Help pages for searching specific databases:

Database Help Purdue Help  
Web of Science Help    
  CAB Abstracts much of this help file would also apply to searching Biological Abstracts or FSTA
OVIDWeb Help   for Medline, Current Contents, Agricola, etc.
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts Help   for Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management, Aquatic Sciences & Fisheries Abstracts, etc.

Medline: Using the OVID vs. the PubMed search engine.

We have access to the database, Medline, via two search engines: OVID and PubMed. Both have advantages. Determine which is right for you.

Last update: March 9, 2008

Prepared by: Monica Kirkwood (monicacu@purdue.edu)