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Hints & Tips for Effective Searching

These hints are designed to help you search any bibliographic database.
They were written with the biologist in mind.

Search Engine

Truncation Symbol

Purdue Catalog

?

OVID

$

SilverPlatter

*

FirstSearch

+

AltaVista, HotBot

*

Instead of:

Use:

soybean*

(soybean* or soyabean* or Glycine max)

 

Search Set Number

Search History

1

scent$ or volatile$

2

petal$ or stamen$ or pistil$ or flower$

3

1 and 2

4

2 or floral

5

1 and 4

Subject Headings, Descriptors, Identifiers, and Keywords.

Descriptors and subject headings come from a standardized list of vocabulary (a thesaurus) that the database provider has devised and is applying to describe specific concepts. They can be used to pull together related articles. "Keywords" are generally non-controlled vocabulary, which enhance one's understanding of the topic of the paper. All of these terms or phrase may give you ideas for additional vocabulary terms for your search.

 

Last update: March 9, 2008

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