Library research workshop

Recently, I meet with Cathy Costa at the Library to go over current research techniques using library resources. I decided to capture some notes and links in a blog post as we covered a lot of ground in the meeting. I will extend these notes out beyond my personal needs to make this a useful resource for students.

A first major step is to define a list of keywords and phrases. These can be defined through trial and error as you begin to search. The trick is to develop an archiving method that enables each search to be collated for further investigation. The social bookmarking tool delicious could be useful for this including using the ‘notes’ section, which can be used to make notes that precis each bookmark and how it relates to your search. There are dozens of video tutorials on delicious online. This one by commoncraft is short and to the point as an introduction. Endnote could be used directly for more definate collation as the url and full reference will be included.

Some searching tips taken from Cathy’s powerpoint:

  • AND, OR, NOT can be used to combine keywords.
  • “Phrases are put inside quotes”
  • Truncation symbols are used after a word to get varied endings to that word i.e publish* publisher, publishing
  • In our discussion of these resources we talked about the concept of filtering. This is working out ways to narrow down a search, along with developing a type of personalised portal for searching out your own research. There is an application springshare that the library uses with library staff to create customised portals. This is got me thinking about outside social media services that may be used for a similar purpose. Andrew Murphie mentions zotero in this post Zotero – Firefox extension and really useful reference and note manager.

    The library has begun this filtering process with the Library subject guides which provide a media section. Descriptions of the preferred databases to try are on this webpage.

    The suggested bigger database Communication and Mass Media is a good one to start with for a general search.

    The citation database Scopus is really useful for cross referencing articles and seeing which writers are more widely read that others through how much they have been referenced in other articles.

    Google Scholar is another powerful and useful access in terms of scale and searching process. There is RMIT proxy access to Google Scholar which enables extra functionality. This can be accessed directly with Novell access from the drop down by the library search window on the rmit library home page. Downloading citations direct to endnote can be set in the google ‘scholar preferences’ by the search button. Then navigate to the drop down at the very bottom of the page. When endnote is selected hit save at the top of the page.

    The ‘advanced search’ option is the way to go in google scholar as it provides more functionality to focus searches.

    A web 2.0 approach via the Google search engine can isolate the search to blog within Australia http://blogsearch.google.com.au/.

    Other notes:

    With e-books some only allow a certain amount of reading screen time on some databases if they have not been purchased outright by the library. If that e-book receives 3 links then the library will provide full unlimited screen time.

    Citations can be downloaded from articles and imported into endnote. The referencing style can then be converted into whatever style you are working with automatically. Endnote download for rmit students and staff.

    Through Proquest the library has access to safari technical e-books.

    Other useful links:

    Literature review – Library and the learning lab version.
    Infotrek tutorials covering things like strategies for refining a search.

    Finding a thesis

    Subject gateways:
    intute best of the web
    Librarians Internet Index Media

    Open archive:
    OAlster
    Scirus for scientific information

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