MODULE 3: Books as Information Sources:
Section 4 of 6, LIBARARY DATABASES FOR BOOKS, page 5 of 5.


A very good way to learn how how the databases work is simply by trying them out.

Go ahead … snoop around! Don't worry, it's impossible to hurt the database by pushing any/all of the buttons.

While you are in NetLibrary, try out the Reference Center (linked on the right side of the home page). It allows you to search and browse reference resources including encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, handbooks, thesauri, and more. Not just plain-old dictionaries, but reference books for art, biology, chemistry, computer science, history, literature, and most other disciplines.

Try some of the other book databases. Here are two suggestions:

Here are a few quick suggestions and snapshots. Feel free to search on any words you want. Chocolate is always a good search term ... it works in just about any database.


Database name = Credo Reference. Search terms = germany and submarine. In All Subjects (Credo gives you a choice).

Now try the same search, but use some searching techniques to enhance your search. This time, search on (german or germany) and submarine. You should find significantly more items than in the first search.

Click the small image to the right to view a sample results list from the Credo Reference database.

The most basic and most useful searching techniques can very often be used in searching indexes such as library databases (of all types) as well as Internet search engines.

One technique is connecting terms using one or more of the words and, or, and not.

The word and, as used in our search, acts as what is variously called a limiter, connector, operator, or Boolean operator (named for George Boole, inventor of Boolean algebra).

The use of parenthesis to tell the database how to group search terms is known as nesting.

The main thing to remember about using connectors (and or not) is that if you are using them properly, the and connector will get you fewer results, but or will get you more. Remember the phrase "Or gets you more." Using the not operator can be tricky in that it often winds up eliminating useful items, so use it sparingly (and carefully).

These techniques will be demonstrated in greater detail in Module 4 of this tutorial.

FYI: Searching the term Chocolate in the Credo Reference database finds greater than 2,000 items.


This a great resource not only for those in Psychology and Counseling classes, but also for those studying Education, Criminal Justice, Human Resource Management, and many other fields.

Database name = PsycBooks. Search terms = student and (tests or test taking or exam).

The results list for this search includes more than 200 items.While PsycBooks does contain entire books, it more typically presents its results one chapter or section at a time.

Click the small image to the right to view a sample page of a book from the PsycBooks database.



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