Database Searching: Study Guide: Answering These Questions Will Require Reading and Application of the Textbook.
1. What is a "database?" Name a few examples of familiar databases.
2. What is a "database record?"
3. In keyword searching, what strong ability of computers is used?
4. What is a "truncation" or "wildcard?" Give an example along with the appropriate symbol.
5. Explain the "OR command" in Boolean searching and indicate in what types of searches it works best?
6. Explain the "AND command" in Boolean searching and indicate in what types of searches it works best?
7. Explain the "NOT command" in Boolean searching and indicate in what types of searches it works best?
8. Some databases will allow you to leave out the Boolean AND, and just input keywords with spaces between them. In other databases, if you do this the computer program will understand that you are constructing a ___________________________________?
9. Why do words by themselves have no definite meaning? How do they get a meaning?
10. All data comes within a ______________________________________________?
11. Explain an "information hierarchy." Choose two or three topics and illustrate how each fits into one of more hierarchies (a diagram words best for this).
12. Regarding hierarchies, in research you must know where you are ___________________ ____________________ __________________________.
13. What does it mean to say that keywords are "flat?"
14. How do clustering search tools like Yippy help to resolve the problem of the flatness of keywords?
Assignment For A Research Project Of Your Own
1. State a research question on a topic of your choice. Have a good look at it and determine exactly what you want to search for.
2. Do a keyword search for books in a library catalog by: (a) Choosing important words related to your topic, and doing searches by the words either individually or in Boolean combinations. Include the actual searches you tried, e.g. (Skinner or behaviourism) AND Walden; and, (b) Listing 8-10 books, relevant to your topic, which you identified through your keyword search. Keep as narrowly focused on your research question goal as possible.
Michael Lowder, Director of Library Services
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