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CST-100: Researching Points of Interest

Find articles

Print issues of National Geographic:

  • From 20 calendar years ago to present - located at Parham Road Campus Library
  • Current calendar year to present - located at the Downtown Campus Library

AND

Type AND between your keywords to narrow your search. The database or search engine will only retrieve those articles or web pages that contain both words. Using AND will decrease the number or hits or articles or web pages in your result list.

Example: school AND crime

Note: Some databases and search engines (such as Google and Craigslist) allow you to type a plus sign (+) in front of a keyword when doing a basic search. This works the same as AND.

Example: +school +crime

 

School And Chrime search

OR

OR Type OR between your keywords to broaden your search. The database or search engine will retrieve those articles or web pages that contain at least one of these words. Using OR will increase the number of articles or web pages in your result list (especially if not used in combination with AND or NOT). Use OR between keywords that are synonyms or have similar meanings. Example: baby OR infant

 

Search for Baby or Infant

NOT

Type NOT before a keyword to exclude that keyword from your search. Using NOT will decrease the number of articles or web pages in your result list. The best use of NOT is when you are searching for a keyword that may have multiple meanings.

Example: bat NOT baseball

 

Search for bat Not base ball

Combining Boolean Operators

Use parentheses ( ) to keep combination searches in order. In the example below, the database or search engine will retrieve articles or web pages that must contain the word law and at least one of the words in parentheses.

Example: (ecstasy OR mdma) AND law

 

Search combining law ecstasy mdma

Wildcard Symbols

Wildcard symbols can be typed in place of a letter or letters within a keyword if you are not sure of the spelling or if there are different forms of the root word.

Example: wom?n will find both women and woman.

Note: Again, check the Help or Tips links available on most library databases and Internet search engines to verify the wildcard symbol that should be used - usually an asterisk (*) or question mark (?)

Exact Phrase Searching

To look for an exact phrase, use quotation marks (" ") around the keywords. Example: "attention deficit disorder” Note: this works in most search engines as well. If you type an exact phrase without quotations when doing a basic search, most search engines will look for each word separately. This means your result list will include web pages that not only contain the exact phrase (ex: attention deficit disorder) but also web pages that contain a word or words from the exact phrase appearing separately (ex: attention may appear in one paragraph or sentence and disorder will appear in another paragraph or sentence).

  • From the Advanced Search screen, enter your search terms.
  • Search strategies to try: 
    • placing the name of your point of interest within quotations to find the exact term  -
      • "yellowstone national park"
    • connecting search terms with the Boolean operators (AND & OR)
  • You can narrow your results in the Limit your results section:
    • To view only full articles, checkmark the box next to Full-Text.
    • To view only recent articles published within the last 2-5years, enter the earliest publication year you would like to search in the 1st year box. 
  • When the results screen appears, results are automatically sorted in relevance order.

EBSCOhost Advanced Searching Video Tutorial

Scroll down the main search screen to limit your search to the Richmond Times Dispatch or Virginia News Sources.

Access World News Video Tutorial

What Are Databases and Why You Need Them Video Tutorial

Comparison Table

The table below compares the various differences between information found in the library databases vs. the open Web:

Library Databases

(e.g., Academic Search Complete & MasterFile Premier)

Open Web

(e.g. Google & Bing)

Types of Information Retrieved

  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Popular magazine articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Reference book articles (e.g., directories, encyclopedias)
  • Books
  • No sponsors or ads

When to Use

  • Best for college level research.
  • When you need to find credible information quickly.
  • Best for personal information needs including shopping and entertainment.
  • When you have time to more carefully evaluate information found on the open web.

Creditability / Review Process

  • Articles and books written by journalists or experts in a professional field.
  • All material in database is evaluated for accuracy and credibility by subject experts and publishers.
  • Reviewed and updated regularly.
  • Lack of control allows anybody to publish their opinions and ideas on the Internet.  
  • Not evaluated (for the most part).  Need to more carefully evaluate web sites for bias, accuracy, and completeness.
  • Many sites are not updated regularly and can become outdated.

Cost / Accessibility

  • Most information found through a search engine is free. 
  • Library databases cannot be accessed through search engines or the open web.
  • Many web sites found through Internet search engines contain licensed, proprietary information and require you to logon with a user account.  You must already be a member or pay for a subscription in order to access the material from these web sites.

Usability

  • The organization and various search capabilities of library databases allow users to search for and retrieve focused and relevant results.
  • Less ability to search for and retrieve precise results using search engines like Google.  Need to wade through a “grab bag” of results.

Constancy / Permanence / Stability

  • Published content from journals, magazines, newspapers and books does not change.
  • Most material remains in database for a significant length of time and can be easily retrieved again.
  • Web site content can often change.
  • Web pages and sites may disappear for a number of reasons.  May not be able to retrieve the same content at a later time.

Citing

  • Many databases include a citation tool that will automatically generate an APA or MLA style reference for the article you select.  You may still need to “tweak” this citation but these tools serve as a good starting point for citing your articles in a particular format.
  • Most web sites found on the open web do not provide a citation tool or an already formatted APA or MLA style reference for the web pages on their site.  You will need to start your citation from scratch using APA or MLA style manuals or handouts from your instructor or the library. 

 

 

Use My Reynolds username and password to access library databases from off-campus

If you click on any Reynolds Library database link from off-campus, you will get a Virginia's Community Colleges login screen first.  Login with the same username and password you use for accessing any services through My Reynolds (e.g., Canvas). After you login, you will get the database search screen.

If you are a student currently enrolled in a Reynolds course, and cannot login from off campus, please email Will Weaver (Web Services Librarian) dweaver@reynolds.edu or call 804.523.5323.

 

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