A database is an organized collection of online records in a standardized format that can be stored and accessed in a variety of ways. The library catalog is one example of a database.
Each record in the library catalog is composed of important elements of information that describe a specific item. For example, the elements of information for a specific book title would be contained in a single catalog record.
Each record is composed of a set of fields which contain the individual elements of information. For example, each record in a library catalog includes fields such as: title, author, and subject headings.
Example of a Detailed Record from the Library Catalog
A keyword search retrieves words or phrases from the important fields of the database records. In most databases a keyword search finds words in fields that have descriptive content, such as author, article title, source title (book, journal, magazine, or newspaper, subject/descriptor terms, and abstract. In some databases, additional fields may be included in the keyword search. And in other databases, a keyword search will search everything in every record. Some keyword search engines allow you to specify which field(s) are to be searched.
A keyword search usually retrieves more items than a subject search, but they may not all be relevant. The computer is looking for the exact word you typed, not for the meaning or context of the word.
For example, a search on AIDS will retrieve items on...
A keyword search is the best method to use when:
Some search tips:
A subject search involves searching the subject headings used in a database. Most databases include subject headings that are assigned to each record.
A list of subject headings, called a database thesaurus, ensures that all items about the same topic have uniform headings. Users can then retrieve all of the items on the same topic using one word or term, even when there may be several other ways to state the concept. By using the subject heading, you will retrieve every relevant item for your topic. Searching with a subject heading retrieves items ABOUT that particular topic, and it is a more precise search than a keyword search.
For example, you may want to research the topic death penalty.
Possible ways (synonyms) to state this topic include:
The thesaurus for the library catalog is called Library of Congress Subject Headings. If you would like to consult this resource, or if you are unsure whether a particular database has a thesaurus, ask a reference librarian.
Subject Heading Search:
Use the library catalog to search for items at all three Reynolds campus libraries including:
Specific search tips for using the library catalog:
For additional information or assistance on searching the library catalog, ask a Reynolds librarian.
General search strategy tips:
For additional information on general search strategies, review the Online Search Strategies page.
**You can also access the library catalog from most of our research guides located at http://libguides.reynolds.edu.
When the search results screen appears, you have the option to limit your results to type of resource including online articles, online and print books, and multimedia (e.g., online videos and DVDs) as well as various other options.
To limit results to books and videos available (not checked out), click on the Books & Media from the Availability menu on the right.
To limit results to books only, click on Books from the Resource Type menu on the right.
To limit results to print books from a particular campus, Parham, Downtown or Goochland, click on the specific campus link from the Library menu on the right.
You can search for words in the Author/creator, Title, or Subject fields by using the menu from the simple search screen or using this menu from the Advanced search screen.
Advanced Search Screen:
When viewing the results list or detailed record for an item, online articles, eBooks and streaming videos will be indicated by Online access or Full Text Available. Click on these links to view the online resource.
If you are accessing eBooks and other online material from off-campus, you will be prompted to login with your My Reynolds username and password. If you are accessing an eBook from ProQuest Ebook Central from both on and off campus, you will be prompted to select your institution first (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College), then login with your My Reynolds from on and off-campus.
When viewing the result list, physical items (e.g., print books, DVDs) will include the following information: the specific campus that holds the item, the specific collection where the item is located, and the Library of Congress (LC) call number which indicates where the item is located on the shelf. If items are available (not checked out), they will be indicated by Available at.
Items checked out will be indicated by Checked out from.
If an item is already checked out (indicated by Checked out from), you can request that the item be held for you when it is returned to the library by clicking on Request this item. You can also use the Request this item option to have an already available item transferred to another campus library for pickup.
1. To request the item, click on the item title from the results list to view the detailed record.
2. When the detailed record appears, click on Sign in under the Request Item section.
3. When the Virginia's Community Colleges login screen appears, sign in with your My Reynolds username and password.
4. After you sign in and are brought back to the detailed records screen, click on Request.
5. When the Request Item window appears, make sure to select the Pickup Location, then click on the Request button.