NOT are explained below:
AND lets you see where two topics overlap.
OR lets you search for more than one term.
NOT lets you exclude a term.
For more information on Boolean operators, see our Search Techniques, Part 1 Tutorial.
|Keyword Search||Subject Search|
|Description||Keyword searches are similar to Google searches in that the database will look for the words you use wherever they may be on a page. Regardless of whether the word is in a title, author name, place of publication or footnote, the page will be returned as a result.||Subject searches, on the other hand, only return results in which the term being used appears in the subject field. Searching in the subject is similar to searching by tags on your favorite blog – different pages have different subject "tags."|
|Search For||Records that have the search term anywhere within them.||Records that have the search term in the subject headings part of that record.|
|Results||Depending on the terms you use, searches may retrieve no results or thousands. Searches with general terms often return many results.||Varies widely. Some searches will retrieve hundreds of results, but, if you choose a nonexistent subject term, you will get none.|
|Relevance||Varies. Results may be completely unrelated to your topic.||High as long as you identify the correct subject for your topic.|
|Flexibility||High: Terms can be combined in complex ways to design effective searches.||The flexibility of your search is limited by the manner in which subjects are structured in the database that you are searching.|
For more information on keyword and subject searching, see our Search Techniques, Part 2 Tutorial.
Who is the author and publisher?
A university press or professional organization may indicate authority. A periodical with the “journal” in the title usually indicates greater complexity and depth of articles than a popular magazine.
A page's URL can also give clues:
How do you know if your sources are scholarly?
Check for advertisements.
Ads, especially in the middle of articles, may indicate that a periodical is more popular than scholarly. Illustrations, such as tables, graphs, or charts, should add to the textual information. Illustrations used for entertainment purposes or to draw the eyes may indicate the source is more popular than scholarly.
How do you know if your information is current enough?
Very current sources need to be used when the field or topic is changing rapidly. Use historical sources when appropriate.
When was the source published?
Locate the date in a book or journal by looking for the copyright information. On a website, look for the "last updated" information.
For more information on evaluating your sources, see our Selecting Appropriate Digital Sources Tutorial.