Sujet: ScienceDirect introduces free Web Research Guide
De: "Elsevier, Sandra de Gelder"
Date: Fri, 2 May 2003 13:55:19 +0200 (CEST)


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Dear MR chapuis,

Exclusively focused on scientific research, 'The Web Research Guide' includes expert tips from research scientists, information professionals and search engine specialists. We are happy to provide this resource free of charge to you as a ScienceDirect user.

The guide begins below, and will consist of ten weekly emails each focusing on a specific area of web research. Each email provides example links, so that you can start using the research tips immediately. For a summary of all topics covered in this guide, please click here.

Yours Sincerely,
Sandra de Gelder
Communications Manager, ScienceDirect

Click here if you want to inform someone else about this Web Research Guide.

Table of contents
Think like an author Refine the type of documents you search
Search document titles only Searching with a range of variables
Refine your search terms
Tip: To search documents online think like an author
If you wanted to find out when the Hale-Bopp comet was discovered, you could use a search engine to search for: Hale-Bopp discovery.

Try this search on Google:

This search returns thousands of results, but many are irrelevant to the question you want to answer.

The key is to anticipate the way that an author would write about the information you want. It is likely that in a document giving the date of the Hale-Bopp comet discovery, an author would write, "Hale-Bopp was discovered on" before giving the date . So it is logical to use this exact phrase as your search term. This means you should search for: "Hale-Bopp was discovered on"

Note - Use quotation marks (" ") to limit your results to only those with an exact match for this phrase.

Try this search on Google:

This search gives few results, but leads you directly to the answer you're looking for (July 23, 1995).

Advanced tip: Search document titles only
The science search engine, Scirus, allows you to search for the title of a particular journal or article. So, to find articles that have "Hale-Bopp" in the title, you should search for:

Try this search on Scirus:

You can also search the titles of web pages:

Try this search on Google:

Tip: Refine your search terms
If your first search does not give you the results you want, think of other ways of describing the same information. It is useful to brainstorm a list of words and phrases associated with your topic. This will give you a new list of relevant search terms that you can use.

Useful resources

To help you find suitable terms, try using specialised dictionaries. You can find the following scientific dictionaries available online:

If you need inspiration developing your list of search terms, try the Visual Thesaurus. This helpful tool displays the interrelationships between words and meanings visually, allowing you to discover new search terms relevant to your topic.

Advanced tip: Refine the type of documents you search
It is helpful to consider the range of material available. By searching the Web, you have access to formats such as: video (.mpeg), audio (.au) image (.jpeg) and Word-document (.doc)

You can use these format extensions to refine the type of documents you want. For example, to find curriculum vitaes of scientists who specialise in a certain subject area, you add "curriculum vitaes" to your search. vitaes. As these are usually available as Word-documents, you also include the format extension filetype:doc.

Use Google to do this search: your subject area "curriculum vitae" filetype:doc

Useful resources

Both Google and AltaVista allow you to search for images only. Try the below links, to see the results for Hale-Bopp images.

Try this search on Google Images
Try this search on AltaVista Images
Common problems: Searching with a range of variables
With some searches, you need to make sure that you include all possible variables. For example, when you are looking for a particular author you need to consider that author names appear in a variety of formats. The order of surname and forename may change, or the name may be written with initials instead of a forename.

To capture variations such as these, use the proximity connector on ScienceDirect. This allows you to specify the maximum number of words allowed between two search terms. To get all results for "M. Brown" and "Brown, M", you should search for:


Note - AUTHORS is a ScienceDirect command that restricts your search to authors only. For a step-by-step guide to these and other time-saving techniques, click here to see a summary of ScienceDirect features. (To use the above example you must have access to ScienceDirect via your institute.)

Next week: Discover how to use subject-specific directories and newsgroups to unlock a range of expert material you might never find using search engines...
About ScienceDirect
ScienceDirect provides online access to more than 1,800 journals, representing over 4 million full-text articles. Every article is available in seamlessly linked, fully searchable html format, as well as paginated PDF. ScienceDirect also offers a range of email alerts, enabling you to set up personalized updates that automatically notify you of the latest article citations, search results and journal issues.

Find out more at ScienceDirect.
About the Web Research Guide
The guide consists of ten weekly emails focused on specific areas of web research. Each email is illustrated with subject-specific examples so that you can start using the research tips immediately. The tips cover a broad range of topics, from finding hidden information online, to locating expert directories and setting up subject-specific alerts of the latest news. The Web Research guide includes contributions from research scientists, information professionals and search engine specialists.

For more information about this guide, click here.
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Copyright Elsevier Ltd, 2003