Search Tools for Libraries

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Bell (2007) writes an interesting article about tools --she says--every searcher or librarian should ever need. She discusses Boolean operators, controlled vocabulary, field searching, proximity searching, truncation, limits, and “pearl-growing.” (2007, p. 1)

The first tool she discusses is Boolean, which directs the system to relate search terms the way the searcher wants them. The Boolean operators used are AND (+), OR, and AND NOT or NOT (-).by a minus sign or hyphen (-). AND results in an intersection of two sets, OR represents a joining of two sets—it actually retrieves either one or the other or both--, and NOT leaves out records that contain the word the searcher does NOT want. Most people feel comfortable using AND, but cannot understand why OR actually retrieves fewer results. Most people rarely use NOT because they do not want to exclude possible useful results. Many databases

provide Boolean search boxes with drop down lists usually defaulted to AND.

The next tool is controlled vocabulary. Controlled vocabulary is the same as subject headings, a thesaurus, descriptors, or authority control. Its use provides all the information on a topic a database contains, lessens the use of synonyms, gives precise hits, and allows the searcher to access information that is unfamiliar. Controlled vocabulary provides the user with a subject list that refines a search, especially with unfamiliar topics. Then there is field searching. This is searching in a specific field of the database record, such as author, title, date, journal name, etc. Most databases provide default search fields with drop down menus. The designers spent a lot of effo...

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No one can predict the future of human powered search engines. How will they affect web searches? People want to search the web; they want to be able to express their opinions free of repercussions, but how safe can they feel after hearing about these people hunts? The government might have to implement laws or policies to make the web safer for all.

Works Cited

Bell, Suzanne. (2007). Tools Every Searcher Should Know and Use. Online, 31(5), 22-


Ojala, M. (2007). Finding and Using the Magic Words: Keywords, Thesauri, and Free

Text Search. Online, 31(4), 40-42.

Sanders, D. (2008). Tag--You're It!. American Libraries, 39(11), 52-54.

Xia, J. (2009). Extreme Human-Powered Web Search. Online, 33(1), 33-36. /

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