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BIO334: Bioinformatics: Search Strategies & Tips

Fall 2019: R. Dorit

The Deep Web

A vast majority of the web (90%!) cannot be accessed via search engines like Google. (2.26 minutes) From Mashable.

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Search Tips

Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database, it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.

STEP 1
Write down as much information about your topic as possible. (You can use encyclopedias and other reference books to help gather background information). Answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know? What don't you know?

Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.

EXAMPLE: I would like to learn whether newborns inherit their mother's microbiome.

STEP 2
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE: newborns, microbiome, inheritance

STEP 3
Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand your search by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focusing your search.

newborn*
infant*
baby

 

 

 

 

microbiome


           

 

                      
 



inherit*

 

 


*=Wildcard; can be used to search for variations at end of word

 

You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms and "AND" between concepts. For instance:

(newborn* OR infant* OR baby) AND (microbiome) AND (inherit*)

 Watch video (3 minutes):  Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)

Mind Mapping Worksheet

Get help from Rocco Piccinino

Rocco Piccinino, Science Librarian

Contact:

413-585-2951
rpiccini@smith.edu
Young Library 106

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