Thursday, 27 March 2008

Library training

I went to a one-to-one training session in the library today, to look at how best to use the online resources. Having quite a sketchy knowledge of this beforehand, it was good to see what was out there - especially for the music side of things which I am rubbish at finding articles about that are relevant to me!

Main resources I should look at for searching:
Scopus, Web of Science (both general coverage)
RILM (music)
IEEE (engineering-related topics)
PsycInfo (psychology)
and MLA for the current linguistics-related project I am looking at

Also JSTOR and ScienceDirect are fairly useful. Google Scholar isn't too bad but it will link to a lot of articles you can't then find online (something that I have found in the past).

Accessing resources (online and print)
For off-campus access, if you access resources through the Electronic library page on the Sussex website, you can log in and then have access to those resources as if you were on campus (this includes having the 'Find-it at Sussex' option to find copies of articles).

One thing I didn't know is that it is possible for us to go into University of Brighton's libraries as well, to a limited extent. So its always worth checking Brighton's catalogue, if Sussex don't have a book/print journal I want (this may be true for me particularly for linguistics material).

Building searches
A good approach is to try several searches, on keywords such as music* and creativ* (using the wildcards for greater coverage), then combine the searches together to narrow them down, rather than doing a new search each time. If I register on Scopus and WOS, then it will remember my search histories and let me save/export searches. I can export Bibtex style references straight from these databases as well. Should help as I have just set up a single Bibtex .bib page for all my references.

To find good keywords, most papers are tagged with author keywords, database-relevant keywords or descriptors. NB to search for a keyword, this will extend the search to title, abstract, author, descriptor etc, so it is best to search by keywords.

Thats the main points of what I got out of today.

(Another useful tip was with the books I have asked the library about ordering - to actually find out whether they've come in or not, and to reserve them for me when they do come in, I should ask at enquiries to reserve it using a manual form rather than online)

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