Kelvin Smith Library
Haydn AND influence AND Mozart OR Beethoven
as: (Haydn AND influence AND Mozart) OR Beethoven
and retrieve many citations which contain only “Beethoven”.
One of the reasons Advanced Search Spaces have multiple boxes is to address this problem.
The example below shows how significant term versus phrase searching can be:
In the example below a RILM record has been analyzed in terms of how the database fields related to various indexes:
All of the examples above show pre-search limiting, but limiting can usually be done before or after a search. A current example of post-search limiting is the sidebar which displays in some interfaces after you have executed your search:
One of the most effective forms of post-search limiting is adding terms to your original search and re-executing the search.
Exercise No. 13: in the database WorldCat enter the search: Hefling, Stephen in the Author Phrase index and then click on the browse button. Note what you get and why this is a useful technique. Go back to the Advanced Search Space and reenter the search but use the Author index instead. Note the difference -- one is a (single) term index and the other is a phrase index. It is important to understand when a browse index is a term index and when it is a phrase index. It is easy to find out -- you just did.
The browse indexes in RILM are simply called "Indexes". Note the example below. You must choose the logical operator (AND or OR) when you have chosen several terms from the list and wish to add them to the search box. Note how the interface returns terms to the search box but does so in an advanced command language. You can learn to use this language directly, but it is not necessary in order to develop excellent searching skills. It is sufficient that you understand what it is, so that the searches you create by these kinds of techniques make sense to you.
The search above shows how to find works which cite a work you have read. Some databases will also lead you to “related records”. Generally "related records" are items which share a reference with the work you have read -- in other words, which works cite the same sources as the author you are interested in? Related records results will generally give you many more citations, be less relevant, but take you further into the web of scholarship which surrounds the work you have read.
The example below shows a simple search in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. This database was constructed as a citation database and is very powerful, but rather difficult to use. The search attempts to find works which cite a work by Case Music Professor Georgia Cowart.