Database: collection of machine-readable information accessible through a computer aka a file.
Record: discrete information unit
Field: distinct information part
Information producer/provider company compiling database records, responsible for content
Professional online service search system providing multiple database access
|Full text||Complete text of document|
|Directory||Factual information about organization, companies, people, products, materials|
|Numeric||Data in tabular/statistically manipulated form, with added text|
|Hybrid||Mix of full text, citation and abstract records|
Constructing a database
1. Create a linear file of records received. Assign sequential accession numbers, uniquely.
2. Label record files – au (author), ti (title). If field is word-indexed, label words within field. Exclude stop words.
3. Create the base index – all words and phrases from fields containing subject-related terms.
4. Create the additional index – all terms from remaining fields.
Basic index field = suffixed fields
SELECT commands search the Basic index unless term is qualified by suffix. To qualify a term to a given field, enter a forward slash followed by a two-letter suffix
|None||All basic index fields||Word|
|/DE||S Manipulative(w)materials/DE |
S Mathematics activities/DE
Descriptors subject-related terms taken from a thesaurus/controlled vocabulary list, assigned to records by professional indexers
Bound descriptors/descriptor phrases multiple-word descriptors, entered into index as each individual word/whole phrase
Identifiers terms assigned to record by indexer generally not from controlled vocabulary. Typically proper nouns, geographic locations, or words not yet in thesauri
|Words adjacent/in order specific||Library(w)science? |
Library ( )science?
|Library science |
|(nW)||Up to n intervening words in specified order||Library(2w)science?||Library science |
Library with science
Library and information science
|(N)||Words adjacent and in either order (near operator)||Library(N)science?||Library science |
|(nN)||Up to n intervening words, and in either order||Library (1N) science||Library science |
Library with science materials
Science related library
|(F)||Words in some field, no word order/proximity specified||Socrates(F)oz |
|Both terms in title/abstract |
Both terms in the field
|Words in some descriptor unit |
Used to link subheadings
|Zinc(L)toxicity||Zinc as descriptor heading linked to toxicity as subheading|
|Words in same subfield or paragraph||Napoleon (S) France||Napoleon and France in same subfield or paragraph|
Selecting descriptor terms
If you select a multiple-word phrase, including spaces and punctuation, Dialog retrieves the phrase only if it is an exact descriptor or identifier. e.g. s teaching skills, teaching(w)skills/de, s teaching (w) skills
If you select a single word and restrict with the suffix /DE, Dialog retrieves the word if it appears anywhere in a descriptor term. e.g. s teaching/de
To retrieve a single-word descriptor, but not descriptor phrases containing word, use the suffix /DF, e.g. s teaching/df
Basic index – file 148
|Search suffix||Display code||Field name||Select examples|
|None||None||All basic index fields||S American(W)Bank?|
|/CN||CN||Case name||S American(W) Business(W)Service?/CN|
|/CO||CO||Company name||S Citicorp/CO|
|/UN||UN||Ultimate company name|
|/DE||DE||Descriptor/concept term||S Europe/DE|
|/EN||EN||Event name||S Joint(W)Ventures/EN|
|/GN||GN||Geographic name||S Europe/GN|
|/IN||IN||Industry name||S Banking/IN|
|/LP||LP||Lead paragraph||S Chemical(W)Banking/LP|
|/NM||NM||Named person||S Gates(1N)Phyllis/NM|
|/PN||PN||Product name||S Banking(W)Institutions/PN|
|/ST||ST||Statue name||S Glass(W)Steagall(W)Act/ST|
|/TN||TN||Brand name||S Maestro/TN|
|/XF||None||All basic index fields except full text||S Foreign(W)Operations/XF|
All indexing is word.
Searching a phrase in the Basic Index of File 148 automatically searches the descriptor field since it is the only phrase-indexed field in the Basic Index.
Searching the word-indexed fields in the Basic Index using proximity connectors to indicate how close you want the terms to appear in relation to one another.
|Search suffix||Field name||Indexing|
Additional Index (Prefixed fields)
|Search suffix||Field name||Indexing|
|PD=||Publication Date||Phrase MMDDYYYY|
|PY=||Publication Year||Phrase YYYY|
|PC=||Product Code/Standard Industrial Classification|
Searching the additional indexes
Using a prefix is required when searching the Additional Indexes (S teaching skills and dt=conference?)
To SELECT a group of entries from the same prefixed field, use parentheses (s teaching skills) and dt=(conference paper or journal article)
Use the EXPAND command in phrase-indexed fields (additional indexes) to see how phrases appear in particular field index
Expand command tips
Enter the appropriate prefix for searched index.
Enter only the first part of the name/search term to go to the right index search.
Examine the E numbers list carefully.
Never enter any truncation or proximity operators because Expand is completely literal, character by character.
Selecting the items off the EXPAND list
Select E (or R) numbers off the EXPAND list using either the OR operator or a comma between individual E numbers, or the colon operator to select a range.
Page through up to 50 entries (12 items at a time) on the list by entering P or PAGE. Once you reach 50, must select your E numbers, as you will start a new list of entries.
SELECT all relevant E numbers before entering another EXPAND command. Each new command erases the previous command.
Phrase Indexing versus Word Indexing Tips
Use right hand truncation to pick up multiple endings to a phrase.
Searching general(W)electric in the word-indexed company field (/CO) will retrieve all records where the words occur directly next to one another in that specific order in the /CO field – regardless of any variation in the beginning or end of the company name.
Choosing a database
Have a request.
- Use the information list. Consider
- Clearly defined subject
- Purpose of search, overview
- Topic perspective - academic, popular
- Information quantity
- Information type - complete article, abstract
- Known sources - authors, journals, papers
Requesting the database description opens another web browser. Dialog is not case sensitive.
Type select [search query]
Dialog returns a list of databases with topic information and the number of records found. Can reorder results by sorting.
Check databases to search and click “Begin Databases” to run strategy.
Planning a search strategy
- Select additional search terms
- Use search word variants, truncation
- Use proximity connectors to search phrases
- Search exact record phrase; search phrases containing stop words, punctuation, hyphens, special characters
- Narrow search for precision
|(N)||Searches adjacent terms in either order||Fiber?(n)optic?||Fiber optics |
|(W)||Searches adjacent terms in exact order||Flex(w)time||Flex time |
|(#n) or (#w)||Allows additional terms to occur between words||Market(5w)share||Share of the long distance market|
|(S)||Restricts words to the same paragraph||Telecommunication?(S)sales||Sales in the...|
|Or||Use to group synonymous terms when one must be present||Ultraviolet or UV or Ultra (W) violet|
|AND||Use to connect terms when both/all must be present||Market(SN)share AND tennis(W)equipment|
Using Classic Dialog search commands
|Command||Example||When to use it|
|Begin 9 |
B 9, 16 current
|Use to begin with a file number to specify databases to be searched |
Use current to restrict a search to the current year plus the previous year specified
|Select telecommut? |
S merg? or acqui?
S s1 and s2
|Use select to create a set of records (e.g. s1) that contains the specified terms|
Managing search results
The item numbers can indicate a single record, a range or a non-sequential range of records, enter ALL to see all records.
|Command||Example||When to use it|
|Type s1/6/1-3 |
T s 3/9/1,3
T s 2/6, k 1-5,8
|To display search results in specified format|
|DISPLAY SETS |
|Display sets |
|Display a set of all sets created since the last BEGIN command|
Refining a search
The basic index
|Display code/search suffix||Field name||Indexing||Select examples|
The extract field (/XT) searches both the Abstract and Lead Paragraph fields.
Suffix allows searching only most important information within each record, helping to make more precise search strategies.
Suffixes append to the end of a search word, phrase, or set number. Suffixes can be separated by commas.
These indexes indicate how to narrow a search further by using information other than the search subject. (Display code omits=) All but WD is phrase indexing; WD is numeric indexing.
|Display Code/Search Prefix||Field name||Select examples|
|AA=||RDS Accession number||S AA=014621|
|CT=||Concept term||S CT=Market share|
|GC=||Graphic code||S GC=WOR|
|MT=||Marketing term||S MT=General research|
|RT=||Record type||S RT=Full text|
|SF=||Special feature||S SF=Table|
|SL=||Slogan||S SL=All Aboard America|
|SP=||Spokesperson||SSP=James Earl Jones|
|UD=(None)||Up to this date||S UD=9999|
Use truncation at end of a search term expressing a name to retrieve all name variations.
A colon is used to indicate a range of sequential entries to be retrieved.
The format for the Publication Date is usually YYYY, MM, DD (Year, Month, Day)
The Expand command
Use to verify spelling, punctuation, and other variations of the names in the field. Use the E Reference number(s) to SELECT desired entries.
Expand using appropriate prefix and term.
Select the E-numbered lines that contain variations.
Type S2/full/1 to see complete record.
Dialog can help with a number of tasks:
|Monitor competition||Track articles|
|Plan production introduction||Locate articles|
|Research industry development||Keep literature updated |
Check trademark/patent application/registrations with potential product line impact
|Develop marketing strategies||Locate market share data and published market research reports, print out|
|Find merger and acquisition candidates||Screen companies based on financial parameters|
|Locate elusive company||12 million+ public, private, subsidiary, international company listings|
Repeat the same proximity operator to connect a series of search terms
Enter most precise operator first – W, N, L, S, F
Alternatively, use parentheses. Use around terms connected with logical operators so that these will be selected first. Select a set number in proximity to another set or to new search terms.