Library Database Review

Database: FSU Catalog Search  S: 4  R:3  UC:2  US:1

The strongest features of the FSU Catalog Search for system functions are refining results, query limits, and sorting results, which is the reason I gave it S:4. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides moderately sufficient flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query limits give users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by location, format, language, and publishing date. The weakest search features are authority control and the help option. The authority control was disappointing, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 2,689 when spelled correctly to 40. The system does spell check, but it is still lacking in alternate spelling suggestions. A help option is available for the catalog; however most of the information only provides general answers to common question, such as “Can I renew a book?”, and does not address bibliographic information.

 

Representation is moderate for the FSU Catalog overall, which is why I rated it R:3. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work and publication information for each result. Finding out if the search results are part of a journal or series is not readily apparent from the results list, but it can be found by using the “narrow results by” feature. The FSU Catalog severely lacks detailed information about results. It does not indicate any subject headers or keywords, lacks collocation, and is missing other possibly useful information. There is not an abstract or summary of the content, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are even valid for the search being performed. The lack of citation information could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information. I have written many papers using second generation material to substantiate and collaborate on first generation resources, and vice versa.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their basic needs, as long as they did not need detailed information for each result. I would rate the FSU Catalog users as only needing to have novice level bibliographic knowledge due to the simple search options and general information provided with each result.

 

The FSU Catalog is a good resource for finding general resources. It lacks detailed information and references to other resources within the same subject. A person researching a topic to see if there is a lot of material about a topic would be good to start here. The lack of the catalog’s ability to find and suggest other materials by subject is its main detractor.

 

 

 

 

 

Database: WorldCat.org Search  S: 5  R:4  UC:2  US:2

 

WorldCat.org is one of the strongest databases for system functions, because it gives so much information. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility. Features that excel through the WorldCat.org database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query limits give users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by year, audience, content, format, and language. Results can be refined by format, year, language, audience, and topic. A help option is available for the catalog and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient, and there’s even a help topic for searching for lists. The only weak search feature I could find is authority control, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 70,438 when spelled correctly to 485. The system does spell check, but it is still lacking in alternate spelling suggestions.

 

Representation is above average for the WorldCat.org, which is why I rated it R:4. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, and accessibility is obvious. The search results plainly are listed as part of a journal or series under the format section. The WorldCat.org does have detailed information about results, but is still missing subject headers and collocation. Users can add tags, but there are few that I looked at that have been tagged already. There is not an abstract or summary of the content, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are even valid for the search being performed. The lack of citation information could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the WorldCat.org users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

The WorldCat.org is an excellent resource for finding resources. It lacks subject headers and collocation, but it makes up for that by being so comprehensive in its query limits and refining results options. A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

 

 

Database: WorldCat (FirstSearch) Search  S: 5  R:5  UC:2  US:2

 

FirstSearch is a strong database for system functions, because it gives so much information. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and comprehensiveness. Features that excel through the FirstSearch database include: search options, query limits, sorting results, and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search for the author William Shakespeare. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by year, language, number of libraries, type of media, availability, audience, content, and format. Results can also be further refined by audience, content, and format. The results cannot be refined by topic, but being able to easily tell where the resources are located makes up for that lack in my opinion. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The weakest system function I could find is its authority control, because when I misspell Shakespeare (without an “e”) as the author, the results were drastically reduced from 70,438 when spelled correctly to 485. I also attempted to misspell another word (fish as ufish) and it did not provide me any suggestions at all. The system does not seem to perform any sort of spell check, which could make searching difficult if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the FirstSearch, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility is obvious, subject headers are included, and collocation leads to other sources. The search results are clearly separated by resource format. FirstSearch does have detailed information about results, and lists descriptors include subjects and geographic references. There is a summary of the contents for each resource, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are valid for the search being performed. There is no citation information, and this lack could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the FirstSearch users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

FirstSearch is an excellent resource for finding resources. It lacks authority control, making users dependent on correct spelling and typing to be successful, but it makes up for that by being so comprehensive in its search results and format specificity. A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

Database: LitLib Search  S:5  R:5  UC:2  US:2

 

LitLib is an excellent database for system functions. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and comprehensiveness. Features that excel through the LitLib database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results, authority control, and help information. The results are easy to find and understand, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by publisher, language, journal name, document type, Dewey decimal number, year, and accession number. Results can also be further refined by source type, subject, and publication. The results cannot be refined by topic, but being able to easily tell where the resources are located makes up for that lack in my opinion. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The database also includes an authority control, because when I misspelled the word fish (as ufish), it provided me with the options of fish, huffish, and offish. The system seems to perform and excellent spell check, which could make searching easier if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the LitLab, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility is obvious, subject headers are included, and collocation leads to other sources. The search results are clearly separated by resource format. LitLib does have detailed information about results, and lists descriptors for subject headings. There is an short abstract for each resource, which could be helpful in determining if the results/contents are valid for the search being performed. There is no citation information, and this lack could prove difficult for searches that need to be substantiated. The lack of citations being listed could also make it difficult for searches that are seeking collaborative information.

 

Users with a moderate level of topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. I would rate the LitLib users as needing to have moderate level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and moderately detailed information provided with each result.

 

LitLib is an excellent resource for finding resources. Its ability to offer authority control, freeing users from having to correctly spell and type to be successful, makes it more user friendly than most databases.  A person researching a topic would be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

Database: Web of Science Search  S:5  R:5  UC:3  US:3

 

The Web of Science database is the most comprehensive database for system functions. I gave it a rating of S:5 because of its flexibility and thorough information. Features that excel through the Web of Science database include: search options, query limits, refining results, sorting results, authority control, and help information. The results are easy to find, and give more than sufficient choices to refine a search. The search options feature provides excellent flexibility, with numerous results in my search. The advanced search query gives users a variety of ways to refine their search to fit their individual parameters, including Boolean options and limiting search results by timespan, citation databases, and spelling variations. Results can also be further refined by document type, research areas, authors, group authors, editors, source titles, book series titles, publication years, organizations, funding agencies, languages, and countries. The results can be refined by topic, with the Web of Science offering different topic categories by discipline. A help option is available for the database and provides comprehensive information on how to improve searching for information, as well as technical information about the database. There are several help topics that would make database searching more efficient for an inexperienced user. The database does not seem to include an authority control, because when I misspelled the word fish (as ufish), it did not provide me with any options. The system does not seem to perform a spell check, which could make searching difficult if the correct spelling is unknown or a word is typed incorrectly.

 

Representation is excellent for the Web of Science database, which is why I rated it R:5. The indexed resources do indicate author/creator/translator, the title of the individual work, publication information for each result, accessibility, and collocation leads to other sources. The best feature of this database is that it maps references and records the number of times a resource has been used as a citation in other works. It further provides these citation resources in detail, which is excellent for substantiation and collaborating information. Web of Science does not have detailed information about results, and does not list descriptors for subject headings.

 

Users with advanced topic knowledge would do well with this database. They would be able to find information to satisfy their needs, as well as determine from the information given in the details if the information would be relevant. Usage of the best feature, citation mapping, would require advanced knowledge of how the data base works to best use the information. I would rate the Web of Science users as needing to have an advanced level bibliographic knowledge due to the more complex search options and detailed information provided with each result.

 

Web of Science is an excellent resource for finding resources, but using the specialized features available is more difficult than most other databases. Its ability to offer citation information enables users to completely explore a topic. A person researching a topic would need assistance to best be able to find most of the information they needed from this database.

 

 

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