SI 665: Online Searching and Databases

This course focuses on searching online retrieval systems and databases. We examine database construction, Boolean searching, file selection, search strategy development, and evaluation of search results. We cover basic-and intermediate-levels of systems' command languages that students put into practice in weekly lab assignments. Students learn how to choose controlled vocabulary for online searches using print and online thesauri, subject headings lists, and other controlled lists and determine when to augment it with non-controlled terms, that is, the terms that authors and other subject specialists writing in a discipline use to discuss its important concepts and ideas. Initially we focus on the database structure and search functionality of Boolean-based retrieval systems. Using this foundation, we transition to how retrieval works in non-Boolean systems such as web search engines and online systems that perform relevance ranking of retrievals. In assignments and projects, students explore the database structure, functionality, and specialized features of the scholarly databases available through library gateways and brief fellow students in an oral presentation or poster session. Search strategies are a focus throughout the semester. If time allows, in-class discussions conclude with the status of and future trends in the online industry. View syllabus

Credit Hours: 3
Advisory prerequisites:
Required prerequisites:

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