|Analyze your topic.
Analyze what you already know about your topic
|Monkeywrenching. Never heard of it! I know it’s controversial, but that’s all. I need some general info to get started…definition, some basic info|
|Broad information or narrow, specific information?||I need both. I need to know broadly what monkeywrenching involves, plus who’s involved, specifically what they’ve done; maybe the ethics of monkeywrenching.|
|Distinctive words and phrases? Synonyms? Alternative spellings?
||I’ll find these as I search and
add as I go along
|Local experts I could ask?||probably not|
|Organizations or government agencies or people associated with the term that I could find on the Internet?||Maybe Earth First? Tree Huggers Anonymous? A radical environmental group?|
|Might this info be only/mostly in books?||Probably not much. I’ll be using the Internet and periodical databases like Infotrac and Proquest; could also use Lexis-Nexis for newspaper articles.|
NOW: Choose a search engine and keywords
- Are compiled or indexed by software programs called spiders or robots or crawlers. These search the Internet and then compile databases based on Internet sites they’ve visited and re-visited. Everything the spider finds goes into its index (or catalog). Software is then used for us to search the database.
- Are often huge and seem comprehensive (though they’re not–so far, it’s impossible to index the entire Internet)
- Are a good place to look for specific, obscure, difficult-to-find information
- May satisfy a question that begins “I’d like to find everything I can on…”
- What makes a search engine good?
Ease of use –
Depth of indexing –
Innovative page ranking – Factors in 1) importance (how many pages are linked to the page) and 2) relevance of search terms (weighs the location of search terms on the page)
Useful Advanced Search form
Why Scirus ?
Scientific-specific search engine for 300 million science-related pages
Use Advanced Search to limit subject area to environment, etc.
Searches pdf files and journals.
Another specific database EPA Search
Other Resources: Librarians’ Indexes
Three of the most useful and large directories with sites selected by librarians are