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Library Information for MBA 806

Working with Keywords

Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at 5 Minutes to Better Research: Keyword Searching.

For any search, your first task will be to choose the words or terms that you'll use in your search. Keep in mind that the language you would use to describe what you're looking for may not be the language that the authors and editors use, so you will probably need to re-run your searches multiple times with different vocabulary in order to be sure that you've gotten the best and most relevant results.

Unless you specify that you want the search to look in the text of the materials in the catalog, you will see results that have your words and terms in the items' metadata (descriptive information about the material). A few more things to keep in mind:

  • The more words you use, the fewer results you will get. If you run a search for tornadoes, you will get many more results than if you run a search for tornadoes midwest U.S. Additionally, word order will affect the order in which your results are presented, though not the results themselves. (Try tornadoes U.S. midwest after tornadoes midwest U.S. Only the first result is in the same position.)
  • Use keywords only, rather than trying to ask a question or describe a desired result. Unlike the search engines powering commercial tools like Google or Bing, library software isn't designed to interpret natural language. Typing something like "How many tornadoes are there in the U.S. each year?" will produce results that don't even relate to weather.
  • Run your searches multiple times, using synonyms and alternate terms. Try subject-specific vocabulary, but also try ordinary layman's terms (for instance, glucometer as well as blood sugar meter).
  • Library queries can use a number of methods to make a request more specific.
    • Booleans are connective words that tell the software to return results that reflect combinations of terms. The common Boolean operators are AND, NOT, and OR. For instance, U.S. OR United States OR America will give you results containing any of those three;
    • Adding an asterisk at the end of a word root, referred to as a wildcard, will search for all words containing that root. An example would be entering manufactur*, which will return results for manufacture, manufacturer, manufacturing.
    • Putting a phrase that you are looking for in quotation marks will get results that use that specific phrase, rather than simply all the words that are in the phrase. Water table will return results that contain both water and table in the metadata (which could turn up everything from Carr's Table Water Crackers to a table of water and sewer charges), but "water table" will look only for those words together in that order.

When searching for additional terms to use, the metadata of resources you've already found is an excellent source. The catalog page -- the place you end up when you click on an item in a search results list -- will have subject terms listed, and often has an abstract that will contain the author's language.

Another place to find additional sources is in the bibliography of relevant items you've already found.

Catalog Search

Quick Search is the default tab for the home page search box. Put in a few keywords, and it will run a broad search over about 70% of library resources. There are subscription databases it cannot search, but you will get a good general sense of the resources available.

Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Introduction to Quick Search WMS.

The Advanced Search interface allows you to search all the same material as in the Quick Search, with the additional ability to use multiple search fields and to apply filters before receiving results. This allows you to take advantage of the ease of Quick Search--no databases to decide on--while getting more specific results.

To look only for books, e-books, and other media (streaming video, DVDs, CDs, musical scores), use the Books & Media tab in the home page search box. You can specify a particular data field to search (Author, Title, Subject) or leave the drop-down menu on the default Keyword.

Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Finding and Requesting Physical Books and Accessing eBooks in the Pace Library.

Searching in Databases

Subject-specific databases may offer additional results that are not accessible via Quick or Advanced Search. These tools facilitate finding an appropriate database to look in.

Research Guides: In every subject's research guide, there will be a list of the best databases to search for articles on that subject.

Subject Menu in A-Z list: Both the Databases tab in the search box on the home page and the A-Z Databases page feature a drop-down menu that allows you to choose a subject; that will narrow the list of databases to the most appropriate for your subject. The A-Z Databases page additionally offers you the choice of limiting your list to a type or vendor -- for instance, images or EBSCO.


Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Picking a Database.

The search interfaces of the many subscription databases vary slightly from publisher to publisher, but there are basic commonalities between them, and between them and the Pace Quick Search/Advanced Search as well.

  • Multiple search fields: This allows you to search for, say, a particular author and in a specific subject at the same time. It also provides a simple way of using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to either expand or narrow your search.
  • Synonym suggestions: Most databases will offer synonyms in a drop-down field when you begin to enter your terms. For example, if you type stocks, the database might offer stocks and bonds, or shares, commodities, and similar terms.
  • Filters and limiters: Both before entering your terms and after you have a results list, you can choose filters such as subject, publication, time frame, and many others. One of the most useful tools limits your results to full text, so that you know you will be able to access and read the results you receive.


Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Database Search Techniques.

Once you have a result that you want to read or download, it may not be immediately apparent how to view the article.

  • Most articles are viewable as PDFs, exact duplicates of the printed journal page. This can be very helpful where there are tables, figures, or images accompanying the text, and it is the easiest format in which to download the item. Look for the PDF icon and a PDF Full Text link.
  • If what you see is a link with the phrase Search for Item, you may need to use Interlibrary Loan to access the article; you also may be able to find the article in another Pace-subscribed database.


Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Finding the Full Text of Articles.

Finding Material at Other Libraries

Is there a particular item you need that doesn't appear in Pace's catalog? You can find it elsewhere and request it via Interlibrary Loan, or you can go directly to another New York library.

  • In the Advanced Search, click on Libraries Worldwide under Held By My Library; this will search a large network of libraries.
  • See Resources Outside the Pace Library for information on using the New York Public Library as well as other, specialized New York libraries (some of which require an appointment).

Prefer to learn by watching?
Go to our YouTube channel and take a look at Requesting an NYPL Circulating Book.