Searching Dialog: The
Overall Search Process
This is a facile,
short-hand summary of the entire search process. It is intended to
be no more than a suggested outline, as we all find our own ways
to what works best for us.
- This should be objective, using
non-judgemental, non-leading language. How many times have you
heard that before?
- Learn all the relevant subject
concepts. This may take a bit of work to get all the relevant
information out of the client.
- Narrow the search concepts to
the precise information need.
- If possible, the information
need should be stated as a simple question or declarative
- For example: "What are the
major cause(s) of eye infections in domesticated
Most Appropriate Databases
- Use DIALINDEX (File 411) to
find out in which databases the search terms are most
- Use DIALOG Finder files to
target databases if company names (File 416), journal titles (File
414), or product codes (File 413) are important to the
- Use the DIALOG Catalog to
assess the focus of possible databases.
- Identifying the major concepts
of the information question.
- Looking at possible synonyms.
(Don't forget the Library of Congress Subject Headings -
- Look at word variants, using
wild cards / truncation to account for them.
- Look at term variants or
alternative spellings through the use of the Expand command, which
will produce an alphabetical list of terms before, after, and
beginning with the term that you entered.
- Use Booleans (logical
connectors) to link concepts.
- Use Proximity Connectors (w,
n) to search for phrases as well as words that are likely to
be in close proximity to each other.
- Use not to exclude
Search (Search Analysis)
- Often a search fails, even for
the most skilled and experienced professional
- What you need to do is analyze
what went wrong, learn from it, and create an improved search