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Transcript - Using Library Search for your assignment

TRAINER: Hi there and welcome to Using Library Search for Your Assignment session. My name is Jo Elliot. I'm a learning and teaching librarian here at the OU. And I'll be leading the session today. 

We do strive to make our sessions as accessible and inclusive as possible. So I'll therefore be including audio descriptions of any visual elements that we use during this session. So what will we cover? 

We'll be looking at how to use library search to find information. Your tutor might, for example, give you the name of a book or journal article and ask you to find it in the library. So we're going to show you how to use library search to search for sources by title and by author. 

There will also be other occasions when you're asked to find information on a particular topic. So we'll also look at how to do a subject search on library search. And we'll finish off with looking at where you can get help after this session. 

Let's start off with thinking about what library search is. Library search is a powerful, user-friendly search tool that searches across most of the resources in the OU library. It will enable you to find good-quality academic information. 

It's important to mention right now that library search doesn't search every single database that the OU library subscribes to. It doesn't connect well, for example, to our image, law, or newspaper databases. 

And in case, it helps, I'll just define database. A database is an online library. In an online library, is like an online catalogue, helping you to easily search, find, and access the right source at the right time. 

It is possible to search each database independently. And if you want to know more about searching within specific databases, we do offer a separate training session on this called Smarter Searching with Library Databases. But during this session, we will only look at searching with library search. 

So as well as being a useful tool for finding information, you can also use library search to save results so that you can easily find them again later. And we'll look at that function later in this session. In assignments and module activities, it's common, as we've said, for you to be asked to find and read a particular ebook chapter, journal, article, or to search within a particular database. 

And again, I'll just quickly offer a definition, in case it's useful. A journal, like a magazine, is a collection of articles that's published regularly throughout the year. Just trying to avoid using jargon. 

To find resources, you will need to use library search. So I'm now going to demonstrate how to use library search to find resources. This slide displays the titles of ebooks, journal articles, and the database that I'm going to search for. And I will read these out during the demonstration. 

I'm now going to go into screen share to show you my screen. So please bear with me while the screen changes. 

So the screen is now showing the library home page, which you can find at The first search I'm going to do is for the ebook Cybersecurity: a Self-Teaching Introduction, which is by C.P. Gupta and K.K Goyal. I'm going to start off by searching for the title of the book. 

So I'm simply going to type the beginning of the title, cybersecurity, into the search bar. And then I'm going to hit the magnifying glass to perform the search. 

So the screen has now changed. And it's showing a list of my results. Before I even look at the results, I'm going to sign in. There is a sign in button towards the top of the screen. So I'm going to click on that. 

The screen is changing again. And it is now showing my name in the top corner of the screen. So I know now that I am signed in. 

The reason why I'm signing in is it gives me the best chance of finding what I need. And it also helps with authentication when I access a full text of resources. So let's look at the results that have come up for my search for the word "cybersecurity." It tells me that I've actually found over 66,000 results. 

The results are sorted by relevance. And I can see that on the right-hand side of the screen, it says sort by relevance. That's the default sorting. I could change that if I chose to. And for example, I could change it so that it shown the newest information first of all. But I'm going to leave it as sorting by relevance for the time being. 

Now I'm not actually surprised that I've got so many results because "cybersecurity" is quite a broad term. And if I just look at the top few, it's actually not showing the book that I want. So I'm going to add more. I'm going to modify my search. And I'm going to add the authors' names. 

So I'm going to add Gupta and Goyal to my search. So it's now searching for the word "cybersecurity," the word "Gupta," and the word "Goyal." And I'm going to hit the magnifying glass again to perform the search. 

So with that additional information, it's actually found the book that I'm interested in. It appears as the top result in my list of results. From here, I can either click on the title to enter the record, or I could click the full text available link to take me straight in to the ebook. So that's actually what I'm going to do now. 

So the screen has changed again. And it's actually taken me into one of our databases, a database called Ebook Central, which is where this book is actually hosted. From here, I can either read online by clicking the Read Online option, or I can download the book. If I choose to download the book, I can have the book on loan for a loan period of 21 days. 
So library ebooks work in a similar way to print books. You don't get to keep them forever. You just borrow them for the specified loan period. 

So I'm just going to close that down now and go back to library search. I'm going to click on New Search to clear my search. And this time, I'm going to have a look at searching for a journal article. 

So the journal I'm interested in is by A Rimmer from 2020. And the article is called "Sixty Seconds on Doughnuts." It's published in the BMJ, volume 369, issue 8243. 

The process for searching for journal articles is very similar as that for searching for books. In most cases, when you're searching for a journal article, you can simply enter the article title into library search. So let's try that for our title. 

So our title is "Sixty seconds on Doughnuts." So I'm actually going to post that into the chat. I'm just going to get rid of those dots. And I'm going to click on the magnifying glass to perform the search. 

So it's found it almost immediately. So again, it's sorting my results by relevance. And this time, I can see that the article that I want appears right at the top of my search results. So whereas before, it identified it as an ebook, the Gupta and Goyal book. This time, it's telling me that it's actually found an article. And that word is appearing above the title. 

So just like with the ebook, I could click on the title to go into the record to find out a bit more information. Or I could click on Full Text Available to actually go straight into the database where the article is hosted. So I'm going to do that. 

The screen is now changed while it actually loads the database that I'm looking for. And it's taken me in to the BMJ, which is the journal, the archive of the journal where the article is held. And I can read the article online. 

So let's close that down and go back to library search. I'm going to click again on New Search to clear my search. And this time, let's have a look at an option where things might not go as smoothly as I've just demonstrated because, as you might suspect, it doesn't always go that smoothly. Sometimes, even though we do have access to an article, searching for the name of the article doesn't bring it up in Library Search. 

So what do you do? So if you're searching for an article, if you find that searching for an article title doesn't work, it's a good idea to try searching for the name of the journal. This will tell you if the library subscribes to the journal. If we do, you might be able to navigate to the article that way. 

So let's try our third search this way. I have the full details of the article that I'm looking for. So this time, it's by B Mohammed from 2022. The article title is "Designing an Effective Data Protection Regulator." And it's in a journal called Economic and Political Weekly from volume 57, issue one. And it's on pages 17 to 22. 

So let's imagine that I tried a search for the article title and not found it. So now I'm going to try searching for the journal title. So in this situation, it's Economic and Political Weekly. So I'm going to enter that into my search box. And I'm going to click the magnifying glass, just as I did before, to perform the search. 

OK, so it's found it as my top option. So as you can see, it's now saying that this is a journal. So in this situation, I want to make sure that the database has the issue that I'm looking for. 

So rather than clicking on the full text available, I'm actually going to go into a record so I can see the coverage that each database holds for this particular journal. So I'm going to click on the title, Economic and Political Weekly. And you'll see the screen changes. And it actually loads the record for this particular journal. 

Under the View Online option, I can actually see that this particular journal is held in a number of different databases. And beneath the title of the database, it tells me the subject coverage. So the top database, miscellaneous ejournals, has all journal available from 1949 onwards. 

The bottom one, for example, which is KB+ plus collections, doesn't have the most recent six years. It tells me that beneath the title. So in this particular situation, because I'm looking for an article from 2022, I wouldn't want to use this collection database because it doesn't include the most recent six years. 

I'm going to actually use Gale Academic OneFile. This tells me that it has coverage from the 14th of November, 2009 onwards. So it should have the article that I'm after. So I'm going to click on the title of the database, Gale Academic OneFile. The screen is changing while it takes me into that particular database. 

So it's taken me to the section of this database that includes the journal that we're after. And it's actually defaulting to showing me the issues from the current year, which is useful for me because I'm looking for an article from 2022. If I wasn't, I could click on the dropdown box and select the relevant year that I was looking for. 

So I know that my article was in the first issue of 2022. I know it was in volume 57, issue 1. So I'm going to choose the issue published on January 1st. I'm just going to scroll down until I find it. And I'm going to click on the date. 

The screen will now change again while it takes me in to all the articles from that particular issue. And they're actually listed in page-number order. So I know that the article I want begins on page 17. So I'm just going to scroll down until I find it. 

So here it is. It's "Designing an Effective Data Protection Regulator." So if I click on the title, the screen changes again. And it's now taking me into that part of the journal archive that includes the full text of the article for me to read online. So that's how you navigate to an article by searching for the journal title. 

So I'm just going to close that down and go back to my library search. I'm going to click on New Search to clear my search. And the next thing I wanted to show you was how to search for a database. 

So you might sometimes choose to search one of our subject-specific databases. If the name of the database you want to search, you can find it on library search. So let's imagine that your tutor has asked you to have a look in ScienceDirect, which provides full text articles in science, technology, medicine, maths, management, and social sciences. So it's one of our really big databases that covers quite a lot of different disciplines. So it should be useful for a lot of you.

All you need to do is enter the name of the database in Library Search. So I'm going to type in ScienceDirect. And again, I'm going to click on the magnifying glass to perform the search. 

So it has found what I'm after. Again, it appears as the top result. We can see that ScienceDirect is identified as the first result in my list. And I can see that it's now identified as a database. 

I can click on Full Text Available, just as I did with the ebook and the journal article. And it should take me straight into ScienceDirect. OK, so in this situation, it's actually asking me to identify where I'm coming from, which university that I'm based in. 

So in the Find Your Institution box, I'm just going to start typing The Open University. And as I started typing it, options appeared beneath it. So I'm going to select the Open University option. 

And the screen is now changed. And it's taken me in to ScienceDirect, where I could start to search if I wanted to. So that's how you search for a database. 

The final search I wanted to discuss with you is how to do a subject search. So I'm going to imagine that we are interested in finding information on the mythology of unicorns. I thought I'd start off with quite a fun search. So I've identified the keywords for my search. And I think unicorn and mythology are the key terms for this particular search. 

So I've just entered my subject terms in the search box, just like I did when I was searching for an author or a title. I'm going to click the magnifying glass to perform the search. And it's actually found just over 2,000 results for my search. So that's a bit too many for me to actually scroll through. 

I could have chosen to go into advanced search, which gives me more detailed search options. The advanced search link appears towards the right-hand side of the search bar. For the purposes of this demonstration, I'm actually just going to stick to basic search. 

So let's have a look at how we can refine this search. Let's start off by looking at the Resource Type Limiters, which appears under the Filter My Resource Options on the right-hand side of the screen. So I'm just going to scroll down and look at Resource Type. 

So if I knew I wanted an overview of something, I would probably choose books and maybe reference entries from the option here. If I wanted quite a bit of detail on a narrow topic, I might be better looking at an article. I think I want to start with an overview. So I'm actually going to say I'm only interested in ebooks. 

I'm going to check the option next to the ebooks link there. So now it will only give me results where my search terms appear within an ebook. There is also the option to limit by publication date or creation date. So at the moment, it's showing me books written from 1500 onwards. 

For some searches, you might only be interested in very up-to-date information. So this Create Date filter could be very useful for a different search. However, for the search that I'm doing on the mythology of unicorns, I think I want to cover all dates. So I'm actually not going to change that. 

Instead, I'm actually going to have a look at the subject filters. These allow me to specify which subject area my search terms are from. So I'm just going to click the Show More Options so I get a full list of all the different subject areas. And I'm going to select the ones that I think are most relevant for my search. 

So I'm going to check the box next to Mythology. I'm also going to check the box next to Folklore. And let's do Folklore and Mythology as well. 

So I've now filtered my results. So I filtered by subject and I've filtered by resource type. I'm just going to apply those filters. And I'm down to 906 options. 

Let's have a quick look at some of them and see if any look particularly good. OK, what about this one? Imaginary Animals: the Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human. This is an ebook because I've limited my search to ebooks. I'm just going to click on this and let's have another look at it. 

So I've gone into the record by clicking on the title. And from here, I can read a description of the book, see if that actually includes the kind of information that I'm interested in. If I decided I wanted to look at it, I could click on the link to Ebook Central. And it would take me into that database and show me that particular book. 

That's kind of a whistle-stop tour of how to do a subject search. And the last thing I just wanted to mention was how you can save the results. So imagine you've done a search. But you haven't actually got time to do your reading. But you do want to save some of the results that you've found. 

So what you actually can do is towards the right-hand side of the title on the results page, you'll see one of the options is actually a drawing pin symbol. And if I hover over it, I get a little explanation bar saying Add to My Favourites. 

If I click on this drawing pen for the top option, you'll see it kind of zoom up to the top. And it's now added it to my Favourites. So I'll just show you that again with the fourth one down. So we've got Shakespeare's Erotic Mythology. I'm going to click on the drawing pin option. And you'll see it zoom up to the top. 

If I then want to have a look at those at a later date, as long as I'm signed in, I can click on this drawing pin. And it will take me into my Favourites. It should be. I'm just going to refresh the page. 

So it did work. And now you can see I've actually previously saved 37 different items. And the ones that I've actually saved are listed here. I can also organise the ones that I've saved to make them a bit more manageable by adding tags to them. So I could add a useful keyword so it groups together all the results that I've saved within a particular topic. 

OK, so that's the demo. So I'm just going to stop sharing the screen now and I'm going to return to my slide show. So just bear with me. 

So now we're back on the slide show. The slide that I've got on the screen at the moment contains what we have just done step-by-step. I'm not going to go through it now. It's there for future reference. 

You might want to pause the recording now and have a look at it in more detail. Let's just move on. So now I would like you to try searching on Library Search. I'd like you to have a go at finding a book, a journal article, and a database. 

There are suggestions for all three on the slide. Or I'm very happy for you to choose a resource from your own studies that you're interested in finding. I recommend you spend about three minutes doing this. So you might want to pause the video now and have a go at finding those resources. And then resume it when you've actually had an attempt yourself. 

On this slide, I've got a step-by-step guide to how we searched for a topic. And again, this is for your information. So again, you might want to pause the screen and make some notes on this slide. I'm not going to go through it at the moment. 

So I'd like you to again, have a go at searching for a topic. So again, it's over to you. Choose a topic of your own choice. Spend between six and 10 minutes having a go at searching for a topic. 

You've already had a go at searching for a particular journal article and a book and a database. So now have a go at searching more broadly for a topic. Use those filter results options. And see if you can hone it down to really, really useful results. 

And I recommend you spend between six and 10 minutes on this. And then we'll move on to a quiz. So pause the recording and have a go at searching. And come back to me when you've done it. 

OK, hopefully you now feel quite confident at using Library Search. So we'll do a quick quiz. And I'm going to ask you three questions to check that everything has made sense. And just a top tip for you, for some of these questions, there's more than one possible answer. 

My first question, why is it best to be signed in to library search? Is it A, to make sure that searches return all relevant results? Is it B, so that you can use the My Favourites feature? Is it C, because it can help resource platforms to recognise me? Or is it D, all of the above? 

So pause the recording while you have a think. And then when you've come up with your answer, resume the recording. The answer is D, all of the above. So well done if you said that. 

If you're not signed in, you're not seeing all the relevant search results. And any resources or searches you favourite won't be saved for the next session. Signing in will also ensure that platforms recognise you as an Open University user. So well done if you got that one right. Let's move on to the next question. 

So let's imagine that a search by article title failed to find the article you need. What would you try next? Would you A, add more information to the search, for example, an author; B, search for the journal title instead. Once you've found the journal, you can search for the article. Or C, go through all the results. It will be there somewhere. 

So again, you might want to pause the recording while you have to think about your answer. And I'm going to reveal the answer now. So in this situation, A and B are both correct. Generally, you would choose option A first, add more information to the search, because that's a quicker solution. 

And when you search for the journal, don't forget to check the journal coverage date, just like we did in the demo, to see if our library subscriptions cover the publication date for your article. So well done if you chose A and B. 

The final question that I wanted to ask you is this one. Library Search has a Filter My Results option. If you use a subject limiter, what will happen to your results? Will they A, increase; B, decrease; or will nothing happen? Does the subject limiter not affect the number of results? 

So what do you think, A, B, or C? So I'm going to reveal the answer. The correct answer is B. The number of results will decrease. So using the subject limiter will limit the results to only those that are relevant to the selected subject areas. So well done if you said B. 

So where can you go for help after this session? If you need help finding information, please remember, the Library Helpdesk is there for you. The contact details of the helpdesk are available on this slide. 

So you can contact the helpdesk by webchat. And there is a link from the library pages. And webchat is actually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So no matter what time you're doing your searching, if you get stuck, there is a librarian available to help you. 

You can also contact the helpdesk by email. And the email address is And the email is staffed Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. Or alternative if your preferences for phone, you can telephone us on 01908-659-001. And again, that's open Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. So the webchat is 24/7. The other options are open 9:00 to 5:00. 

If you want to know more about using Library Search, we have also created some library activities that you can work through at any time and visit as many times as you need. So we have a short animation about Library Search that goes over the main features of the Library Search tool. And it includes the filters and the My Favourites areas, just as we did in the demo. 

There's also a longer 30-minute activity which introduces you to Library Search, showing you how to carry out simple searches and how to use the features within Library Search to save and tag your results. So links to both those activities are available there on that slide. 

So we've now come to the end of the session. We've covered how to search Library Search by title and/or author. We've covered how to search Library Search by topic. And we've also looked at where you can get help. So I hope this has been really useful. Thank you so much for listening. 

Dec 11

Using Library Search for your assignment

Monday, 11 December, 2023 - 12:30

Learn how to find specific resources and how to find information on a topic using Library Search.

Library Helpdesk

Chat to a Librarian - Available 24/7

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