Electronic and Web Sources

Types of electronic information

INDEXES

These index articles and other information much like traditional print indexes do. In fact, many familiar hard copy indexes like READERS' GUIDE also have electronic equivalents. The results of a search will be a list of citations for items, some- times with summaries called "abstracts". The next step is to try to actually get the items for your patron from your own collection, or through interlibrary loan. You may find that you have more demand for interlibrary loan once you have access to electronic indexes, since patrons will be able to identify more resources that will be useful to them.

Sometimes a brief search will be done on a subject just to find out how many articles there are on that subject, without printing out the citations to the articles themselves. Since some libraries require patrons to pay for searches, this can give your patrons an idea of how much material is available (and how much a complete search would cost). The references are often called hits or postings.

DIRECTORIES

Like print directories these files have the needed information in the entry itself. There are, for example, biographical directories like WHO'S WHO or business directories like Reference USA. Every directory works differently, but you can learn from every database and become a more effective searcher over time.

FULL TEXT DATABASES

The actual complete text of articles and newspapers can be searched and retrieved. The patron can get the full text and not just a citation to the item. Often, all significant words of the text can be searched.

Go to Patrons and the Internet.
Back to Searching in the electronic reference environment.
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This page was last updated on August 15, 2003.