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COMM 4410-01, Ethnography of Digital Media

This guide recaps everything discussed during the class library workshop.

Phrase Searching and Truncation

Use quotation marks to tell your search engine that those words must be found in that exact order.

Quotations can be powerful when used thoughtfully, but they can also backfire. Remember, our searches are only successful if the words or phrases we're using in our search exist in a book or article record. Even though you might be looking for resources about the "moral positionality of outdoor cat ownership among environmental activists," that phrase is far too specific and too exact to give you any results. Break it out into the basic concepts, reserving quotes for phrases that are two words that only make sense when used together in a specific order. In this case, "cat ownership" and "environmental activists" are your best bets.

When you have a word with many different endings, remove all the changing parts and replace them with an asterisk (*). That will tell your search engine to pull results that include every variation of that word.

After completing way too many years of higher ed studies, this was the one piece of information i wish someone told me eight years earlier.

Library Search

Library Search: Everything  - It can be used to find film, music, books,chapters, even articles. It will give you a lot (but certainly not all) of the materials the library as purchased or licensed. Things to remember:

  • Use the refinements to focus your results;
  • Even though you may have thousands of results, it's still not able to show you everything you have access to. To really cast a meaningful net, you should also search some subject specific databases.


Library Search: Library Catalog - This can be used to find film, music, books, and journals. Library catalog is not able to provide the same level of granularity as Everything, but it can be helpful to use when you are intentionally looking for a book or film rather than than chapters in a book or journal articles.

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