Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Author! Author! [Ovid]

Searching for authors can be tricky but these tips can really help.

First, figure out what the syntax is for authors in whatever database you’re searching. For example, in MEDLINE and in CINAHL the author field follows this syntax:

Glover, JG (Last name, first initial second initial)

But in PsycINFO, the full author name is used:

Glover, Jan (Last name, first name middle name)

Not knowing that can cause some rather frustrating moments as you search for the author using the wrong syntax for the database you’re in.

One way to find out the correct syntax for the author field is to search on any keyword and examine the list of authors for the first citation that comes up.

Here are a few more tips:

When you’re unsure of an author’s full name and you’re using the ‘Author’ icon, make sure you choose every permutation of the name. Sometimes authors use their middle initials and sometimes they do not. So if you’re sure the author is 'Jan Glover' but you don’t know if she uses a middle initial, you would need to select all from the following list:

Glover, J
Glover, JB
Glover, JG

A shortcut would be to use a field qualification search on the command line:

Type: glover j.au. [retrieves all articles by the author with the last name Glover and first initial J and no middle initial]

Type: glover jg.au. [retrieves all articles by the author with the last name Glover and first initial J and middle initial G]

Type: glover j$.au. [retrieves all articles by Glover and first initial J with any middle initial]

Type: glover $.au. [retrieves all articles by anyone with the last name Glover]

au is the two letter code for the author field
.au. is the syntax that instructs the system to look for what ever is before this in the author field
$ is the truncation symbol in Ovid


At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is so cool! I learn something new every day.


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