Search tips and strategies for searching
Search for articles and other information in databases
The library’s various databases are detailed in the database list. Texts such as scientific articles can be found in databases. The databases are listed by subject and type.
If you are unsure where to start searching, LibSearch is a good starting point. LibSearch searches most of the library’s scientific databases at the same time. However, since this database is structured slightly differently, it is not possible to perform such advanced searches in LibSearch as in the subject databases.
There are also interdisciplinary databases covering multiple subject fields, which make good starting points when familiarising yourself with a subject. Examples of interdisciplinary databases include Web of Science and Scopus.
Many of the databases have links to the journals to which the library subscribes if the full text is not available directly in the database. Click on Find@HS – Check for full text to proceed. Do not apply limits like "Linked Full Text" when searching in databases. This restricts the number of hits to references in the database with directly linked full text, giving fewer hits than found via the library’s subscriptions and free sources.
Some reports and similar materials are freely available online, try googling for the title.
Finding good search terms
Identify the central aspects of the issue, taking your question or task as a starting point. Find out which terms and concepts are used within your subject area, for example using your course literature. In most databases, you will need to search in English.
Think about synonyms for your search terms. Things can usually be expressed in different ways, and alternative search terms will need to be identified in order to find more hits and cover the subject area. If you get too many hits you will need to restrict your search, for example by adding search terms or using more specific search terms. If you enter too many search terms to begin with, this can result in too few hits.
Several databases such as PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO have their own verified lists of subject terms, known as thesauruses. A thesaurus is a dictionary consisting of verified vocabulary ordered by subject, as opposed to alphabetical order. It shows the relationships between words, such as broader and narrower content, synonyms and preferred terms.
Articles with similar content are assigned the same subject headings. PubMed’s subject heading list is called MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), and CINAHL’s list is called CINAHL Subject Headings. Swedish MeSH can be used to translate between Swedish and English subject headings. You can find out more about searching using subject headings in the databases’ help texts.
If you have found a good article or book, look to see which subject headings or keywords have been used as this may help you find more search terms to use.
Remember to check spelling variations, such as colour and color.
Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT. These are useful when you want to combine different search terms or concepts. In certain Swedish-language databases, the equivalent operators OCH, ELLER and INTE can be used.
AND is used to combine two or more search terms. Many databases automatically search using AND. An example of a search using AND: child AND diabetes
Using OR between search terms gives hits where both or only one of the words appears. This operator is useful when searching using synonyms, for example: student OR pupil.
NOT excludes hits from search results. You should add NOT before the word that you want to exclude from the search results, for example: cats NOT dogs.
There are some exceptions for how Boolean operators work, such as using AND NOT in Scopus instead of NOT. The databases’ help texts will explain more about how Boolean operators are used in each database.
Write the Boolean operators in capital letters for improved clarity and readability.
Truncation is a way of including more different endings for search terms. Adding an asterisk after the stem of the word, e.g. learn*, gives hits for all documents including words beginning with ‘learn’, such as learning, learner, learners, etc. The truncation symbol can sometimes be something other than an asterisk. See the databases’ help texts to find out what applies.
Phrase search is useful when you want to search for words that appear together. Use quotation marks to carry out a phrase search, e.g. "public health". A phrase search gives hits for the exact order of words, and not the individual words when they appear separately in the text.
Bear in mind that compound words in Swedish are often written as separate words in English, such as the Swedish folkhälsa and the English equivalent public health.
Searching for a specific article
Search for the article title in LibSearch. If the library has a subscription to the journal, you will find the article.
You can also search for a journal via the library’s list of journals (external link). Search for the full name of the journal (not the name of the article) or the ISSN and then look up the appropriate year, volume and issue on the journal’s website.
Certain journals are held in printed form in the library. This will be detailed in the list of journals. Articles from printed journals can only be copied, the journals cannot be lent out.
Searching for a specific book
Use LibSearch to look up a book. Enter words from the title and/or the author in the search box. If the book is available, you will see where in the library it is located by shelf. If a book has one or more editors or more than three authors, the book’s title will be the main entry, i.e. what the book is shelved according to. If the book is out on loan, it can be reserved by logging in to your library account or contacting the information desk.
If the book is course literature, it will be marked as course literature under the shelving details. Course literature cannot be lent out, and can only be read in the library. More information about course literature.
If the book is not available in the Skövde University Library, try searching for it in LIBRIS. This is a joint catalogue for Swedish libraries. In most cases, books listed in LIBRIS are available as interlibrary loans. These can then be requested and sent to the Skövde University Library. You can also suggest books for the library to purchase.
To read e-books, log in using the same login details as for e.g. your student e-mail or Canvas.