Jour 3004–Notes from research fundamentals class

News Databases

Factiva is a full-text news database used to search larger Canadian news outlets and many outside Canada, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

Eureka is a full-text news database used mostly to search regional news outlets, including the Chronicle Herald and CBC online sites across Canada.

You can access both through the Dalhousie libraries site by searching under the databases tab.

Factiva gives fine-grained control over searches, including limiting to certain news sources and regions, setting a date range and using AND, OR and NOT operators to fine-tune searches in the free-text search box.

AND between two search terms requires both to be present in the story. OR requires either to be present. NOT excludes a story if the word is present.

Example: Toronto AND Ford NOT Horwath will return stories containing both Toronto and Ford but exclude those containing Horwath.

AND, OR and NOT are called Boolean operators after the mathematician who devised this kind of logic.

Placing a phrase in quotation marks searches for that exact phrase. You can apply similar operators using the Search Form option. You can download articles you select in PDF files and save them for later use.

Eureka has similar capabilities. It has its own special operators:

Like Factiva, it uses quotation marks around a phrase to search for that exact phrase.

& between two terms requires that both terms be in the story.

The pipe, |, character is like OR in Factiva; a page will be in the results if either search term is present.

You can use parentheses for more complex searches. For example, Harrietsfield & (water | fire) would return all stories with Harrietsfield and either water or fire (or all three)

The ! operator excludes the word or phrase that follows. Example ! Toronto excludes any stories with the word Toronto in them.

The $ operator between two keywords, followed by a number, returns stories that have both terms, but only within that number of words. Example: Toronto $3 Ford

Between Factiva and Eureka you have most print and many online news sources covered. These are powerful research resources.

Better Google searches

While searching in the Google search box can work well for simple and popular subjects, you need the power of Google advanced searches to drill down to specific resources. The regular search box gives you what Google’s (very good) ranking algorithms predict you need, while advanced search allows you to find exactly what you want.

Advanced search can be found at: https://www.google.ca/advanced_search

A wide variety of ways to fine-tune and narrow searches are available through the form.

If you prefer, you can perform many advanced searches by entering special operators (commands) in the regular Google search box:


site:www.anysite.com
will limit the search to just that website

filetype:pdf will limit the search results to pdf files. You can also limit results to xls and xlsx (Excel) files, doc files (Microsoft Word), and a number of other file formats.

inurl:keyword will require that keyword to be in the URL of the page

allinurl:keyword1 keyword 2 requires two or more keywords to all be in the url

allintitle:keyword requires that one or more keywords be in the page title (the words contained within the html title tags of the page)

cache:www.anysite.com/apage will return Google’s cached (stored) copy of anysite.com/apage

related:www.anysite.com will return sites that, in Google’s estimation, are related to www.anysite.com

The OR operator between keywords will return pages if either of the keywords are present.

AND will require both words to be present. This is the default behaviour if you enter two or more terms.

You can use parentheses to create more complicated searches.

A sign before a keyword will exclude any pages containing that word. Example: Harrietsfield Water -fire will return all pages that have both Harrietsfield and water somewhere in the page, except those with the word fire in them.

# before a word searches for hashtags

@ before a word searches social media, example Twitter.

You can also use the site operator. e.g. site:twitter.com would only search Twitter.

Resource in Brief

Today’s resource in brief is All My Tweets, a simple service that lets you get all of a user’s tweets (up to the maximum number permitted by Twitter)

It’s at https://www.allmytweets.net/

You need to log in with your Twitter account.