Come June 1st 2012 all IMPs (theses) will be uploaded as PDFs to “the cloud”. This means for the most part theses will by-pass the library, and will not be entered into the library’s catalog. This also means students will need to apply keywords and descriptors to their theses so others can find them easily.
Some descriptors and keywords will be easy to do, for example:
- program of study
- author’s name
- mentor’s names
- title of thesis
Where some issues may occur is describing the essence of a thesis. Although writing your own descriptors and keywords (what are the differences) is possible, it’s best to use a “controlled vocabulary.” After some deliberation library staff chose the ERIC thesaurus. Its focus is education and most teachers are familiar with this database.
How many keywords and descriptors should you select? We suggest a minimum of five and a maximum of ten. Spend time exploring the ERIC Thesaurus, watch this online tutorial Finding the Right Descriptor, and be methodical.
We’ve been giving the new ProQuest a test drive and we like what we see. To start with it has a very simple search box with options to search in fulltext and in scholarly journal mode. If you want to do more than this, there’s always advanced search.
Something all researchers might consider is getting ProQuest “My Research” account, it’s very easy to do and is free (yay)! The nice thing about having an account is that you can save, share, and email articles, and access them from any pc (once you are logged in of course).
The red box above is where you can sign up or sign in to your “My Research” account. Once you’ve logged in (the mustard colored box) you are ready to start searching (the yellow box), saving, and sharing all those great articles. Note the check boxes to ensure that your results are full text and scholarly.
Something we’ve been looking at in the library is how EBSCO users can customize database searches with the help of a My EBSCOhost account.
What’s nice about having your own account with My EBSCOhost is that you can tweak how your search screen looks. You can also save searches, save files to folders, share them with others, and access what you’ve saved from any computer as long as you’re logged in through your Bank Street Library account.
Take time out to make an account and methodically work your way through all the features that are available through EBSCO’s stable of databases. If you save articles in one EBSCO database (e.g., Academic Search Premiere) you’ll be able to view them in another. Not sure which databases are EBSCO products – no problem below is a list available through Bank Street:
The databases hightlighted in yellow are ones graduate school students use on a regular basis.
A very useful feature of databases like Academic Search Premiere and Proquest is the RSS feed function. Setting one up will save you the bother of continually searching for updates on your favorite topics. It’s something faculty, and students starting a thesis, should consider.
RSS feeds are relatively easy to setup. Click the RSS feed icon above and copy the URL into the pop-up window below.
All you have to do is paste the feed’s URL into a news reader (in this example we paste it into the “Add a subscription” field), and then you let the reader do all the work of finding new items for you.
In the example above I’m using Google reader, but there are other other readers you can use, e.g., My Yahoo, and Adobe’s ReadAir.
To read articles at school all you have to do is click on the title, at home you will be directed to the database login page first.