Why Practice Your Keyword Skills?
By Rachel Friedman, MMLIS, Librarian
The library catalog and the internet are both wonderful search tools. One may type virtually anything into the search box and be sure of receiving information. With such ease of use, it is reasonable to ask for the purpose of perfecting our skills in creating precise search terms, also known as keywords. The fact of the matter is that it is never a bad idea to improve one’s chances of getting fast, accurate results.
The thing about databases is that they attempt to match all the search results that the researcher types. Since this is the case, a search for “diabetes in calico tomcats” may lead to results for calico cats, tomcats, and diabetes, but not necessarily to publications which discuss all three of them as a single issue. In brief, instead of getting the desired articles, one may end up with inferior or irrelevant materials.
So, how can you improve your keyword creation skills? The answer is that one must practice. It requires a series of trials and errors to understand which words should be included in one’s search terms. Fortunately, students and instructors have many projects which will encourage them to engage in this exercise. If you would like some assistance, our library also runs programs to aid our patrons in this quest. Feel free to call upon us at any time.