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Information Literacy Guide: Information Finding Tools and Systems

Objectives

After completing this SECTION, you will be able to:

  • know where to find the correct information,
  • understand the difference between information finding tools and information sources,
  • recognise and use different information sources
  • apply the following searching techniques:
    • boolean logic
    • truncation/wildcards
    • phrase searching

Video Tutorial: What is a Library Database?

Video Source: RMIT University

Video Tutorial: What is the Internet?

Video Tutorial: DDC

Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)

The Online Library Catalogue (OPAC) may be accessed from the link contained in the heading above, or you may type, or copy and paste the following URL to your browser: http://opac.seals.ac.za/search~S9. The OPAC provides you with a number of advanced search options, as well as additional functionality, such as:

  • On-line renewal of your Library books (provided you don't have any overdue items).
  • The ability to request new Library books.
  • A suggestions form where you can comment on the Library services.
  • A book suggestions form where you can recommend books for purchase by the library.

To use these functions you are required to enter your Surname, Barcode and a PIN number. This confirms your status as a registered Library user.

  • Your barcode is the 10 digit number stuck on the back of your staff or student identity card.
  • You are required to create your own PIN for security reasons.
  • Click here for help on creating a PIN number on the OPAC.

WebBridge

WebBridge provides context sensitive links to the Library's information resources. It facilitates access from the OPAC to subscription databases and other sources. WebBridge also allows for access from the subscription databases to other information sources defined by the Library.

Databases

What is a Database?

A database is a collection of data grouped together for a specific purpose. A database is used to keep large amounts of information organised. This enables people to search for relevant information. You can sort, browse and find information in a database.

Libraries purchase these databases from various publishers or providers (see below for some examples) and allow authorised users to access them over the Web. To see which databases are available and the subjects they cover look at the Online Resources page of the UFH Libraries Website.

 

Types of Databases

TYPE

 

DESCRIPTION

Bibliographic databases

 

Index - these databases include only critical detail that will help you to find the material you are looking for, e.g. name of journal/periodical/book, name of author, volume number, issue number, date, etc.

Abstract Index - this type of database includes the critical information as described above as well as a short abstract (summary) of the content of the publication.

Full-text databases

 

Contain full-text articles, etc. An example of such a database would be EBSCOhost. The text can be downloaded in different formats, such as PDF and HTML format.

Numeric databases

 

This type of database provides numerical data such as statistics, survey results, census information, etc.

Hybrid databases

 

This type of database provides a combination of different types of records.

Internet

What is Internet?

The Internet is the electronic gateway or route to a large number of information sources everywhere in the world. These information sources include billions of full-text documents, research reports, training material, books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, newspapers, games and many more. Some of the information on the Internet is free, but some can be very costly.

To enable you to have access to these information sources, for example, from home, you will need to connect your computer to the Internet via a modem (same principle as a telephone line). You will receive a monthly account for the time you spend on the Internet (this is if you have a PC at home that is connected).

Internet facilities are also available in your Library - ask your Librarian for help. These facilities might be free or at a specified cost.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

Books at UFH Libraries are organized using the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Under this system, every "call number" or "shelf number" begins with three numbers, followed by various letters and/or number combinations. The numbers correspond to subject areas.

There are ten major subject groupings. Each of these is then divided and subdivided into more specific disciplines. For example,

000-099 Computers, information & general reference 
100-199 Philosophy & psychology
200-299 Religion
300-399 Social sciences

370 Education
371 School management; special education
372 Elementary education
373 Secondary education
374 Adult education
375 Curriculums
376 Education of women
377 Schools & religion
378 Higher education

400-499 Language 
500-599 Science 
600-699 Technology
700-799 Arts & recreation 
800-899 Literature
900-999 History & geography

Read the call numbers line by line, for example, the call number for the book Future Thinking by Ann Sturgess is:

370.152 Identifies that this book belongs to the category of education.
STU Based on the last name of the author, Sturgess

 

To find this book:

  • Find the section where the call numbers begin with 370 (this number is read as a whole number). Treat the rest as a decimal, e.g. 370.152 would come between 370.15 and 370.16.
  • Within this section, work alphabetically to find S.