Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boolean Searching on the Internet

The Internet is a vast computer database. As such, its contents must be searched according to the rules of computer database searching. Much database searching is based on the principles of Boolean logic. Boolean logic refers to the logical relationship among search terms, and is named for the British-born Irish mathematician George Boole. On Internet search engines, the options for constructing logical relationships among search terms often modify the traditional practice of Boolean searching.  The three major Boolean or logical operators used in information retrieval are:  (1) AND, (2) OR, and (3) NOT.


Data are Raw Facts

The two most common types of databases are bibliographic and full-text:
  • bibliographic database contains electronic entries called records containing a uniform description of a specific document, usually retrievable by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s).  Usually contains citations and abstracts or summaries of the document.
  • full-text database provides the entire text of single works, such as journal articles.
These catagories are somewhat overlapping - a bibliographic database may contain some full-text documents, while some supposedly full-text databases may not contain complete texts of every document in it.  There are two kinds of databases:  general - Academic Search FullTEXT Premier; and subject-specific - Library Literature & Information Science.  (lecture notes on What is a Database)
Browse USM Online Database List at:

Working Wisdom: Dealing with Databases

Whether you're creating an address file with a simple file manager or retrieving data from a full-blown relational database-management system, you can save yourself a great deal of time and grief if you follow a few commonsense rules:
1.  Choose the right tool for the job.
2.  Think about how you'll get the information out before you put it in.
3.  Start with a plan, and be prepared to change your plan.
4.  Make your data consistent.
5.  Databases are only as good as their data is.
6.  Query with care.
7.  If at first you don't succeed, try another approach.

Google Image (

Database Anatomy

For our purpose, a database is a collection of information stored in an organized form in a computer.  It is typically composed of one or more tables.  It is organized into records, which the information is related to ne person, product, or event.  The type of information a field can hold is determined by its field type or data type.  Most database programs provide you with more than one way to view the data, including form views and list views.

The Electronic File Cabinet

We live in an information age.  We're bombarded with information by television, radio, newspapers, and computers.  A database program is a data manager that can help alleviate information overload.  Databases make it possible for people to store, organize, retreive, communicate, and manage information in ways that wouldn't be possible without computers.  To control the flood of information, people use databases of all sizes and shapes-from massive mainframe database managers, to computerized appointment calendars on palmtop computers, to public database kiosks in shopping malls.

Databases can be as simple as a list of names and addresses, or as complex as an airline reservation system.  A recipe file, a library's card catalog, or a list of Web sites.  A good database does the following:  (1) makes it easier to store large quantities of information; (2) makes it easier to retrieve information quickly and flexibly; (3) makes it easy to organize and recognize information; and (4) makes it easy to print and distribute information in a variety of ways (Beekman, 2009, pp.235-36).

(Google Image:

A relating link is: