January 26th, 2006
The Mountaineer Spirit January 26, 2006
By Monte Maxwell
Finding information in the WVU Libraries’ online databases just got E-Z.
E-ZSearch, the newest addition to the Libraries’ web site, allows users to simultaneously search several of the Libraries’ 150 electronic databases and the MountainLynx catalog for a selected topic. Previously, users would have to identify which databases related to their chosen subject and then search through each of the databases one at a time.
“It will make searching library databases more like using Google,” said Penny Pugh, Head of Reference for the Downtown Campus Library. “E-ZSearch gives researchers a way to sift through the huge body of published scholarship in a simple fashion from the Libraries’ homepage.”
The basic, or default search, focuses on four of the Libraries’ most heavily used databases: Academic Search Elite, JSTOR, Lexis-Nexis, and MountainLynx. Another option is an advanced search, which limits the parameters to databases pertinent to a particular discipline, such as biology, business, and psychology.
The researcher simply keys in a term and hits search, and the results are returned, grouped according to database.
Pugh expects all users, especially undergraduates, to appreciate the broad search capabilities.
First, the time savings is incredible. On their own, even people who know what databases to search would have to run individual searches on five or six databases. Someone new to research might end up running a dozen searches before finding needed resources. E-ZSearch can scan through several databases in one quick swoop.
It also helps novice researchers and those unfamiliar with all of the available resources. A common problem for many people is that several databases have names not associated with their contents, such as ABI/Inform, which covers business. While someone might overlook the database, E-ZSearch would include it in business searches.
Pugh speculates that E-ZSearch could carry the side benefit of transforming users into better researchers. After a few searches, most will begin to notice a trend of which databases produce the best results. In the future, they might choose to head to those databases first.
Anyone seeking help with using E-ZSearch or any of the Libraries’ resources can go to the Reference Desk for help or send questions to our online reference service, Ask a Librarian: www.libraries.wvu.edu/instruction/ask.htm