Aging & the Life Course

Two Different Types of Search Tools

Academic Databases

Many academic databases assign descriptive subject terms to each item they contain. The subject terms are taken from a subject thesaurus (list of vocabulary) that each database producer develops.

When searching traditional academic databases:

  • Start your search with the words that you know to describe your topic

  • Review the first few items on the result list that seem to be on topic

  • Look in the subject field of the item record to find the official database thesaurus subject terms

  • Now run your search again stringing your original terms as well as the thesaurus terms you found in the relevant records, combined with OR

Discovery Tools

When using discovery tools such as Google Scholar or EMU's Esearch, look out for all the various synonyms displayed. There is no 'standard' thesaurus vocabulary, because this depends on each different database. You need to ferret out whatever terminology the authors of the database items use.

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Social Sciences Librarian

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Suzanne Gray
100 F Halle Library