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ONLINE SEARCH TECHNIQUES: Similar Bibliographies

Theory behind Similar Bibliographies

"Similar Bibliography" searching is an attempt to find articles that are of a similar nature to the research you are doing.

There are two approaches to this. One is to compare bibliographies and the other is to find articles with matching subject headings.

Compared Bibliography Theory

The search engine looks at one article's bibliography and then compares it to all the other bibliographies in its database (only that database, not the entire world of publication). The search engine should then arrange the results with the highest ranking having the most items in the bibliography in common. Imagine an article with 5 items in the bibliography. You perform a similar bibliography search. The first item in the results list will probably have all 5 items from the original article. The second and third might have four items in common. And so on. That means that the article that is probably most similar would be the first article. For your research, this is a way in which to catch some related articles that may not use your keywords or might not reference one particular author you searched for.

Matching Subject Headings Theory

This is a search, performed by the search engine, for articles that have all the same subject headings as the article you chose. Your article might have four specific subject headings. The engine will then search for articles that have those exact four. It should arrange results based on number of subject headings in common. So the first group will have all subject headings in common; most similar, and the last group will only have one subject heading in common; least similar.

Practical matter

The theory behind these search techniques is truly amazing and can lead to some great discoveries. The unfortunate problem is that this technique is not available in all our databases. Currently this technique is only available in the ProQuest hosted databases.

How to: Compared Bibliography

1 – go to our library “website”, found at http://lifepacific.libguides.com/c.php?g=318246&p=2130512.
2 – under “Resources Tab” click on “ProQuest”.  This will take you to the landing page for the ProQuest hosted databases. The default setting is inclusion of all 7 databases. Keep that for this research.
3 – click “Advanced Search” which is found just above the search box. This will present you with the full advanced search page with boxes and limiters.
4 – enter your search terms: keyword and/or subject headings.

This will present you with your results list.

5 - Pick the most appropriate article from the list.

On the right-hand side of the materials page you will have a couple of choices.

6 - Choose "Documents with Shared References".

This will take you to a new results page. On this page is all the articles that share items in the bibliography. The theory is that article with similar bibliographies are similar in content. So, the more items in common, the more likely they are about similar ideas. The list is arranged by number of similar items in bibliography; higher in list, greater correlation of ideas.

How to: Matching Subject Headings

1 – go to our library “website”, found at http://lifepacific.libguides.com/c.php?g=318246&p=2130512.
2 – under “Resources Tab” click on “ProQuest”.  This will take you to the landing page for the ProQuest hosted databases. The default setting is inclusion of all 7 databases. Keep that for this research.
3 – click “Advanced Search” which is found just above the search box. This will present you with the full advanced search page with boxes and limiters.
4 – enter your search terms: keyword and/or subject headings.

This will present you with your results list.

5 - Pick the most appropriate article from the list.

On the right-hand side of the materials page you will have a couple of choices.

6 - Choose "See Similar Documents".

This will open up a short list of documents below "See Similar Documents". This list is a list of articles that have the same subject headings. Those that are highest on the list have the most subject headings in common. If the article you are looking at has four subject headings, then those at the top of the list most likely have the same four subject headings. They should be very similar articles.

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