Monday, November 14, 2011

Art of Finding & Learning (#12): Know What You Don't

For any topic, it is very helpful to figure out what you don't know.  What I don't know may help direct my efforts toward what I do want to know.  The other word for this effort is context.  For any search new or old, I always repeat a context search.  Yes, I use Wikipedia and other library databases similar to it, such as Encyclopedia Britannica Online.  I look at the large article databases, such as EBSCO's Academic Search Premier and use their thesaurus (list of Subject Terms).  I look for my key concept or its synonyms.  And then I see how it fits in the hierarchy.  Such as:

I entered the browse term: gourds and it directed me to the broader term Cucurbitaceae and the subsets under it.  So now I have what I assume are the the biological terms that I would need to use to search more precisely.  Obviously, I don't know about genus and species information for this wonderful decorative fruit but I could learn.  If I wanted to correctly identify one type of gourd and find information stored by that method, I would profit by using the scientific terms.

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