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This guide provides resources to help in creating reports detailing the identification and description of microorganisms.

The Importance of Articles

Journals can be highly technical in language and concepts and are generally about the latest findings in a field. Journal articles in the field of microbiology are generally about very specific topics. They may present an experiment or a case study involving a microorganism and how it behaves. As such, they may not be a good source for a great deal of general information about the organism, but some introductory information may be provided. e.g. Journals from the American Society for Microbiology

Magazines and Newspapers can be a good source for finding articles in the field of microbiology which are targeted to general readers or about microbiology topics in the news, whether in a general magazine like Time or a magazine specifically dedicated to the field like Microbe.

 Trade publications fall somewhat in between the technical level of journals and magazines. These cover the latest developments, techniques, and equipment used in a field. e.g. Nature Methods

Useful Databases

Search Strategies

Keyword Searching is a very effective way to search in databases. When searching, do not use phrases. Instead, take out the keywords or main words out of the phrase and connect them with the word "AND."

For example, do not search for "what are some career options in fast food." Search instead for "fast food AND careers."

Sometimes you may also may want to truncate a keyword with and asterisk (*). This will retrieve words that start with the indicated letters and have any ending up to 5 more letters. For example, employ* will retrieve employ, employee, employment, etc.

Subject Searching also can be done in most databases. One can either search for subject terms in a Subject index (look for sections such as "Browse Subjects" or "Subject Terms" at the top of the page) or by using the pull-down menu next to the search box(es) in an Advanced Search and selecting the "Subject" field to search within.

Search Limits and Advanced Searching

Search Limits allow you to narrow your searches either to availability of articles or article type or date of publication. Search limits can be found beneath the search boxes on both Basic and Advanced Searches, though Advanced Searches may give you more limits to work with.

The Full-text limit is very useful, as selecting it ensures that you will only see articles on your result page which have the complete text of the article included. Unless you are required to find everything out there is published on a given subject, this limit should be applied every time you search.

Date limits may also be useful if your instructor has asked that articles to be no older than a certain date, though databases generally start with showing the most recent articles and work backwards anyway.

The Scholarly Journals or Peer-Reviewed Journals limit may be useful too, if those are the only type of articles you wish to see. Gale databases, though, generally though categorize articles according to type (see the tabs at the top of results pages on Gale Databases).

Advanced Searching is an excellent option to switch to before even beginning a search. In an advanced search, generally, the database provides several search boxes already connected with the word "AND" and often presents even more limit options.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000