Librarian's Guide to Online Searching

Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction, 5th Edition

by Christopher C. Brown and Suzanne S. Bell


Learn how to perform online searches more efficiently and teach your patrons to do the same.

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Cover image for Librarian's Guide to Online Searching

July 2018

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 374
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/General
  Information Systems and Technology/Database and Other Retrieval Systems
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Understanding and navigating online databases is an essential skill for today's librarians, but staying current in this changing landscape can be a challenge. The fifth edition of this vital book ensures that you meet that challenge.

Today's librarians not only need to know about existing databases and how to perform searches within them but must also be able to teach search capabilities and strategies to library users. This practical guide introduces librarians to a broad spectrum of the fee-based and freely-available databases that are available, some of which are new to this edition, and explains their underlying information structures as well as updates to some standard databases. In addition, it covers search strategies, provides criteria for evaluating databases, and discusses how to teach others about databases.

As in the previous edition, this book takes a "real world approach," covering everything from basic and advanced search tools to online subject databases. Each chapter includes a thorough discussion, recap, concrete examples, exercises, and points to consider, making this an ideal text for courses in database searching as well as a trustworthy professional resource.


  • Provides professional development to librarians looking to acquire or improve their proficiency in an essential professional skill
  • Offers additional professional guidance in the form of recaps, concrete examples, exercises, and points to consider
  • Empowers students and librarians to search online effectively
  • Discusses databases in the context of real-world problems
Author Info

Christopher C. Brown is Reference Technology Integration Librarian at the University of Denver, Main Library, Denver, Colorado. He is also the library's Coordinator of Government Documents, having served on the federal Depository Library Council (2012–2015). He is author of Harnessing the Power of Google: What Every Researcher Should Know.

Suzanne S. Bell is the former business librarian at the University of Rochester and an adjunct instructor for the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Her previous positions have included computer science librarian at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at Carnegie Mellon University, Internet education specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and economics librarian at the University of Rochester. Bell has a master's degree in library science.



"As this book often serves as a textbook, each chapter concludes with a set of exercises and references to other sources. Overall, this is an indispensable book for learning about databases. Recommended for all libraries."ARBA

Student Resources
Visit the course companion site for Librarian's Guide to Online Searching for access to additional material, including:

•Exclusive video content from Christopher C. Brown, including examples of cross-database searching, comparisons of the various Web-scale discovery platforms, and comparison of citations in various citation tools
•Handouts offering tips on online research strategies such as cross-database searching and mixing Boolean operators in database environments
•Handouts with tips for working with different databases including those for the social sciences, humanities, and government information
•An online discussion where you can connect with other readers of the book, ask questions, and offer new ideas

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Harnessing the Power of Google cover imageReference and Information Services cover imageReference and Instructional Services for Information Literacy Skills in School Libraries, 3rd Edition cover image
Research Methods in Library and Information Science, 6th Edition cover imageBeyond the Textbook cover imageApplications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science, 2nd Edition cover image

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