This ePortfolio Activity required us to use the USP Laucala library catalogue and the online database ProQuest that USP is subscribed to to search for various resources presented to us in a reading list. This required the formulation of effective search strategies, considering the techniques supported by the search tools.
The Library catalogue has certain features that make it very helpful as a search tool. Firstly, it has an Alternative Subject Search Option which allows users to find at least one record relevant to the topic of search. This feature assisted me in completing my ePortfolio activity as we were required to find a link or resource relevant to the topic being searched for. The details of any resource include links to relevant resources on similar topics which made it easier for us to find a relevant resource. Secondly, the library catalogues Advanced Search option is another helpful feature. It assisted me in this activity by allowing me to make the search strategy as accurate as possible, and if even that did not retrieve the required result then an alternative search tool was used.
USP is subscribed to an online database ProQuest that contains tonnes of information to assist students with their studies at tertiary. As such, it has many helpful features. Firstly, it provides information about articles in the form of citations and abstracts as well as the full-text articles in pdf and/or html formats.This feature was very helpful as we did not have to look at the entire article to determine what it was about. Instead, a look at the abstract did the job. Also, the citations being readily provided in any bibliographic style required made completing the activity even easier. Secondly, it can focus on one subject or be multidisciplinary. This is also very helpful as students could simply search all databases if they were not sure which specific database to select and the results list would indicate the specific subject area the information was taken from.
Despite the above helpful features, both the search tools had certain features that were unhelpful. The Library catalogue does not include titles of articles and authors of articles in journals or edited books. This feature makes research harder as usually a specific article in a journal or book is being searched for hence students first have to locate the journal or edited book and then locate the article in the journal or book. The online database ProQuest sometimes cannot be accessed off-campus thus it becomes a hindrance to effective research. This was very unhelpful as we could not finish our ePortfolios off campus and had to come to campus to access ProQuest.
In all, this ePortfolio activity has taught us effective research skills and of the various search tools that can utilised that will be very useful not just in this course, but in our future studies as well.