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Federated Searching: What it is; How it works

The Problem:

Marist has over 40,000 scholarly journals in over 100 databases. Each database has its own interface and many are confusing, complex and counter-intuitive.

The Challenge:

How to simplify the process of finding material responsive to your specific need?

The Solution:

Keep it Simple.
  The first thing we did was break down the databases based on the relevance of their content to the 28 majors at Marist.
  Then we installed Fox Hunt, a tool that enables the user to search nearly all the relevant databases in a subject area -- identified as Core databases -- in a single search. This is called federated searching. ("Nearly all" -- because some databases won't let Fox Hunt access their content and must be searched the old fashioned way: individually, one at a time. )

Getting Started

See demo or return to the Library home page.
Click on one of the Subject Areas (accessible also at the Resources by Subject menu on the right side of the home page, or scroll over the "Research" bar at the top of the page, scroll the cursor over "Databases" and click on "By subject").
This will take you to the "Subject Guide" page, for example, Communication (where you will find many other web and text sources listed that are not necessarily included in the federated search or can be searched or accessed individually).
Enter your search term. More than on word should be enclosed in quote as the example shows. Click on Search. It may seem long compared to the nanoseconds of a Google search, but keep in mind what is happening; it is searching millions of pages in thousands of journals in five or more databases, plus over 150 years of the New York Times, nearly 200,000 books, etc.etc.etc!!
You will see numbers in parentheses appear as the search n that databases is completed. You can click on that number and go to those results even though the total search is not complete.
When the search is complete the Results will be displayed in a purely chronological way. This gives an edge to journalistic sources as the more current.
You may want to contually click on "Show Summary" to go back and see the results by database rather than just chronologically.
Once you see which databases have the most results responsive to your search, you may want to repeat or refine your search in one or two individual databases rather than work in the "federated" environment. To do so, return to the Library home page, go to the Research bar at the top of the page, scroll over and choose "Databases - A-Z".



Any questions at any time, please as a Librarian -- they are here for exactly that purpose.

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Contact: James A. Cannavino Library
Revised: 2011 December 20