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CSC 803: Module 4

This guide provides students in CSC 803 with access to library content needed in each week of the course.

Module 4: Learning Outcomes

In Module 4, you will complete activities in which you:

  1. Learn how to select appropriate research databases and search engines when preparing a literature review
  2. Learn about differences in research databases and search engines by using them to retrieve sources

Module 4: Activity - Finding the Library's Research Databases

Find the best research databases for cybersecurity

BACKGROUND: Using appropriate research databases -- to find sources (journal articles, conference proceedings, etc.) -- is one of the best methods to ensure that you are selecting credible sources for your literature review.

1. This week, you'll learn more about the differences between research databases that will affect which ones you use for your research.

2. To prepare you for that, take a look at this research guide that the Library provides: Information Systems, Information Assurance, and Computer Science Resources Guide

  • The tabs in the guide are labeled with the different types of materials you are likely to need (e.g., journal articles; dissertations; patents). Each tabbed page for a material type will list appropriate databases for finding that material type.


Module 4: Activity - Selecting research databases patents (assignment)

Select research databases that are appropriate for your information needs.

BACKGROUND: This activity provides an overview of the information-seeking process that is needed to create a literature review. It's focused mostly on steps 1 & 2 of the "literature review process" described in your textbook [Machi LA & McEvoy BT, (2012). The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin].

1. Read Literature Review Steps

2. If you skimmed through the above Literature Review Steps, go back and read more closely the section "Develop a Strategy."

  • As it points out, the nature of your information need will determine the type of information source that will be useful to you.
  • For your graduate work, you'll primarily be using articles in conference proceedings and in journal articles because they provide the most current sources for the formal communication of research.
  • However, other types of sources may be needed, for example, for historical development perspectives or technical details.

3. You were asked to take a look at this research guide that the Library provides: Information Systems, Information Assurance, and Computer Science Resources Guide

  • The tabs in the guide are labeled with the different types of materials you are likely to need (e.g., journal articles; dissertations; patents). Each tabbed page for a material type will list appropriate databases for finding that material type.

4. Use the guide to select a research database for finding patents.

5. Find the patent for a device called the "amulet" whose inventor is David Kotz.   Answer these questions.

a. What is this patent application's publication number? Provide both the US publication number and the WO (short for WIPO) publication number.

b. What is the device?

6. When using Information Systems, Information Assurance, and Computer Science Resources Guide read the descriptions of the databases to understand the scope and content of each in order to better select which ones to use.

  • For example, the first database listed for finding patents states "you may find it easier to use the Google patent search."  That's a clue that you might want to use the second database listed, which is Google Patent Search, for a potentially better experience when searching for US patents.

7. When selecting a research database there are some basic but critical questions to ask yourself. Does it:

  • cover the topic you are researching?
  • cover the level of material wanted?  (for example, technical/trade? or scholarly?)  
  • cover the type of material wanted?    (for example, journal articles? conference proceedings? computer manuals?)
  • cover the time period you are researching (for example, current enough? back in time far enough?

Module 4: Activity - Conference Proceedings (assignment)

Get recent research in conference proceedings.

BACKGROUND: In a research field that changes rapidly, conference papers are critical for getting the most recent research. Organizations typically hold conferences annually (although frequency can vary), and all of the papers presented at the conference are bundled together as "conference proceedings." The proceedings appear on an organization's website grouped together by the conference such as the 30th Annual Conference of Whatever. If the conference proceedings are printed, they form a book-length publication. Research databases aimed at professionals in a specific field may provide access only to journal articles or may include other types of material that are important to researchers in the discipline, including individual papers from conferences. That's a timesaver for you, because you will get both journal articles and conference papers in your search results (and ideally with the full text of the papers and journal articles).

For example, if you search ACM Digital Library or IEEE XPlore, you will retrieve journal articles and conference papers.

It can be a bit complicated, however, to figure out where to look for conference papers when you are given only a citation and want to find either the entire proceedings from a conference or a single paper in a proceedings. Where should you search? In this activity, you'll learn about finding conference proceedings.

1. If you know that it's an ACM or an IEEE conference, I hope by now you know that the Mundt Library pays for your access to ACM Digital Library and IEEE XPlore.  You can be fairly sure that you'll be able to get the complete papers by going directly to the research databases from the Mundt Library's website. 

2. If it's not ACM or IEEE, you might search Google Scholar for the specific paper or search Google for the conference proceedings site. That can work if the papers are made available in full on the web without payment.

3. If you're unable to get to the full article for free, what are your options?

  • You can request that the Library get the conference paper or the conference proceedings for you through Interlibrary Loan, OR 
  • You can try one more step before requesting Interlibrary Loan...  Search the Library Catalog of the Mundt Library to see if we have the proceedings in print or have access to it online.

4. To learn how to find conference publications using the Library Catalog

  • Like our other research databases, you can link to this database in the "Research" dropdown menu in the top navigation bar on the Library's homepage. From "Research" select Complete Database List.
  • Or you can find a link to it on its own in the upper box labeled Books and eBooks.
  • The Library Catalog is a research database for finding books, ebooks, and DVDs that are in the Mundt Library or are accessible online through the Mundt Library's subscriptions.
  • Do not search the Library Catalog for articles in journals.

5. Conference proceedings are treated as books or ebooks, so you may search for a proceedings from a conference in the Library Catalog to see if we have it.

  • Do not search for a specific conference paper in the Library Catalog. In the Library Catalog, you will search for the proceedings title, not the title of the specific conference paper.

6. Use the Library Catalog to answer the questions below.

a. Search for the proceedings for the following conference.

Park, I., Lee, Y., Jeong, J. (2013). Improved Identity Management Protocol for Secure Mobile Cloud Computing.  
Proceedings of the 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), 4958-4965. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2013.262

b. Click the "Online Access" button. Where did you end up (that is, which of the Library's research databases has the proceedings)?

c. Now that you've arrived at the proceedings web page, use the filters on the left side to find the specific article within the proceedings. Is the full text of the article available to you without payment?

Module 4: Activity - Books and E-books (assignment)

Get books and e-books

BACKGROUND: In this activity, you will practice using the Library Catalog and be reminded that a search's effectiveness can be impacted by how you enter terms and refine searches.

1. Find books and e-books using the Library Catalog on the topic of cybersecurity. Do each of the following searches and compare the number of results for each search:

a. How many results do you get if you search for: cybersecurity

b. How many results do you get if you put a space between cyber and security and search for:  cyber security

c. How many results do you get if you set up a search on the Advanced Search screen as follows:

1) enter in the top search box: cybersecurity   {make sure that an all field search is selected on the left side of that search box} After you perform the search you may get  a message on the top of your results that notes the search includes computer security as well. Limit to just cybersecurity.

2) enter in the second search box: cyber security  {make sure that you have selected an all field search for this search phrase also}

3) Change the "AND" operator in front of the second search box to: OR

2. The Library Catalog provides additional functionality that helps you "refine" your search by using options on the left side of the results screen:

  • narrow your results by date, subject, and other options.
  • sort results by relevance, newest items at the top, etc.

3. When I did the searches in #1 above on 10/1/2020, I found 1a) 249 items,   1b) 504 items, and  1c) 674 items. (Note after doing the search, the catalog may try to expand your search to include computer security. I limited it just to cyber security,)

  • You can see we get very different results in 1a) and 1b) simply because of how we entered the terms.
  • We could do the first search, scan through its results, then do the second search, and scan through its results, but the third search did both in a single search.
  • With 1c), we found all the items that used either "cybersecurity" or used "cyber security" (249 + 504 = 753) and eliminated the duplicates to yield 674.

4. Use the Library Catalog to answer these questions.

a. What is the title of the most recent book that provides information on the topic: IoT security? (Tip use the Sort by feature on the left side of the page)

b. What year was it published?

c. What is the permalink for the book? (You will need to click on the title to get the full record. Look at the Send it section for the permalink. This is the URL to use in order to get back to the book rather than the one in the address bar.)

Module 4: Activity - Research database differences (assignment)

Explore research database differences

BACKGROUND: In this activity you will explore research database differences by searching and comparing results in a few databases.

1. Research databases differ in what they select to include:

a. ACM Digital Library is focused on journals and proceedings published by ACM. IEEE XPlore is focused on journals and proceedings of IEEE and IET. 

  • ACM Digital Library and IEEE XPlore do include some technical/trade journals, but the vast majority of what you find when searching those two databases is scholarly.
  • Because these two professional organizations, ACM and IEEE, are for computing and electronics professionals and because both produce many publications, you are likely to get good results when searching these databases for computing, information technology, and security topics.
  • However, if you search only these databases you will be missing scholarly journals of other publishers.

b. Web of Science (WofS) is not limited to a single publisher but instead includes top quality journals from a range of publishers. That expands the breadth of your searching across multiple publishers.

  • WofS is very selective, including only highly cited scholarly journals. 
  • WofS covers science, social science, arts and humanities. Because it covers a broad range of disciplines, and because of its selectivity, it will cover fewer of the journals available for any given discipline (such as information security)
  • WofS provides links to full text articles but does not provide full text articles itself.

c. ABI/INFORM Complete is is not limited to a single publisher but includes material from many publishers.

  • ABI/INFORM Complete focuses on business and information technology publications, including subtantial news magazines, technical trade magazines, and scholarly journals. Because of this range of material, you may need to spend more time sorting the scholarly from the not scholarly material.

d. Google Scholar aims to collect as much scholarly material as possible by scouring the web. It is a search engine *not* a structured research database. It doesn't create the metadata or control quality of the metadata for the items it includes in search results.

  • Google Scholar is not selective, although the algorithm is intended to pick up scholarly material rather than the flotsam and jetsom of a regular google search.
  • Google Scholar offers an advantage in being really, really big, which is helpful when you're looking for a specific item.
  • But that size can also produce an overwhelming number of results.

2. Research databases differ in functionality and quality of the metadata.

  • IEEE XPlore offers good functionality for refining searches (by date, publication, authors, etc).
  • ACM Digital Library is less powerful than IEEE XPlore when it comes to refining searches which makes it harder to search as effectively and efficiently.
  • WofS offers excellent functionality for refining searches by date, publications, and other criteria.
  • WofS offers an additional special type of searching because it indexes the citations found in the reference lists of the articles. We looked at this last week.
  • Google Scholar suffers from its poor metadata, because it doesn't create the metadata itself and doesn't perform quality control on the metadata of the items found.

3. When you use research databases and search engines, look for what options are offered for fine-tuning searches with "advanced" search options and with options for refining to improve results.

4. Search in ABI/INFORM, ACM Digital Library, IEEE XPlore, and Web of Science for scholarly publications in which "behavioral biometrics" appears in the title of each journal or proceedings article. Answer the questions below.

  • Do use the quote marks in your search for "behavioral biometrics." This will force it to be searched as a phrase -- retrieving only the items that use those two words side-by-side and in the order entered.
    • In most research databases and search engines, entering to two words without quote marks will by default place an AND between the words.
    • For example, if you enter: behavioral biometrics  
      You are really entering: behavioral AND biometrics  
      That is, the two words must appear in the items retrieved, but they are not required to be side-by-side.
    • In most research databases and search engines, quote marks will force phrase searching.
  • Do look for Advanced search options that allow you to search in one part of the item description -- such as searching for the terms only in the title.
  • Do look for Sort options that allow you to switch from seeing results sorted by Relevance to seeing results sorted by Newest (most recent).

a. Scan the results of your searches in each database, compare the results, and briefly describe any differences you notice. In your brief comparison, consider:

  • How many items did you retrieve in each database?
  • How much overlap did you find in the results when comparing the databases to each other? 
  • What differences did you find, if any, in the types of material (journal articles, conference papers, etc.) found in each database?

b. In each research database, what is the title of the most recent item found?

c. Look at the publication dates of each of the items found in answer to b.  Did any of the databases standout as being particularly up-to-date (if so, which ones) or were they all fairly similar in the currency of results?

Next week

Next week's Module 5 will be the last Library module

The library instruction for CSC803 will finish next week with a focus on the ethics of information use and on author rights.