Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flying in the Clouds

Many of you know that when you're searching in Wildpac, you can narrow your search by using the facets button on the left just as you can with many search engines. And some of you may even pay attention to the "cloud" on the right, which can further help reduce your set of results by clicking on the links, but did you know that on the bottom of the results screen there is another "cloud." This one using the same terms that you saw on the right. In this case you can click on any of these links and expand your search to find more records that might actually help you find the material that you are looking for.

As an example, search for the phrase "animal rights."

The term brings up 49 records in the D'Amour Library and 43 records in the Law Library at the time of this writing. Clicking on the Law link reduces the number to just the Law Library's holdings. By clicking on the larger font in the "cloud" term "animal welfare" the list is reduced to 24 titles in the Law Library.

Some of these are hard copy monographs, some are  microforms, and some are even electronic journals. But if you go down to the bottom "cloud" and click on the same "animal welfare" term you can expand your list to 150 Law Library records and 43 D'Amour Library records. The larger the font is for the term or phrase, the more hits there are on it.

Among these records will be more titles that used the subject "animal welfare," including an interesting report from the 91st Congress about "The horse protection act of 1969." The purpose of the act was designed to end the inhumane practice of deliberately making sore the feet of Tennessee walking horses in order to alter their natural gait.

Many of these records are for titles in the Proquest Congressional database with electronic links to full PDF's of Congressional reports, while some others are microforms from the CIS Microform collection which will lead you to many hearings before Congress. So if you're looking to either expand or reduce your set of results, look to the clouds in Wildpac. And if you're looking for a different term or phrase that you could use in a search, look to those same clouds in Wildpac and see where it might take you.

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