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Library Skills Tutorial for Life Science Honours, DBS


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Title: Library Skills Tutorial for Life Science Honours, DBS

  • Library Skills Tutorial for Life Science
    Honours, DBS Pharmacy Graduate Students
  • Conducted by
  • Hew Yik Suan
  • Manager
  • Medical/Science Library
  • 23 August 2007

  • Learn how to
  • devise effective literature search strategy
  • identify and utilize relevant reference databases
  • familiarize with the services and resources
    available in the NUS Libraries

At the end of this briefing, you would be
able to
  • initiate a systematic approach on conducting
    research e.g. how to use Boolean operators to
    construct search strategy
  • identify relevant reference databases for your
    research project
  • perform the search effectively in the relevant
    reference databases (Web of Science BIOSIS

Starting a Research Project
Identify the research topic

Initiate literature search
How to initiate a literature search?
  • Start with a simple / quick literature search in
  • Follow with an extensive search in relevant
    reference databases.

How to construct the search statement?
List synonyms for each concept
Identify keywords main concepts
Think of the broader terms for each concept to
get a better perspective on your research topic
  • Research Topic
  • Altruism in Animals

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
  • One of the most comprehensive reference sources
    for life sciences
  • It comprises of more than 3,000 specially
    commissioned, peer-reviewed articles from 5,000
    contributors from all over the world
  • Updated monthly

  • Behavior of an animal that benefits another at
    its own expense
  • Selfless concern for the well being of others
  • The practice of thinking of the needs and desires
    of other people instead of your own
  • Sacrifice, if necessary of life itself, so that
    others, offspring or other genetically close
    younger relatives, may survive or otherwise

Search ConceptResearch Topic Altruism in
Search Statement
  • Boolean operators
  • OR is used to indicate that any of the terms may
    be present
  • AND is used to indicate that both terms must be

NOT is to eliminate an unwanted concept or word
in your search statement
  • Use Boolean operators to formulate
  • the search statement
  • For example
  • (altruis OR unselfish behavi OR selfless) AND
    (animal) NOT (Ant OR Formicidae OR
  • altruism, altruist, altruistic
  • behavior, behaviour, behavioral
  • animal, animals, animalia (Latin word)

  • 1. Identify your research topic
  • 2. List the keyword, synonyms broader terms
  • 3. Use Boolean operators to construct the search
  • 4. perform the search in the relevant reference

Search Relevance
  • How do you know that the search is relevant?
  • You may consider the following questions
  • Does the item give an overview of your topic?
  • Does the item cover one or some aspects of your
  • Does the item cover the situation in the
    country and place that you are covering?

Search Relevance
  • Internet Resources
  • Is Google search sufficient and relevant for your
    topic of interest and satisfy your information
  • Large amount of irrelevant material.
  • Search engines do not search in every part of the
    Internet, esp. into the contents of many of the
    online databases

Evaluating Sources
  • How good are the sources?
  • In evaluating your sources, you may wish to
    consider the following general criteria
  • Suitability (Does the source contain the
    information you need?)
  • Authority (What are the authors credentials?
    Is it done by the experts in that field?)
  • Accuracy (Are the information, data or methods
    reliable? Are you able to contact the author of
    the document to verify details, if necessary?)
  • Objectivity (How objective is it? Is it peer
    reviewed? Determine if the document is a mask for
    advertising. If it is, the information may be
  • Timeliness (Is the information up-to-date? What
    was the date of last revision?)

How do you cite references ? Book Chen, J.F.
1995. Nutritional immunology. Provo, Utah Bright
Ideas Press. Chapter in Book Williams, M.E.
1992. Molecular biology of cytoplasmic male
sterility. In Plant Breeding Reviews, ed. Janick,
J., pp. 23-53. New York Wiley. Journal
Article Shailaia, M.S. 2003. Evaluation of impact
of PAH on a tropical fish, Oreochromis
mossambicus using multiple biomarkers.
Chemosphere 53 835-841. Conference
paper Turner, S. and Somerville, C. 1995.
Analysis of vascular tissue differentiation. In
6th International Conference on Arabidopsis
Research. 93-95. Theses Ng Khee Yew. 1997.
Regulation of photosynthesis and phloem transport
in Oncidium Goldiana. (B.Sc. Hons.) School of
Biological Sciences, The National University of
Singapore. Pp. 126
  • Question
  • Do you think searching one reference database
    is sufficient for your research topic?

  • Answer
  • No.
  • Searching one database may not be sufficient.
    Conduct the search in a few other relevant
    databases to get a wider coverage and

Abstracts and Indexes
  • Biomedical Life Sciences
  • Reference Databases in E-Resources
  • Web of Science Science Citation Index
  • BIOSIS Previews
  • PubMed
  • Zoological Record
  • SciFinder Scholar

Web of Science
  • Multi-disciplinary databases to search for
    specific articles.
  • Covers about 8,700 high impact research journals
  • Unique by its citation search
  • Coverage begins from 1900. NUS Libraries
    subscribes from 1980 onwards
  • Updated weekly

BIOSIS Previews
  • The important reference database in Biological
    and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Coverage also includes traditional areas of
    biology, such as botany, zoology and
    microbiology, as well as related fields such as
    plant and animal science, agriculture,
    pharmacology and ecology
  • Interdisplinary fields such as biochemistry,
    biophysics, and bioengineering are also included.
  • From 1980 to the present
  • Updated weekly
  • Modules LSM4231 Structural Biology
  • LSM4232 Advanced Cell
  • LSM4241 Functional
  • LSM4251 Plant Growth and
  • LSM3253 Plant Physiology

Free site http//
  • A leading medical database produced by the
    National Library of Medicine
  • Covers fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry,
    the health care system and preclinical sciences
  • Modules LSM3212 Human Physiology
  • LSM4223 Medical
  • LSM3222 Human Genetics Infectious
  • LSM4224 Free Radicals and
    Antioxidant Biology
  • LSM4213 Neurobiology
  • LSM4243 Tumour Biology, etc

Zoological Record
  • Covers all aspects of zoology including behavior,
    biochemistry, development, ecology, evolution,
    feeding and nutrition, genetics, morphology,
    parasitology, reproduction, systematics,
    techniques, physiology and zoogeography
  • Available on the web from 1978 present
  • Modules LSM4262 Tropical Conservation Biology
  • LSM4252 Animal
    Development Reproduction
    LSM1103 Biodiversity

SciFinder Scholar
  • The world's largest and most up-to-date
    collection of chemical information, including
    biochemistry, organic chemistry, macromolecular
    chemistry, applied chemistry, chemical
    engineering, physical, inorganic, analytical
    chemistry, agricultural sciences and biomedical
  • Includes journal articles, patents, books,
    technical reports and conference papers
  • Updated daily and contains data starting from
  • Modules LSM3231 Protein Structure and Function
  • CM1121 Basic Organic Chemistry
  • LSM4233 Chemical Biology
  • LSM4242 Protein

NUS Libraries Portal

NUS Libraries Portal
Show you how to use the resources available in
the NUS Libraries
E-Resources Online Guide for Biological
This PowerPoint presentation is available

  • 1. Powerpoint notes
  • http//
  • 2. 2-pages guide Web of Science (Basic
    Advanced search)
  • 3. 2-pages guide BIOSIS Previews

Useful Writing Guides
  • Cite right a quick guide to citation styles
    MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and
    more Charles Lipson/ C. Lipson. university of
    Chicago, 2006. (PN171 Foo.Li 2006) (CL Books)
  • The concise handbook for technical writing / C.T.
    Brusaw, G.J. Alred, W.E. Oliu. St. Martins
    Griffin, 1996. (T11 Brs) (SC Reference 9)
  • A short guide to writing about biology / J. A.
    Pechenik. 5th ed. - Pearson Longman, 2004.
    (QH304 Pec 2004) (MD/SC books)
  • A student handbook for writing in biology / K.
    Knisely. W. H. Freeman, 2002. (QH304 Kni
    2002) (SC Reference 5)
  • A students guide to writing a scientific paper
    how to survive the laboratory research report.
    /by Alan A. Gubanich. 3rd ed. - Kendall/Hung
    Pub. Co., 1998. (T11 Gub) (SC Reference 9)
  • Successful scientific writing a step-by-step
    guide for the biological and medical sciences /J.
    R. Matthews. 2nd ed. - Cambridge University
    Press, 2000. (R119 Mat) (MD/SC Books)
  • The write right guide a NUS writing guide / C.
    Low D. Pan. - 5th ed. Singapore Centre for
    Development of Teaching and Learning, NUS, 2003.
    (PE1408 Low 2003) (SC Reference 9)
  • Writing and presenting research / Angela M.
    Thody. Sage Publications, 2006. (LB2369 Tho
    2006) (CL Books, HML Books)
  • Writing papers in the biological sciences / V.E.
    McMillan. 3rd ed. - Bedford/St. Martins, 2001.
    (QH304 Mcm) (MD/SC Books)

Need help ?
  • Come to the Information Desk
  • Tel 6516-2454
  • Hew Yik Suan (Mrs)
  • Tel 6516-2548

Thank you
Please complete the feedback form
  • All the best in your research !