Perhaps you have had the experience, like I have, of a university librarian demonstrating to your class how to use the search engines of various academic databases. Then you would know that a search engine can be quite nuanced, often with an ‘Advanced Search’ feature hidden away at the top corner of the homepage, reserved only for those who are “trained” by their university librarian to know to look for it, let alone use it!
The ScienceOpen Search Engine Upgrade
On the ScienceOpen platform, the search engine that powers our discovery database is unique in that it is front and center on each new search—without any barricades, inviting all users to tinker with and explore content with it. Excitingly, the ScienceOpen technical team has recently upgraded the search functionalities on the site to be even more advanced and user-friendly!
This upgrade has some really useful features, and I would like to guide you through the new search options in this post. So, sit back and enjoy this demonstration of the new functions with an example I have chosen on the topic, penguins and climate change.
A guide through the new advanced search functions:
In the content search bar, I have begun my search on my topic of penguins and climate change by simply typing in the keywords, “penguins climate change.” As you probably expect, this search is very broad when you are just searching the entire database of over 70 million records by relevance of any of those three words.
This search came up with nearly three million results! However, with the new advanced search functionalities, we can refine our search by changing the command (far right in the search bar) among ‘Match any words’, ‘Phrase search’, and ‘Use operators’.
The option to ‘Match any words’ results in a search for any of the given words, with the hit with most of the words being the most relevant. This type of search should always be used by sorting the results by relevance. The ‘Phrase search’ results in records that have the whole phrase you entered in the search bar. And the ‘Use operators’ option enables you to use AND, OR, or NOT operators to refine your search. Additionally, in the ‘Use operators’ option, you can use double quotation marks to group words into a specific expression that you want to find.
In this example, I chose ‘Use operators’ and changed my search to be more specific by searching for the word “penguins” and then also for the phrase “climate change.” This gave me results with both expressions, and then I decided to sort my results by date so that I could see the most recent records first. This narrowed my search down to 155 from previously 2,753,966 results.
To even further refine my search, I chose to add several filters onto this search result. To add filters, you simply click on the ‘Add filter’ button and you can add as many filters as you please.
With the recent upgrade, users can now choose whether they want the filter they apply to show the “true” or “false” records. This is made clearer if you take my example below:
For my search on penguins and climate change, I wanted my results to show publications from the date range January 2018 to April 26, 2021. Therefore, I clicked the “is” option in the filter command bar. However, for the filter “Journal name,” I wanted to exclude any results from the Journal “Viruses,” so I chose “is NOT,” rather than “is,” in that filter.
Finally, I added other filters to show only open access, article-type records that have been validated. This narrowed my search from 155 to 25. I kept the results sorted by date, however, I could have chosen to order them by view count, number of citations, Altmetric Score, or even further options. This is where I stopped my refinement because I was happy with the quality and types of records that I saw while browsing through.
If I was so inclined, I could save this search on penguins and climate change research by two easy steps:
1. I need to be logged in to my ScienceOpen account
2. And then I just hit the “Save search” button.
To go back to this search all I would need is to go to the “My ScienceOpen” toggle-down menu and click on “Saved searches.”
Share Your Search
Finally, if I wanted to share my search to my Twitter account so that my followers could also explore recent research on penguins and climate change, all I would have to do is click on the “Share search” button and then click on “Twitter.” This would automatically generate a tweet with the search result in a new window! It’s really that simple.
Hopefully, this demonstration helped you get familiar with ScienceOpen’s new search functionalities and other features. I found that our technical team presented the new functionalities in a very intuitive and easy-to-use format, and I hope you have a similar experience! I can really recommend playing around with the new features yourself and if you have any questions regarding the upgrade, don’t hesitate to reach out to me through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.