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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 7
UNDERSTANDING RESULTS & RECORDS
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image of a list   Successful Database Searches will yield a list of items that match the search criteria.

From the search results list, researchers can access an item's record to get more information (usually by clicking on a hyperlinked title).

Also, some databases provide full text versions of articles in html or PDF formats, which can be accessed from links in the results list or the item's record. Many databases, however, do not offer full text articles. Instead they give citations (bibliographic information) and usually abstracts (brief summaries). All this information is indicated in either the results list or an item's record.

Therefore, knowing how to interpret various parts of a database results list and an item's record is an important part of conducting research.


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PARTS OF A DATABASE RESULTS LIST AND RECORD
An example list of search results is shown below with labels on the different elements:


labeled image of a results list
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Additional information about an item can be obtained by clicking hyperlinks in the results list. For example, clicking on article titles or links labeled "summary plus," "abstract," or something similar will open an item's full record, which will offer information comparable to that shown in the following example:

labeled image of an item record

Hyperlinks in a results list or item record can be activated to access more information or initiate another search. In the example above, for example, clicking on the periodical title will initiate a search for all items in that periodical, and clicking on a hyperlinked subject term will initiate a search using that term.

Items available in full text format will provide links to the full text in the item's record and usually on the results list. The following sections show typical links to full text articles as they appear in search results lists. Also, images of a partial page from each online article illustrates ways that HTML and PDF articles differ.


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HTML FULL TEXT ITEM
image of html link in results list
HTML files load quickly and often include hyperlinks. However, they seldom include page numbers and frequently omit images and graphics
image of an html article

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PDF FULL TEXT ITEM
image of pdf link in results list
PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader and load more slowly than HTML pages. However, PDF files are scans of pages; therefore, they include images and graphics and replicate an article's appearance in the periodical.
image of a pdf article

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Updated 8/2004