Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Girls? The Roots? Finding Articles About Bands

DWNTWN, GHXST and SBTRKT are part of a minor trend of artists using intentional misspellings to make their names more Googleable. But what do you do when you want to find information about a band with a less distinct name? Keyword search alone won't cut it.

In our catalog, you can switch the search type from "keyword" to "author" to find materials by a group or "subject" to find things about them. You'll also notice in our catalog that we use clarifying phrases to make names more distinct, like "Roots (Musical Group)."

A similar idea applies when looking for articles in in our subscription databases about bands, but you do it in a slightly different way depending on the database. Even more specific than just searching by subject rather than keyword, different databases classify band names as people or companies/organizations.

If you're not sure how, try a basic search in a database, then look for suggestions on the side of the results page on how to narrow down.

Here are some examples.

In the International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text, a basic search for Roots returns more than 30,000 results. But by expanding the Company/Organization options under "Narrow results by," you'll find Roots at the top of the list, with a tidy 139 results. You can further limit by document type, for example, to suit your research needs.

The Music Index and other EBSCOHost databases consider bands to be people. Searching "Girls" as a keyword (the default option, "Select a Field (optional)) in the Music Index brings back more than 8,000 hits. Switch the switch drop-down box to People, and you'll knock it down to less than 10% of the original search.

Look in the left column of the results page for "Subject" to see the top hits, then click "Show More" to see all the options. Then you can select "girls (performer)" to single out that band from the Indigo Girls, Spice Girls and every other band with "Girls" in their name.

You may not always need to be so precise in your search limits, but it helps to know these tools are available when you get an overwhelming number of search results.

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