The Magic of Indexing

Another reason why keywords work better than long phrases or sentences is because, in the case of databases, each item is indexed. Each record has different parts that you can search for individually These parts are called fields.

When you search by a field, the computer will "look" only in that field when it looks through all the records in the database. It will try to match your search term.

For example, an Author Search looks only in the author field which means if you are looking for books by Mark Twain, NOT about Mark Twain, this is the search for you. Title, subject or date searches work the same way because they are looking for your term in a specific field.

When you search by field you are searching more specifically than when you use a Keyword Search because a keyword search looks for your term anywhere. It is the broadest search.


Don't forget that you have this wide variety of searches at your disposal to assist you in finding the best information on your topic. We will discuss this in more depth in Module 3: Searching.