Organize Bibliographical Information From On-line Databases
By Phil Schnyder and Lynn Fauss
Researchers and librarians often need to search on-line databases and to gather bibliographic information. The BookWhere z39.50 search client is the perfect software companion for these groups.
Librarians are often searching for correct bibliographic information on recent acquisitions - and BookWhere is very handy in this process - letting you search the Library of Congress quickly, and allowing you to download call numbers along with other bibliographic information into your own system.
For graduate students and research writers, one of the most time-consuming (and important) phases of the research process is the first one: building a list of potential source works. BookWhere is a package that streamlines this process, saving you literally hours of valuable time by letting you search hundreds of library systems for books and other materials relevant to your research project - and download them directly into a personal database.
Once the bibliographic information is in your own database, you can use the list to organize the next few phases of the research process: securing full text versions of the sources, taking notes, and writing references for papers. Once you've had a chance to work with the BookWhere/Citation or BookWhere/askSam combination of tools - you'll have a good idea just how much time and energy you can save.
This article describes how you can search hundreds of public databases for bibliographic
information, download the results to your computer, and organize this information using askSam or Citation.
Searching On-Line Bibliographic Databases with BookWhere
BookWhere is a Z39.50 Internet search and retrieval client software that gives you access to bibliographic and full text data from libraries and other online databases via the Internet. To run the program, you need a connection to the Internet, and, preferably, a database program like askSam or Citation in which to store the search results.
Here's how BookWhere works:
First, you'll select the databases you wish to search (BookWhere gives you access to thousands of different databases). The Library of Congress is usually a good place to start, since every work published (theoretically, at least) is entered into the cataloguing system at the Library of Congress. Once you've got the titles of the works to include in your research project, you might want to search your local library to see if you can get your hands on a copy of the book.
Selecting a database to search is easy - just choose it from the list:
Once you've selected the database to search, enter your search request.
In this example, we're searching for all the library's holdings by a specific author - John Irving - but you can search by Title, Subject Heading - or any of the fields in the library's database:
When you click Search, BookWhere connects to the database in the library you've chosen, and finds all the books that match your search request. In this case, we've now got a list of all the works in the library by John Irving:
Highlight any of the records listed in the search results pane to see bibliographic details about the work (often, the details include an abstract, which makes it easier to determine which of the works are going to be useful to your research).
You can choose which of these works in the search results list are relevant to your research and discard the others. To select several works for downloading to your research database (in askSam or Citation), hold the Ctrl key down, as you click on the listings. You can highlight as many of the records as you like. - or, if you prefer, you can highlight them all. Here we'll highlight just three:
Once you have the works you are interested in highlighted, right click to display the submenu for the Search Results pane, and choose File - Export.
This selection lets you export records from BookWhere into various formats.
Use the instructions below for exporting the records to Citation or askSam.
Organizing the Information Via Citation
Citation is a great way to organize your research materials - starting with a reading list you can build using BookWhere.
To export the search results to Citation:
Close your Citation data file (this is important!)
Highlight the records in the search results you want to add to your Citation data file.
Right click, and choose File, Export.
In the Export Records folder, navigate to find your Citation data file,
and check the box to Append Records:
When you open your Citation data file, the records from your BookWhere search will be added!
Exporting search results to askSam
Highlight the records in the search results you want to export to askSam.
Right click, and choose File, Export.
In the Export Records folder, choose the Citation 7/8 format.
Give the file a name with a *.txt extension.
BookWhere will save your search results in the text file. The next step is to import these records into askSam.
Organizing the Information Via askSam
askSam is a great way to organize your bibliographical information along with other information you gather in your research. askSam has powerful import and search capabilities that make it easy to bring in data from a variety of formats.
To simplify getting information from BookWhere into askSam, we've created an askSam template and a TextPipe filter to convert the BookWhere data (saved in Citation 7/8 format) into askSam. Both the askSam template and TextPipe filter are free downloads from our Web site (links below), but you'll need to have copies of askSam and TextPipe for askSam in order to use them.
Note: In order for the following procedure to work properly, the askSam template will need to be placed in the askSam Templates directory, and the TextPipe Filter will need to be saved in the TextPipe directory.
To get your BookWhere information into askSam:
1. Create a new askSam file using the BookWhere Template.
2. Choose FILE - IMPORT.
3. Set the FILES OF TYPE field to "Text (*.txt)"
4. Choose the DOCUMENT DELIMITER option and set the delimiter to the pipe symbol "|". Check the REMOVE STRING option and choose the OK button.
5. In the USE FILTER field, select the BOOKWHERE - CITATION filter.
Note: The USE FILTER field will only appear if you have TextPipe installed on your computer.
6. Select the file you wish to import and choose the IMPORT button.
The information you downloaded from BookWhere is imported into askSam. You can now search, enter notes, run reports, and browse through the data.
Buy BookWhere and askSam or Citation at the link below, for a very special price until April 7, 2003 only.
More information on Citation
More information on BookWhere
Demos for Citation and BookWhere
Download askSam BookWhere Template
Download TextPipe Filter for BookWhere/Citation Format
TextPipe - version integrated with askSam