9/12; Searching for references using the ASU Libraries and GEOREF

If you are doing geologic research, how can you find out what research has been done before on a subject or by a certain scientist?

ASU Libraries

You can search the ASU Libraries for books and journals.
let's try it. Go to the ASU Libraries web page (http://www.lib.asu.edu/), see what is there, and then go to the Catalog link (http://catalog.lib.asu.edu/).
Try to find some books on computers and geology.
Note the different ways of viewing your search, emailing it to yourself, and browsing related subjects.


One thing that you will see is that you can only search for books that the ASU libraries have when using their main catalog database. how do you find out about more references, especially journal articles, theses, maps, etc. that might relate to your questions?
The American Geological Institute, a professional organization for geologists, has developed and maintains a database of geologically related references. That database is called GEOREF. It is the most comprehensive database in the geosciences. You should have a look at their web pages and see the description of georef.
The University has its GEOREF delivered on CD-ROM. The CDs are in a CD jukebox somewhere in the library. You can search these CDs at one of the Library terminals by clicking on the Silver Platter icon.
The Silver Platter software provides an interface and network tools to search CD databases.
We are fortunate to have this software loaded on the Win95 side of our GICF computers. Here is how to access GEOREF from them:

Accessing Georef via WinSPIRS

1) Use the Command-return key sequence to go to the Win95 side of the lab computers.
2) At the Start menu, go to Programs, choose the WinSPIRS folder, and then choose WinSpirs.
3) The way we have it set up now, you will have a couple of error messages. Click ok on the first that says something about the EC_Expired, and then click Cancel when you are asked for a username and password.
4) You will get to a dialogue box that asks you to choose databases. Those on the left represent the CDs that you can choose from. Scroll down to the GEOREF discs. You should see 5: the Georef serials, and Georef discs 1-4. Holding the shift button, click on each to highlight. Then click the >>add>> button so that you will see those five databases on the right as databases to use. Then push ok.
5) Now you are ready to search. You may see an About Georef screen. Click OK.

Searching with Georef

The main way to search is to type words in the search box and see what happens.
You have three main fields in the screen. The uppermost is for search term entry, the middle field shows the searches that you have done (so you can go back to one that you did previously), and the lower field shows the results of the search that you have selected.

For example, type earthquakes. You will get about 69000 hits. We need to limit that a bit, don't you think? You can limit it in a couple of ways. The first is to make your search string more specific. Now try arizona earthquakes. You will see it search first for earthquakes, then for arizona, and then it does an intersection to see which results have both. I found 4. Note that the matching words are colored red and you can see the information about the reference that includes the authors, the date of publication, the source, etc.

Another way to limit the search is to use the limit tool on the eadge of the upper field in the screen. Select the earthquakes search that we did at the beginning. Click on limit. You can perform some simple logical functions on the fields of the search. Say we were looking at the early research on earthquakes and we wanted to look at pre1900 publications. On the left, click on publication year, and in the middle click on less than, and on the right scroll down to 1900. Notice in the lower left, it is writing our the logic operation that it will apply to the search: Number 1 and PY less than "1900". Then push enter. It will apply that limit to the search, and you come back with about 224 publications on earthquakes before 1900.

Searching for publications by certain authors

Note that you can search for authors. Type in their names, and if you need to limit the search to include their first name, do so by separating the name elements by dashes: peacock-simon-m.

Marking records

Once you have narrowed the search sufficiently, have a look at the records. Those that interest you can be marked by clicking the cursor on the little book on the left side of the record. Your cursor will turn into a pencil. Click the book and a magenta line will appear next to the marked record.


Once you have marked the records, you can click on print (along the upper row of buttons at the top of the screen), and you will look at a dialogue box that will let you specify features of your print job. If you leave the radio button clicked for printing marked records, it will do so. You could also print the entire search (but don't waste lots of paper!).

Downloading the results to the computer as a text file

Once you have marked the records, you can click on download (along the upper row of buttons at the top of the screen), and you will look at a dialogue box that will let you control the download of your data. Choose a suitable location and file name. Note that under the options you can change certain parameters of the downloading. You may be prettyhappy with the default, so I would not change anything unless you want to. The file that you download is an ascii text file that you can view in Microsoft Word or even Simpletext (Macintosh) or the Notepad (Win95).

Assignment 4

Pages maintained by
Prof. Ramón Arrowsmith

Pages last modified on Thurs Sept 11 1997.