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Margaret Smith Library, SAIAB: Explore Resources

The library at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity contributes to research and teaching in the aquatic sciences through heritage collections and a global web of data. Resources and services are shared with Rhodes University Library

What is the OPAC?

Using the online catalogue (OPAC)
Search for books, journal titles, DVDs and other resources using the The Rhodes University Library OPAC.
  • In general, you use the OPAC to find books, films, or other whole publications on a topic that the library owns, in print or online.

  • It gives general information about the material: author, title, location, subject .

  • There may be a table of contents (but not always) to tell you which chapters or articles have been published inside. 

  • What you are looking for is not at RU Library? If you View Entire Collection on the drop-down menu you can see whether the item is at NMMU, WSU or UFH libraries. If you are Rhodes University staff or postgraduate student you may be able to the item on Inter-Library Loan.

Keyword or Subject Heading?

  • Keywords are significant words from a document used as an index to the content.
  • Subjects are the main focus of a work. Subject headings are assigned from standards created by cataloguers.
  • Searching the OPAC Subject Heading field and you don't find anything?  Unless you know the word you are looking for is definitely a catalogued subject heading, your seach could be unsuccessful.
  • I would start with a keyword search to find relevant resources.

  • You can then use the subject headings of that resource to find other relevant reources in the library.

Try it for your yourself by linking to the three subject headings for this book.

Sparidae : biology and aquaculture of gilthead sea bream and other species

What is a database?

Using a database

A library database provides specific infomation about what is inside journals or books.

In general, you use a database to find what has been published on a topic and parts of publications

  • articles
  • essays
  • chapters of books
  • conference papers
  • material that is difficult to obtain/unpublished (e.g.: theses)

Example of a catalogue record for a database

Why use a database to search for articles when you can simply “Google” something? Here's why! 

  • Searchable collections include abstracts (short summaries) and citations (references) to articles in journals and newspapers; also include other publications like conference papers and chapters in books

  • Verified academic sources indexed to retrieve the most relevant results by subject or type of publication.

  • No irrelevant information like advertisements.

  • Links to older material Many sources such as journal back issues in print are not available on the open Internet; use the darabses to link to older RU Library subscriptions.

  • Search simulataneously across many years and many publications instead of browsing through individual publications year by year (imagine going through every issue of a journal).

  •  Links to full-text articles from many database records.

How to find articles in a database and what to do if you can't!

Basic Search Techniques

Words may be right-hand truncated using an asterisk ('*') in place of other characters.
The '*' wildcard may also be embedded in a search string.

You may use '?' to replace a single character anywhere within a word.

environment* polic*, wom?n

Boolean Operators
Use "and" or "or" to specify multiple words in any field, any order. Use "not" to exclude words.

fisheries and hake
(alaska or canada) and (adventure not vacation)

Get the best of Google Scholar

Why use the RU Library Google Scholar link when you can simply "Google" something? Here's why!

  • Searching for information via Rhodes University Library lets you access Rhodes Library subscribed journals 

  • View the full text of the articles to these subscribed journals

  • Google Scholar is also a quick way to review the literature and find scholarly/academic research information

 Google Scholar link