Chapter 3: Search techniques

3.5 Item records

Once you’ve done a search, the finding tool will generate a list of brief item records. Item records are descriptions of individual books, journal articles, and other materials. Important parts of an item record include things like article title, author, and the source name (e.g. journal title). Each of these parts is a field. Some article indexes label each field; others don’t, assuming that you can infer what each part represents.

Typically, subject focused indexes display short versions of item records in search results lists, as in the example below. Important parts of the item description are included, but most fields are not labeled in this short version.


Item record in a database
Figure 3.9 Short item record showing a few fields, but not the full item description

Clicking on the title generally brings up a detailed version of the record with a lot more information, including additional fields, labels for most of the fields, and often an abstract or link to the full text.

Longer form of article record
Figure 3.10 Item record with more information about the article


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Library 160: Introduction to College-Level Research by Iowa State University Library Instruction Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.