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How to Conduct Interdisciplinary Analysis Using FirstSearch


See also call numbers identified with, or mapped to, interdisciplinary subjects.

Below are three types of searches that can be useful for finding statistics on resources within interdisciplinary studies using the FirstSearch interface.  As with all analyses, (1) be sure to examine a sample of the retrieved titles, to be certain that the results represent what you wish to analyze; and (2) be aware of and informed about what is present and what is absent in WorldCat (e.g., are most of UIUC's holdings in Russian in the database?).

To compare the results of interdisciplinary analysis to other libraries' holdings in WorldCat, see the link to WorldCat Comparative Analysis, under Peer Comparisons, in the NUL Data Bank.

Whether you use WorldCat or search Voyager records, the Advanced Search (see II. below) can be a very useful tool for identifying relevant subject headings for your search.

I.WorldCat Hot Topics

"Select a topic to search" from the pull-down list of "Hot Topics," pre-defined searches provided by OCLC, which are often related to interdisciplinary subjects—e.g.,  global warming.  With the return of the results, you will see how the search was constructed—su="global warming" and yr: 2004- not mt: fic.  You cannot limit the "Hot Topics" to the holdings of particular libraries, or in any other way; its usefulness is as a quick method of obtaining the structure of an interdisciplinary search.

II.  By Subject Heading using Advanced Search
Begin by finding the best subject headings for your area:

1. Go to: Advanced Search
2. On the left-hand side of the grey box, chose: Subject
3. Type in Word or Concept such as: gender (for gender studies)
communication (for communication studies)
cognitive science
4. For details of the type of works to expect variations on subject headings, click: Expand

Then use indexes to frame the search:

1. Go to: Advanced Search
2. Use the limits: e.g., Year, Language, Material types
3. Specify Subtypes: e.g., not juvenile and not fiction
4. Limit Availability To:for Main, check "Items in My Library"
for other libraries, check "Items in…" and see the pull down menu
for Trans, enter the OCLC code


III.  By Subject Heading using Expert Search
In the "Expert" mode you can search multiple languages at one time.  Notice, too, that the "Indexed in:" drop-down menu features more index label limiters in the "Expert" search screen than in the Advanced screen.  Finally, the "Expert" search allows those who are familiar with searching via index labels to use that method.   (For those who need reminding, each descriptor in the drop-down features an index label in parentheses immediately following the term.)

Begin by finding the best subject headings for your area (see above).  If this is not possible—e.g., you want cultural and political studies within a geographical region—choose Expert Search.  The pull-down menu at "Indexed in" provides index codes.  The following is a search for holdings in 2 Yale libraries on Middle East Studies materials, defined as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish language works in particular subject areas:

(su:politic* or su:government* or su:anthro* or su:history) and (la="ara" or la="per" or la="tur")

Type: books, visual materials, sound recordings
Subtype: not fiction
Library code: gxk or yus

You can also find a listing of the Index Labels on OCLC's website.