Database Searching

subject to change: 2003–03–23

This document is available in PDF format for US letter size paper and for A4 size paper. Do not print out this web page, you will get an incomplete document.

Course Description

This course will introduce the students to the theory of information retrieval and its application in large-scale commercial database system.

Web searching will not be covered at all. Upon student demand, there will be an introduction to relational databases.

Course objectives

On completing this course, students


Students should have a basic command of the MS Windows operating system because the machines in the lab run on this operating system.


Thomas Krichel
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548–1300
work phone: +1–(516)299–2843 private phone: +1–(718)507–1117

Class structure

Classes will be held on Wednesday afternoon between 14:40 and 16:30 at the computer lab of the Palmer School.

There will be a mixture of lectures and hands-on work in the lab. Provisional class details are:

0 2003–01–22 Introduction
1 2003–01–29 Information Retrieval 1
2 2003–02–05 Information Retrieval 2
3 2003–02–12 Information Retrieval 3
4 2003–02–19 DIALOG 1
5 2003–02–26 DIALOG 2
6 2003–03–05 DIALOG 3
7 2003–03–19 Charles' special lecture
8 2003–03–26 DIALOG 4
9 2003–04–02 Nexis
10 2003–04–09 Google 1
11 2003–04–23 Google 2
12 2003–04–30 citation searching


The powerpoint slides of the intructor are the reading. The slides may point to other sources of reference as required. Database practice makes for a master searcher, only reading about them is not getting students very far. The session on Google will make use of a new book on Google hacks published by O'Reilley and Associates.

Some slides on teaching Dialog have been given to the instructor, mail him if you want a copy.

Some reference questions to work on are available.


Each student will have to prepare a search exercise and report as detailed in the first lecture. This report must not exceed 5 pages. Appendices will be discarded. It will count for 50% of total grade. It is due on April 9. The remaining 50% will come from quizzes held at the start of each lecture except the first and second lecture. Quizzes will last around 10 minutes and focussed on a precise short answer. The two worst quiz performances will be discarded when the average is being computed.

Valid XHTML 1.0!