Magazine article Online

InfoTrac OneFile

Magazine article Online

InfoTrac OneFile

Article excerpt

I am working on a new Super Searchers book, on international business research. When I asked my interviewees what they found most challenging about global research, several mentioned the frustration of having to look in so many places for information. "Why can't we have all those databases consolidated into a single source?" they asked.

Well, we're not there yet, but Gale Group (http://www.galegroup.com; galeord@galegroup.com) has taken a big step in that direction with its InfoTrac OneFile. In one database, you can search 6,000 sources, with archives going back 20 years. It's a combination of newspapers, newswires, general interest magazines, law review journals, academic journals, and business and industry periodicals. Of course, a lot of the earlier material and a fair amount of the academic literature are not available in full text, but it still gives you access to a wide variety of sources in a single search engine. Given the number of sources that Gale has in its databases, we're doing well to get even a good subset of that collection. And keep in mind that access to OneFile is on the enterprise level--you buy access by the number of simultaneous users or, if you're a big spender, for enterprise-wide access. Pricing starts at $8,000 for two simultaneous users.

Curiously, the default search screen is the "Subject Search Guide," essentially a thesaurus that links you to the articles indexed under that subject heading. You're probably better off starting at the Relevance Search, which lets you search title, citation, and abstract--or fill text--and sorts the results by relevance. Alternatively, you can select Keyword Search, which gives you the same search options and sorts the results by date. All search options support date restrictions and search by specific publication titles.

One thing I miss in OneFile is the ability to search by clumps of publications--all the law journals, for example, or just newspapers. You can select up to ten individual sources, but that doesn't replace the ability to search by broad category.

You can limit your search to full-text articles and to refereed journals--the latter is a particularly nice feature if you want to focus in on a few good, authoritative articles. …

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