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Illustrata: Natural Sciences

 
 
Illustrata: Natural Sciences is the first in a series of Illustrata databases of searchable tables, figures, graphs, charts and other illustrations from the scholarly research and technical literature.

CSA employs what it calls “deep indexing” to categorize data, variables and other content represented in tables, maps, photographs and other figures. Usually, indexing of research articles is done at a rather high, general level where only the key concepts of the work are represented by a dozen or so index terms, but by going deeper and specifically indexing the content associated with all the individual tables and figures, Illustrata enables the researcher to find information that otherwise would not be retrievable in traditional, article-level indexing systems. Search results – the objects – can be viewed in full, in either (thumbnail or enhanced format) along with the caption, author and source information and additional index terms that can be used for further searching. A link back to the parent record provides a summary view of all the objects associated with that paper. In most instances, the parent abstract is displayed and context is further preserved by links to the full-text documents when available. Thus the researcher can find relevant data faster and, because of the visual impact of the results, can quickly determine whether or not to spend time reading the source documents. The visualization of data and the interdisciplinary nature of Illustrata: Natural Sciences can also lead to unexpected discoveries or connections between seemingly disparate pieces of work.

These claims were borne out by empirical evidence during the development of Illustrata when researchers were given access to a prototype and asked to comment on what they perceived as the potential uses and benefits of the system; such uses included:
  • gaining faster and more precise understanding of the work reported in articles by direct examination of the tables and figures
  • improving the efficiency of searching by providing more precise and smaller results sets
  • finding suitable illustrations that could be downloaded directly into presentation software for teaching/lectures/presentations
  • locating and retrieving data in particular formats or particular object types
  • making comparisons between their work and the work of others
  • assistance with writing of review papers, meta-analyses, proposals, and for generating hypotheses
  • supporting the transformation of practice and supporting the learning of new skills and methods, including how to effectively present results in tables, figures and graphs
  • use of objects by librarians to directly answer reference questions
Subject Coverage
Illustrata: Natural Sciences is interdisciplinary, covering a wide variety of journals from all major areas such as:
  • Biology
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Medical Sciences
  • Agriculture
  • Fish and Fisheries
  • Education
  • Geography
  • Veterinary Science
  • Food and Food Industries
  • Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • Meteorology
  • Public Health and Safety
  • Water Resources
  • Conservation
  • Forests and Forestry
Dates of Coverage
The majority of objects date from literature published from 2000 forward, however there are growing number of objects from publications older than 2000. This number will continue to grow as older content will be added along with current material.
Size
13,869,028 tables & figures from 1,980,570 published works drawn from 3460 journals are monitored for this database (May 2013)
Browsable Indexes
A browsable index is an alphabetical listing of terms used in a specific field of a database. You can browse this list to see, for example, how authors' names are spelled and therefore how they are indexed, or what categories are used to classify each object in Illustrata. Browsable Indexes are available for the following fields:
    Author
    Journal Name
    Category
    Object Descriptors
This last index, the Objects Descriptors Index, may be particularly useful because it is an alphabetical list of all the terms from each of the more specific fields:
    Object Geographic Terms, Q7=
    Object Statistical Terms, Q8=
    Object Subject Terms, Q5=
    Object Taxonomic Terms, Q6=
To access these browsable indexes, first click the purple Search Tools tab above the search form or the results display, then click the Indexes tab.
Field Codes
The following field codes are found in the records of this database. Here they are listed in alphabetical order by field name followed by their two-character code.

Abstract, AB= Journal Name, JN=
Accession Number, AN= Keywords, KW=
Affiliation, AF= Object Descriptors, OD=
(All Article) Descriptors, DE= Object DOI, OI=
All Descriptors, DX= Object Geographic Terms, Q7=
Article DOI, DO= Object Statistical Terms, Q8=
Article Geographic Terms, Q3= Object Subject Terms, Q5=
Article Subject Terms, Q1= Object Taxonomic Terms, Q6=
Article Taxonomic Terms, Q2= Publication Year, PY=
Author, AU= Publisher, PB=
Caption, C1= Source, SO=
Category, M1= Subfile, SF=
Geographic Terms, TG= Taxonomic Terms, TX=
ISSN, IS= Title, TI=
Sample Records