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Zoological Record Plus (ZR Plus) Search Tips

 
 
These tips should be used in conjunction with the generic system help provided for CSA Illumina, where terminology associated with the search system is explained.

When carrying out a search in ZR Plus, you can search quickly for a term using the Quick Search. For more experienced users or more complex searches, we would recommend the Advanced Search.

  • First check each of your search topics in the ZR Plus thesaurus. If your term is not listed, also check for synonyms or spelling variants of your term.
  • If you locate a suitable term, also review the broader, narrower, and related terms to ensure you have selected the most appropriate term.
  • Decide whether to explode the term in your search. (see also explanation of ZR Plus Thesaurus)
  • Carry out the search.
  • When you have conducted searches for all your topics, you can review the search history and combine appropriate searches to obtain your final result. Review the results and modify if necessary.
If you cannot locate a term in the ZR Plus thesaurus, you can still search your topic by using the Quick or Advanced Search forms. The Descriptors (DE=) or Keywords (KW=) fields are recommended for searching non controlled terms.
Descriptors (DE=)
Sample search 1

Search for the diet of common barn owls.

  1. Carry out a title search in ZR Plus for "common barn owl", review the records and locate the scientific name in the Title or Systematics field display.
    Alternatively, use the "Taxonomic Names" thesaurus to locate the scientific name for barn owls by searching "owl" in the rotated index. The common barn owl is listed as Tyto alba.

    Search: DE=(Tyto alba)

  2. Locate "diet" in the ZR Plus thesaurus and review the scope notes. As all narrower terms also deal with diet, choose to explode the search for diet to automatically include all narrower terms. (see also explanation of ZR Plus Thesaurus)

    Search: explode diet

  3. Review search history and combine the searches using the AND operator to ensure both elements are included in the records retrieved.

Sample search 2

Using the thesaurus to search for items describing new species of mammals.

  1. Locate 'new species' in the ZR Plus thesaurus. To do this, click on the purple Search Tools tab, then on the tab labeled Thesaurus. In the first drop-down list called Select Thesaurus, select Controlled ZR Plus Terms (English). In the query box beside Browse Thesaurus for: enter the words "new species". For Select Display, click the radio button beside the word Alphabetical. Click Go.
    The page will display an alphabetical list of terms with 'New species' near the middle. Click on the New species hyperlink to display related terms.
    Here you will see that the term 'new species' was used until 1991 and then the related term 'sp nov' was used instead. Both terms should therefore be searched. Click in the boxes beside New Species and Sp nov.
    In the left panel, make sure the OR option is selected and then click the Search button. This performs a search of all the major index terms (Descriptors, Systematics, and Supertaxa) in the database, thus:

    DE=((sp nov) or (new species))

  2. The next step is to locate the scientific terms for mammals (Mammalia) in the ZR Plus Terms thesaurus. Start with the same steps used to find 'new species', that is, click on the purple Search Tools tab, then on the tab labeled Thesaurus. In the first drop-down list called Select Thesaurus, select Controlled ZR Plus Terms (English). In the query box beside Browse Thesaurus for: enter the word "mammalia." For Select Display, click the radio button beside the word Hierarchy. Click Go. The page will display the beginning of the large taxonomic hierarchy belonging to Mammalia. It is not necessary to click on all these narrower terms; to search all of them merely check the box beside the term Mammalia, then go to the left panel, select the radio button labeled Explode. Click Search. The Explode function automatically ORs together all the terms that belong under that hierarchy and performs a search of the Descriptors, Systematics and Supertaxa fields in the database. For the term 'mammalia' this is a very large search generating a lot of records.

  3. The two concepts now need to be combined. Go to Search History and enter the search numbers in the Combine Searches query box using AND between them, for example:
    #1 and #2
    The results will be records that contain any mammalian names and the phrase 'sp nov' or 'new species'. If you retrieve too many irrelevant records (for example, if the new species are non-mammalian, such as parasites of mammals, yet mammals are also discussed in the same article) you can reduce the irrelevancy by using the more specific fields Systematics and Supertaxa, thus:
    sy=(sp nov or new species) and sx=(mammalia)

  4. In ZR Plus, a Keywords (KW=) search includes the following fields:
    Title
    Abstract
    Descriptors
    Supertaxa
    Systematics

    In ZR Plus, a Descriptors (DE=) search or a search initiated in the ZR Plus Terms thesaurus, includes the following fields:
    Descriptors
    Supertaxa
    Systematics

    If a search is specified in Supertaxa (SX=) or in Systematics (SY=) only that field is searched.

    More information on searching is available from the Thomson Scientific website (www.thomson.com/scientific)

    You may also contact Thomson directly:

      Thomson Zoological Ltd
      York Science Park (Innovation Centre),
      Heslington, York YO10 5DG,
      United Kingdom
      Tel: +44 (0)1904 435113
      Fax: +44 (0)1904 435114
      Email: ts.info.na@thomson.com