The perception of the
data flows through the information methodology
The individual retrieval and exploitation
of information generate themselves information. The coherence
of that cycle is made possible through the information methodology,
the main aspects of which will be hereafter described.
- to formulate a subject: the semantic structure of the representation of
a subject in free or controlled language (thesauri, indexes)
implies the retrieval of the synonyms and the exclusion of all
equivocal context which would result in non- pertinent records.
Information systems effectively work on strings of characters
and a searcher should know how to formulate his question rationally.
- to define the appropriate documentary
typology: books, articles, proceedings,
administrative documents, pictures (moving or not), sounds, museological
pieces etc.. Every medium or group of thematically combined media
will generally correspond to specific data bases. Specialized
directories or Web hyperlinks oriented towards the pertinent
topics will help in defining the targetted data bases.
- to select the data bases:
a) according to the interface:
line" classical bibliographical data bases, mostly charged
per minute or per record (examples in the Social Sciences, Arts
& Humanities Search, MLA, Psycinfo, Francis). Since the end
of the 80's, these bases are frequently available on CD-Rom,
exportable in ASCII standard format. These CD-Rom can be consulted
in most of the big libraries and are sometimes available through
preprint data bases allowing the anticipated consultation (even
the assessment) of a scientific document, generally on the Web.
Web sites, i.e. those the contents of which do not globally belong
to any of the categories mentioned above.
The meta-engines generate simultaneous searches on several
engines. Some meta-engines transcribe the search syntax used
by each engine: that helps checking whether the juxtaposition
of the terms in the search has been interpreted by the engine
as an alternative or as a combination (cf. infra §
b) according to the administrative supervision:
academic (universities etc.), state or other official organizations
or communities (archives...), associative or private (foundations...)
- to conceive a search strategy: the logics of combination (boolean operators AND,
OR, NOT, XNOT) and the field labels or tags (AUthors,
TItles, DEscriptors, PY [publication year]
etc.) in association with the use of the appropriate vocabulary
(cf. supra § 1), help avoid noise (overabundance
of useless information) as well as silence (abnormal absence
of records on a well-known subject)
- to assess the results: objective criteria of pertinence inherent in the
data bases are to be considered:
a) qualtitative criteria: controlled and uncontrolled
information. The growing mass of information circulating on the
Web should be scientifically assessed insofar as most of this
has not been previously analyzed by experts.
b) quantitative criteria: some systems or engines
allow for measurement of the occurence ratio of the search terms.
- to localize the records: that is essentially done on the Web, in particular
through the Z 39-50 gateways, regarding the collective library
Publishers' electronic catalogs may also be consulted. In addition,
the opportunity is offered on the Web to complete electronic
transactions regarding interlibrary loans, the purchase of
books, transmission of special copies or offprints of articles
or communications issued by the authors themselves.
- to manage the products:
a) to organize, with software,
one's own database, through the standardization of tagged fields
and the removal of doubles (e.g. twice cited records). Reformatting
and removal of the doubles are an essential aim of the bibliometric
systems, which generate the statistical analysis of information
on a corpus of about a thousand records issued from heterogeneous
b) to create a personal electronic net of human resources
regarding the information, built on an E-mail directory so that
authors may be contacteddirectly. In the same way, personal files
may be provided and exchanged with them.
Such are the different components of the
information cycle, the user of which is as well final as original.
© INST 1999
zur Erforschung und Förderung österreichischer und
Research Institute for Austrian and International
Literature and Cultural Studies
Institut de recherche de littérature
et civilisation autrichiennes et internationales