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Electronics and Computer Science (ECS): Material for tutorials

Library sessions for Postgraduates

FEPS Postgraduates Worksheet

Searching databases

Go to your Subject Guide via LibGuides@Southampton;  Find the Compendex database link (or go to Resources and select Compendex from the A-Z list of E-Resources)

Note: Click on the 3 parallel lines in top right corner of screen for search, results and other features


Search terms

How many results?


Development of optical telecommunications with microstructured fibres



optical fibres


Add a search field




You have combined the above 2 terms using AND








Click on Results (or Search History) and View all results


Combine 3 AND 5


This is your search strategy ‘optical fibres AND telecommunications AND microstructur*’

Note: you can input the whole query into the search box or ‘Add another field’ for each term. The default operator is the Boolean AND. The above method shows the number of results for each term.


Search results

Best practice dictates that you do exactly the same search in a different database eg SCOPUS or Web of Science Core Collection to compare the results – there should be very little duplication.

Using the results from the search you have just done:

  • Go to refine options and use the controlled search option.  How many results do you get?
  • Mark or select a few articles of interest
  • How do you access the full text of any of your marked articles?
  • Look at the download and/or export options (includes Reference Management Software)
  • View all results to edit or save the search
  • Create an alert or save searches  – create an account to re-use in the future

(Note: If you have searched a number of different databases you will need to go to the individual databases to see the search histories)


Advanced Searching

Searching by author

  1. Search for articles by David C Smith or your supervisor using the format given on the search screen (Smith D*). Limit these results to those with Southampton in the address 

(Hint: ‘Add Another Field’ and select ‘Address’ from the drop down menu)                  

Note: If limiting your search by selecting ‘Authors’ from the Refine menu on the left of the results screen,  DC Smith is the correct author but you may miss some of his papers if the journal has only cited him as Smith, D.


Exploring cited references

Back in the Subject Guide, search for the following paper (or a key paper of your own) in the Web of Science Core Collection Database.

Hanzo, L.  Generic z-domain discrete-time transfer function estimation for ultra-wideband systems

Select the relevant article by clicking on the title

  • What year was this article published?
  • In which journal was the article published?
  • How many times has this paper been cited by others?
  • How many related references are there?
  • Look to see how relevant they are
  • View the ResearcherID & ORCID

Examples of a citation network for a ‘selected’ article and of a Reseacher ID are shown below

Hide ResearcherID and ORCID



ORCID Number

Chen, Sheng 



Hanzo, Lajos 


Note: you can also set up a ‘Citation Alert’ for this paper so that you will be notified every time a new paper is published which cites it.


Controlled Index (Thesaurus) Search

To build a more precise search and get more accurate results, watch this video to help Improve your search strategy when searching either Inspec or Compendex separately.

Enter the term unmanned vehicles then search and select the relevant term/s (eg unmanned automobiles OR remotely operated vehicles). Select a related or different term e.g. electro mechanical actuates if you wish and combine using AND or OR and search.

Compare this search to a topic search.  How many results did you get? How relevant are they?


LibGuides: other services/resources

Using WebCat (via SUSSED or LibGuides) to search for the following options using the drop down boxes

  • Journals (print): Journals (electronic)
    • we have ‘print’ and ‘electronic’ holdings of ‘Science’. [Use an ‘exact’ Journal Title search in WebCat to find out which years we have in print]
  • Theses
    • look for a PhD thesis in your subject area. [Select ‘Theses’ from material type]
  • Login in to My Account, then select Requests & Document Supply  to request
    • Theses & Books via Inter-Library Loan
    • Journals & articles via Inter-Library Loan
    • Items from our collections
  • Other Catalogues

Services and Campuses

  • Inter-Library Loans :
    • check how many you are allowed each year – [Tip: look for Research PG]
    • most journal articles will be delivered to your desktop or device. Make sure you have read the section on this before ordering your first article to find out about registering with the British Library On Demand   [Services & Campuses]

Subject guides

  • Tutorials and Library Sessions
    • Guides and tutorials
    • Today’s presentation/worksheet
  • Finding useful articles
  • Gateways & Organisations
  • Skills for Success


Research Services