Whether you’re a librarian, scientist, student or general consumer, when seeking research for your work, relevant information and sources seem plentiful, especially since the internet has made it easier than ever to discover and share content. However, the more there is, the harder it becomes to find what you need. Researchers can relate to that feeling of frustration, trawling through pages of search results looking for an answer, a quote — something that you know is there and you just can’t find it.

Discovering a tool which helps you find the best results quickly is a game-changer. For example, as a lover of good food, I always research restaurants before travelling. Pinpointing great dining establishments was made so much easier when I discovered the book, Where Chefs Eat. With reputable sources, concise descriptive records, and an index I can search by name or location, it helps me research and narrow down my choices easily.

Now, I’m sharing my favorite restaurant guide with you for a reason. In an age of information overload, we need quality more than quantity from a list of search results, and indexing is designed to do just that.

For scientific content, abstract and index (A&I) databases, such as our own FSTA – Food Science and Technology Abstracts, have been specifically developed to help researchers find high-quality information.

Indexing enables you to find concepts and synonyms indicated by the keywords you search, helping you to discover relevant content and feel confident that the whole record will be relevant. For example, I used the FSTA thesaurus on EBSCOhost to search for “nutrition” and the narrower terms under that keyword. Due to the in-depth indexing, I discovered results on calories, diet, nutrient requirements, nutrigenomics, sports nutrition, food guide pyramids and more.

In a subject-oriented database, the terminology for indexing is typically specific to the field, helping researchers filter irrelevant results and enabling targeted search. For example, I searched for ”spirits”’ and ”safety” on FSTA, and every result on the first page of my search results were on food safety and alcoholic spirits, with no need to filter out rogue articles on subjects such as ‘poltergeists.’

These are just a couple of examples demonstrating how A&I databases help scientists and students to efficiently find high-quality, targeted information.

Pause before starting your search with the tool closest to hand. The best search tool for one task might not be the best tool for another. Choosing your search tool based on your information needs can help you research efficiently and effectively. For more guidance, read the best practice in effective searching for literature reviews, freely available on the IFIS website.

Interested in Food Science & Technology Abstracts

EBSCO offers FSTA on EBSCOhost and EBSCO Discovery Service. To request a free trial, please contact your EBSCO representative.