ProQuest ABI/inform is a comprehensive collection of business magazines and journals. It provides indexing and summaries of articles from all kinds of business periodicals including academic, industry and practitioner journals as well as business news sources. BSC also provides access to the full text (in either HTML or PDF format) of most of the sources that it covers.
The default search interface in ABI/Inform is Basic Search. Use Basic Search to do a keyword search (which works best with specific words and phrases) or to quickly look up articles on a company, industry, by a certain author or about a certain subject. Subjects are specific words and phrases that are assigned to each article to describe its content.
If you're not sure how to begin, try a keyword search first. For example, to search for articles containing the phrase "social media," type social media in the search box and click search. A keyword search looks for your term anywhere in the article title, article summary (or "abstract") and the subjects assigned to the article.
Depending on what word or phrase you search, you may retrieve thousands of articles that roughly match your search. You can begin to refine your search by making some selections from the items on the left-side menu. To begin, consider limiting your results to only those articles that are available Full Text, i.e, those you can retrieve in the database. About 75% of the articles from a typical search will be available full text.
Next you might want to limit your results by Date, say, the last three, five or ten years. For a popular topic such as social media, you will find that limiting your search to full text availability and by date may still give you too many articles. You may need to further limit your search and narrow its focus.
To further narrow the focus of your search, look on the left side menu at the suggested terms under Subject. You will see that social networks is a subject. Click a subject to further limit your search. Note that you can also refine your search by clicking a company name, such as Facebook. You can arrange your list of articles by date or relevance.
When you have a more complicated topic that is best described with two or more words or phrases, you may want to begin by using the Advanced Search interface. Click on the Advanced Search link to begin using this interface.
To set up a search similar to the one used in the Basic Search example, type social networks in the first text box and select SU Subject Terms from the drop-down menu next to the text box.
On the second line, type Facebook in the text box and select CO Company Entity from the drop-down menu next to the text box. Most articles about a certain company are listed under the name of the company in the Company Entity index, so using this feature is a good way to find articles about a company.
Note that the term connecting the two parts of this search is AND. The connecting term AND means that both elements of the search statement must be present. Using the AND connector is a good way to narrow the focus of a search.
Alternatively, you can use the OR connector to broaden a search. For example, if you want to find articles about either Facebook or Twitter, you would set up a search like this:
Facebook in CO Company Entity OR Twitter in CO Company Entity
You can further narrow the results of any search strategy by making certain selections from the Limit Your Results section of the Advanced Search interface. For example, you might want to limit your results to those articles that are available Full Text within the database, that are the document type Article and that correspond to a range of dates from the past few years. Putting such limits on your search reduces the number of hits for your strategy and can make it easier to quickly find relevant articles.
When viewing your results, note that the default display mode is by date descending (the most recent articles are listed first). You can rearrange the articles in relevance order by clicking the arrow next to 'date descending" and selecting "relevance."
Contact business librarian Bob Hebert for further assistance with your search. You might want to schedule time (either by phone or in person) with Bob for help with planning your search strategy. A short consultation with a librarian at the beginning of your research can save you time in the long run.