Who was Baldwin IV, better known as the "Leper King" and what role did he play during the crusades? The question came about after watching the movie Kingdom of Heaven. I found the name Baldwin IV from the movies.yahoo.com website (Lustig, 2005). I know this was during the crusades (second or third) when Christians from Europe went on pilgrimages to Jerusalem to take back the Holy Land from the Muslims. Since this was a movie, I didn't know if the information provided in the synopsis was historically accurate. Thus, I needed to start my query by verifying the basic facts and seeing if the chosen databases (WilsonWeb and JSTOR) yielded any appropriate source materials. Additionally, I wanted to see if I could find the answer to my query using just these two databases.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
My chosen query is broadly considered Humanities under the subject history. An appropriate starting place to verify the correctness of the "known" information might be Bio.com and expand the search to the other two selected databases. WilsonWeb covers Humanities and offers full text searching. This way I might read through a few articles to see if my information need has been met. JSTOR is a general database which may provide scholarly, full text articles going back to the 1800's. Again, the full text option will make verifying information easier. Having articles this far back allows me a greater range of articles to choose from. If there is no recent research on Baldwin IV, I may be able to find a few articles written in the nineteenth century.
Coverage: JSTOR is a “database with scanned-in full text articles in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Sciences through the Arts & Sciences I and General Sciences packages” (WSU Libraries, 2008). According to WilsonWeb’s help guide, available through WSU Libraries, “dates of coverage vary with the particular database, but most begin indexing somewhere between 1982 and 1984, with full text beginning between 1994 and 1997” (Golomb, 2008). In addition, there is a note that says not all the articles are complete full text (Golomb, 2008).
Scope: The scope varies depending on the database. WilsonWeb covers a number of databases and a variety of disciplines (from art to business). JSTOR covers journals which fall within the Humanities discipline.
Currentness: I was only able to find information regarding currentness for JSTOR. The help guide offered on the WSU Libraries website says that “new titles and fields are added regularly” (2008). WilsonWeb did not have any information regarding how often new articles are added to the various databases.
Audience: The materials in each database tend to be peer reviewed or of a scholarly nature. Since these databases are for scholarly research, the audience would be found mainly within academic libraries.
Format of information: The hits or results are provided in full text format with full citations. Information was provided in .pdf format and I looked at results for relevancy.
Uniqueness: WilsonWeb is a vendor that provides searching for multiple databases at one time such as Humanities Full Text. On the other hand, the range of articles covered in JSTOR is a highly unique feature (WSU Libraries, 2008):
JSTOR is a database with scanned-in full text articles in the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Sciences. These entries have the original page numbers and notations from the original articles. The JSTOR database is unique because the complete archives of these core scholarly journals have been digitized, starting with the very first issues, many of which date from the 1800’s.
Interface: The interface is the Wichita State University’s library portal website. From the library website, I was able to access the databases under the E-Resources link and search by subject. Authentication is required for the two databases I selected to query. The interface is mainly web-based point-and-click, which is standard for most current databases, and is PC compliant using a Microsoft-based Operating System.
Authority:The authorities are H.W. Wilson Company and JSTOR as copyrighted.
Accuracy: Articles are fully cited in both databases and may be verified in print versions and other databases for accuracy. Since both companies have been around for a number of years and have provided libraries with resources, I am confident of the accuracy of the articles.
Indexing (access): The online versions have full text searching options and full citations for all articles. This is one of the primary reasons I chose these two databases.
AVAILABLE SEARCH STRATEGIES
General search strategies are available to users in any database. The more common (or standard) strategies are listed through the Help function. One of the easiest is being able to specify the search parameters. Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, XOR) may be used with many if not all databases. Automatic stemming of plural forms may be built into some. While in others the singular and plural form brings up different number of hits. Case sensitivity is one consideration users don't often think of when searching. Lower case queries retrieve all that fit the parameters while capital letters signify intentional differences. The truncation and wildcard commands depend on the database. The most often used symbols for these two commands are the ?, *, and &. Alternative spellings (most often this is the British English variation) should be considered when running a query. A thesaurus or dictionary function is handy for locating different synonyms which may be searched if the original keyword isn't bringing up the necessary information. Special features such as “Did You Mean” option, “Search Within Results”, etcetera are functions to consider. These are built into different databases to help the user search more effectively. Another special feature may be the use of natural language in query fields. However, both WilsonWeb and JSTOR neither recognize nor accept queries using natural language and cannot be interpreted by either database.
USED SEARCH STRATEGIES
My search for the "leper king" did not yield any hits in Bio.com. However "Baldwin IV" did bring up two hits with King of Jerusalem (1161-1185). Based on this query I had a date range and some keywords to search by. A result of one of the queries in WilsonWeb offered an alternative spelling for the name Baldwin as Baudouin. Both databases are not case sensitive.
The following queries and results were found using WilsonWeb:
"baldwin iv" OR "baudouin iv" AND "king of jerusalem"
Full Text / English language / History journals only
19 - 2 relevant
"baldwin iv" OR "baudouin iv" AND "king of jerusalem" AND crusade? AND (contribution OR impact OR significance)
Full Text / English language / History journals only
13 - 2 relevant
One of WilsonWeb’s strengths is the ability to modify a current search with useful features like the thesaurus; a user can see the broader or narrower related words, search history, exporting/citing, etc. For my query, the thesaurus feature didn't prove very helpful. Thesaurus results for leper were related to the care of or colonies or last names. Another strength is the variety of databases offered within WilsonWeb. The ability to export the citations and search within the results are great features within JSTOR. They regularly update and add articles to their database. JSTOR also offers images related to a query.
WilsonWeb did not have any weaknesses for my particular query. The searches yielded similarities in the results. It was a bit difficult to find the query strings that would give me the results with information I needed, but that only took some trial and error. I thought by not providing a thesaurus or dictionary JSTOR limits users searching strategies. Neither database provided a “Did You Mean” option or spelling alternatives. JSTOR proved more difficult to find utilize then I originally thought.
On the whole I found WilsonWeb more useful and user-friendly. I didn't have much difficulty finding the answers to my query. The search history function shows a total of twenty-two searches. I only listed the most useful query strings above in the WilsonWeb table. I expected to find more information in JSTOR, given the nature of the database based on the Humanities. However, having too many results to sift through proved frustrating; especially when so few of the results were relevant to my query
Being able to utilize the databases more fully, using some of the general search strategies, provided me with the information for my query. I found the Boolean operators, truncation, wildcards, and word stemming to be useful in these types of searches. These helpful hints make searching databases easier with relevant and current results from verifiable sources.
Bio. (2008). Baldwin IV biography (1161-1185). Retrieved July 8, 2008, from http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=39026
Golomb, L. (2008). Guides for reference databases: WilsonWeb. Retrieved July 9, 2008, from http://library.wichita.edu/reference/images/PDF/WilsonWeb.pdf
H.W. Wilson Company. (2008). WilsonWeb: Advanced search. Retrieved July 9, 2008, from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com.proxy.wichita.edu/hww/advancedsearch/advanced_search.jhtml;hwwilsonid=IN5R53ZFLOQIHQA3DIMCFF4ADUNGIIV0?prod=#formTop
JSTOR. (2008). JSTOR: Advanced search. Retrieved July 8, 2008, from http://www.jstor.org.proxy.wichita.edu/action/showAdvancedSearch
Lustig, B. (Producer), & Scott, R. (Director/Producer), & Monahan, W. (Writer). (2005). Kingdom of heaven [Motion picture]. United Kingdom: 20th Century Fox. Retrieved July 8, 2008, from http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808529407/details
Wichita State University Libraries. (2008). Database description, restriction information, and guide availability: JSTOR. Retrieved July 9, 2008, from http://library.wichita.edu/colldev/database2nd.htm#JSTOR