Sch. of Information Management & Systems. Spring 2000.
Infosys 245: Organization of Information in Collections. Buckland.

Exercise 5: MELVYL's other databases. Due March 1.

The purpose of this exercise is two-fold: (1) Learn about the EXPLAIN facility; (2) Assure minimal familiarity with MELVYL databases other than the CATALOG. This exercise is designed for use at campus library terminals or by telnetting into MELVYL.   (MELVYL, not GLADIS!).

The MELVYL has extensive provision for "explaining" itself -- Using the EXPLAIN command followed by whatever needs to be explained.
There is a Glossary listing words that are "explained" and with numerous brief definitions.
Try EXPLAIN GLOSSARY    Scan the screens.
Try EXPLAIN [term] for a term of your choice.   What term?
Is the explanation adequate?
There are several databases in the MELVYL system in addition to the CATALOG -- and also provision for using MELVYL to access databases elsewhere.
Try EXPLAIN DATABASES - or E DB for short.

Two classes of database access are provided:
  (i) You can "set" the database within the databases locally-mounted within the MELVYL system and, for these, one uses the MELVYL command language with minor enhancements; and
  (ii) You can "use" remote databases to which MELVYL serves as a front-end and enables access, but you are liable to be required to use the commands of that remote system.
For the locally-mounted databases enter   EXPLAIN   SET   DB
For remote databases enter EXPLAIN   USE   and look over the several successive screens.

Enter START    Enter ALPHA
Enter MAGS    (If you get lost do SET DB MAGS)
Enter HELP MAGS or EXPLAIN MAGS. Both give the same result.
Note that FIND KEYWORD searches for in both titles and subject headings for the word(s) specified, essentially the sum of   F   TW   and   F   SU
Do DISPLAY LONG   Browse some screens, noting the variety of metadata.

MELVYL's databases increasingly include the text or an abstract (summary) of the text as well as bibliographic record. For an example, Do D 17 TEXT (by Jessica Milstead) and read it.

Do START, pick some other database inside the MELVYL system (but not CAT or MAGS) using SET DB [whatever] and do a search of interest to yourself.
What database did you choose?

What did you search for?

Print out or make a brief note of a record you found.

[OPTIONAL] Try some recreational searching.