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Federated Searching in OneSearch vs Native Mode Searching

OneSearch uses a federated search product called Webfeat (webfeat.org).  Instead of WebFeat's OneSearchindividually searching the library catalog and each of the many commercial and free databases the Library offers, patrons can make a single simultaneous search of all these resources.  When you aren't sure where to search, or have several places to search, this method will give you the best possible results in the least amount of time. 

Federated searching is also known as cross-database searching, single search (as opposed to multi-search where you search multiple databases one at a time), or simultaneous searching.   It is as if you and 10 of your friends sat down at 10 computers and searched 10 separate databases, then combined the results into 1 (sometimes very long) screen to look at and work with.

However, there are some databases which won't work with federated searching.  Since Webfeat uses a keyword search interface, any database you can't search by keyword or the equivalent won't work with Webfeat.  These databases may have an interface that relies on selecting from a series of automobile models, makes and years, or an interface that consists of lists of options.  These databases cannot be searched using a federated search product, but must be searched in their own interface, called the native interface or native mode.

Databases may offer additional shortcuts and powerful search techniques.  These enhancements will only be available using native mode searching.  If you find an especially good database in a particular subject, you may want to spend some time in the native mode to see if there are special features that are useful to you.  For example, a broad search for the science term biomes (ecosystems) will find many results. But if you are looking for experiments that you can use to teach the concept of biomes, you will want to know that the Science Resource Center database is particularly strong on experiments.  Go to the native interface of the database, click on advanced search, choose document type "Experiment Activity", enter the keyword "biomes" and search. 

Here is a pdf help file that describes how to use OneSearch


Last Updated 17.06.2009