[nabs-l] research techniques and databases

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 17:54:45 UTC 2009

Hi Ashley,

A couple of points not mentioned:

Most newer articles are going to be accessible PDF's. If you use
Gmail, you can save the PDF to your computer, email it to your Gmail
account and then select the "View attachment as html" option. This
only works for nonscanned PDF's, but as I said before, most newer
articles are not scanned PDF's. If you do get a scanned PDF which says
"empty document" when you try to open in Adobe, run it through
OpenBook, Kurzweil or Omni Page.

Psyc Info is accessible, as well as Academic Search Premier
(Ebscohost). These are the two databases I use the most. Ebscohost
also has a lot of articles in full-text html, which is easier to
navigate through than PDF.

I rarely use readers for research unless I have to select hard copy
books. For articles, I usually just read the abstract and if I like
that, read the first couple pages of the article before deciding
whether or not it's helpful. Sometimes even if articles themselves
aren't exactly topical, they will lead you to good references, so read
the reference section too. And, by all means, take notes on some kind
of Braille device while reading with JAWS.


On 6/25/09, Joseph C. Lininger <jbahm at pcdesk.net> wrote:
> Hash: SHA256
> Ashley,
> I don't claim to be any expert on research. I'm quite bad at it in fact
> unless it happens to be about something to do with computer security,
> software algorithms, cryptography, or some other completely geeky topic.
> However, I've given my thoughts on some of your questions below. Your
> question is quoted, followed by my thoughts.
>> 2. How do you use those PDF files?  What can you do in Openbook to access
>> them?
>> Many full text articles were PDF rendering them inaccessible without using
>> a scanner.
> The fact a document is in PDF format doesn't automatically mean it can't
> be read. If you do come across one you can't read, the problem is most
> likely that you've got a PDF which simply contains a scanned image of an
> article instead of the actual text. The tell-tail sign of this is if you
> are told the document is empty when you open it in Acrobat. Many of the
> OCR packages out there can take such a PDF and run the image through
> OCR, thereby producing something you can read. I believe Openbook has
> this ability. I know for certain that Omnipage does since it's what I use.
>> 4. What do you do to determine if an article is relevant?  So far I
>> thought of reading
>> the abstract and/or intro.  Sometimes I read entire articles only to find
>> them not
>> as useful as I thought they would be based on the intro.
> I've never done research in the way you're thinking of, but in my
> occupation I do often have to thumb through books, magazine articles,
> the occasional journal article, white papers, etc. to see if there is
> anything useful to me in them. I've found the following techniques to be
> helpful.
> 1. As you suggested, read the abstract or introduction.
> 2. If the article is divided into sections, read the section titles, and
> possibly the first paragraph of each section to see if it yields
> anything promising. I'll give you an example of the process I might use.
> If I were looking for information on network intrusion detection
> systems, which is a topic I have needed to research. I might find an
> article on network monitoring, network defense, or remote exploitation
> of interest. From there, let's say I found a section called, "using
> encryption to protect against sniffing". Well, obviously that has
> nothing to do with anything I am interested in in this specific case.
> But let's say later I see something like, "detecting outside scans of
> your network". Well, since I know intrusion detection systems are used
> as one tool for that, that's a section I might want to take a closer
> look at. These titles are very boiler plate and hypothetical I know, but
> they illustrate the point.
> 3. If you know something about the content of the article, and you know
> what you're looking for, you might try searching the article for
> specific keywords. Continuing the previous example, I might look for
> things like: "intrusion detection", "network intrusion", "ids", "nids",
> "port scan", "exploit", "vulnerability" or "alarm". If I were on the
> other end, trying to sneak into someone's network unnoticed, I might be
> interested in keywords like, "elude" "eluding" "decoy" "evade" "evading"
> "penetration test" or "pen-test". This one requires you have a fairly
> good idea of exactly what you're looking for in order to form keywords
> or strings of keywords that will yield good results. In my case, it also
> requires a spell checker since I can't spell and a keyword search only
> works if you spell the keywords right. LOL
> Hope this helps.
> Joe
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