Scholars rely on electronic databases to conduct searches and locate relevant citations. The purpose of this paper is to compare the retrieval results on the same topic (multiple sclerosis and liberation therapy) of two commonly used databases for searching print news media: ProQuest’s Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies and Dow Jones’ Factiva.
A case study comparing two electronic searchable databases using the same keywords, date range, and newspaper-specific search parameters across three Canadian university institutions.
Considerable differences were found between institutional searches using Factiva. Factiva allows all individual users the capacity to establish systems-wide “administrator” privileges, thereby controlling the output for subsequent users if these preferences are not changed. The capacity for individual users to tailor searches within Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies was more in line with standard protocols for institutions paying for single user accounts with access to multiple sessions within that same institution: any user-specific searching/retrieval preferences are individually contained within a search and do not influence the searches of a different user.
What began as a comparative analysis of two commonly used databases for searching print news media turned into an examination of larger systemic problems. The findings call into question several factors: the integrity of a researcher-generated data set; the quality of results published in peer-reviewed journals based on researcher-generated data sets derived from established e-resource databases; the reliability of the same e-resource database across multiple institutions; and the quality of e-resource databases for scholarly research when developed to serve primarily non-academic clients.
No comparison of this kind for these particular e-resource databases has been documented in the literature. In fact, the scholarly publications that address questions of functionality and reliability of either Factiva or Proquest have not brought this issue into the discussion. Therefore, this study furthers academic discourse on the nature and reliability of database use at any academic institution and illustrates that researchers, in a variety of academic fields, cannot depend on the reliability of their search results without thoroughly consulting the various settings of their database.
Driedger, S. and Weimer, J. (2015), "Factiva and Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies: Comparing retrieval reliability between academic institutions", Online Information Review, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 346-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-11-2014-0276Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited