5. Databases

5.14. Exercises

Here you will find a short exercise for every database so you can get a small impression of how they work.

Web of Science

Go to the digital library page and click on Web of Science.

Question 1

  • At the top of the screen you can choose your search-method, make sure you've selected the "search" option.
  • Try to find information on "groundwater assessment" (topic). 

    Web of Science
  • Restrict your search result by adding the keywords "remote sensing". Use the "Refine results" option on the left side of your screen.

    Web of Science
  • Sort the result by "Times cited"
  • Click on one of the titles which have been cited a few times. 

    Web of Science
  • Look for the "References" and the "Times Cited" options.
  • Try to open the full text of one of the articles

 Question 2

  • Now try to use the Cited Reference Search, to use this, click at "Cited Reference Search" at the top of the page. 

    Web of Science
  • We want to know if articles by a specific author have been cited.
  • Use the "select from index" link to go to the Authors index. 

    Web of Science
  • Type Rientjes and "move to" to select the ITC author by using the "add" button in the list before Rientjes, HTM to add this name to your search.
  • When back in the "Cited Reference Search" screen, click the "Search" button. 

    Web of Science

  • "View Record" for some of the articles.

    Web of Science

Question 3

  • Now use the Advanced Search Option, again you can reach this by selecting "Advanced Search Option" at the top of the page. 

    Web of Science
  • Type TS=decision support system* AND TS=water
  • Then, click the "Search" button. 

    Web of Science
  • Scroll down and click on the number of the results and look at some of the references. See if some of them are full text available.
  • Do the same search but change the TS (topic) in TI (title). Now you search for the same words but now only if they appear in the title field. Of course the result will be less: TI=decision support system* AND TI=water
  • Try out the various options on your screen.

Question 4

  • Complete a search in Web of Science on your topic
  • Select ‘Open Access’ drop-down from Refine Results bar
  • Check ‘Yes’ and ‘Refine’ to return only open access records
  • Open Access records are indicated by the orange padlock symbol
ScienceDirect / Elsevier

Go to the digital library page and click on ScienceDirect.

  • Register yourself via the "Register" link at the top right of the screen and remember your password for future use. When you are logged in the Search History should be switched on (see lower part of your screen). 


  • Find information on "remote sensing". Search within Abstract, Title, Keywords. 


  • Use the "Edit this search" option and search for the same topic but now only in the Title field. 

  • Use the "Search within results" option and enter the following search term "groundwater".

  • Use the "Edit this search" option and restrict your search result to 2009. 

  • Look at the "Show preview" of one of the articles.


  • Open the full article by clicking on the title. Scroll through the article.

  • Look for the "Cited by" option: you will be able to see a list of all other articles within ScienceDirect that cite that particular article.

  • Open the same article as a PDF file. See the difference. 
    Close the PDF, then go back to your search results. 

  • Save the search history by using the "Save this search" option on your screen.

  • Use the "Save as search alert" option and give it a name (you will automatically be notified when new articles are published that correspond with your search strategy).
  • Use the "My alerts" option in the menu to see which alerts you have saved till now.

  • When you open an article again, look for "Related Articles" and "Related reference work articles". 

  • Use the "Search" option in the menu again and look for your Search history (lower part of your screen). The Search history is only visible when you are logged in. Use the different options. 


Go to the digital library page and click on Scopus.

  • Log in to Scopus; your Elsevier / ScienceDirect login also applies here. When you are logged in the Search History should be switched on (see lower part of your screen). 


  • Find information on "remote sensing". Search within Abstract, Title, Keywords. 

  • Use the "Edit this search" option and search for the same topic but now only in the Title field. 

  • Use the "Search within results" option and enter the following search term "groundwater".

  • Use the "Refine results" option to limit your search result to affiliation ITC (International Institute for Geo-information...). 

  • Select one of your titles, view the list of all citing articles and then use the "Sort by"  option to change from "Date (Newest)" to "Cited by"


  • Tick 2 or more articles and test the export of the citations to EndNote.


  • Another search option is the Affiliation Search: find articles by ITC Staff:


  • Select one of the found documents, click on one of the author's names to enter the individual author's page. From here you can view, review and access their work.


Go to the digital library page and click on SpringerLink Journals / eBooks.

  • Register yourself via the "log in" option and remember your username and password for future use. 

  • Find the journal "Water Resources Management" by using the basic search bar

  • Make sure you clicked the Water Resources Management journal.
  • Find the "Search within this journal" box, and search for articles on "groundwater assessment" 
  • Use the advanced search to find materials with the exact phrase "urban gis applications"
  • Scroll down and notice that you do not have full text access to all articles. 

  • Refine your results to journal articles only
  • Click one of your titles, and find the "export citationis " options. scroll down to see all metadata attached to this reference and open the reference dropdown menu.
  • See al metadata attached to this reference and open the References dropdown menu.
  • Have a look at the related content, you will find both older and newer materials
  • Below the metadatasection find the "browse by discipline " button to explore the database


Go to the digital library page and click on Geobase.


  • Search for "water quality" in all fields (on the Quick Search tab which is selected at the top right of your screen)


  • Use the "Edit" button and do the same search but now in the Title field. 

  • Restrict your search results by adding the following search term: "monitoring", in all fields. Use the "Edit" option. 

  • Sort the result by "Relevance" or "Date". 

  • Open one of the abstracts (show preview) and open the full text (click title). 

Start a "New search" now choose the "Expert Search" tab at the top of the screen.

  • Enter the following search string: 
    (drought monitoring) wn KY AND (remote sensing) wn KY
    Explanation: WN KY means that you search for keywords within the subject, title and abstract field. 

  • Click the "Refine Search" button and change KY in TI (TI=Title

  • Filter the result by "Source title" (=journal title), bottom left on your screen and open an article from the journal “International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation”. 

  • Look for the "Search History" and save one of the searches. You must be logged in to use this option. View your saved searches.
Journal Citation Reports

Go to the digital library page and click on JCR; Journal Citation Reports.

  • Select the "JCR Science Edition 2009" and select the option "View a group of journals by Subject Category": 


  • Submit. 

  • Choose the subject category "Water Resources", then Submit: 


  • The result is an alphabetic list of the most important (highly qualified) journal titles in this subject category. 

  • Sort the list by Impact Factor. If you forgot about the Impact Factor please take a look at the description of the Journal Citation Reports in Module 5 of this literacy course.
JSTOR: journal storage

Go to the digital library page and click on JSTOR; The Scholarly Journal Archive.


  • The browse option gives you access to the discipline or alphabetic list of journals. Look at the discipline "Geography". You will find the list of journals covered within this discipline by JSTOR. 


  • Now choose the "Advanced Search" option from the menu at the top. 
    Search for "water management" in full text. 


  • Modify your search: search for "remote sensing" in full text and for "water management" in item titles.
  • Try to open some of the articles.
  • Scroll through the article and use the different options.
  • Go back to your Search results by using the "Back to Search Results" link.
  • Change the sort order.
  • Save this search and check your saved searched.
Electronic full text journals

Go to the digital library page and click on Electronic Journals (alphabetic list).

ITC full text journals

  • Look up if the journal: "International Journal of Remote Sensing" is online available.
  • Try to search for the topic "water" within this journal.
  • Try to open one of the articles on your screen.
  • In which other databases can you search for journal articles on a certain topic?

Go to the digital library page and click on CRC netBase, you will find yourself within the Earth Sciences selection of CRC netBase

  • Tick the "Full access content only" box  and search CRC netBase for Machine learning  using the Search bar.
  • In the results list select, the tab "Book titles".
  • Click the book title from the result to see the contents of this book.
  • Read the abstract for one of the chapters, save the pdf and register the chapter in Mendeley.
  • Tick one or two chapters, and Add them to the Bookshelf (this will require a simple registration).

 Go to the digital library page and click on EBL e-Books and accept the conditions.

EBL Library

  • Use the search bar to find a book on your topic.
  • You see books with yellow and green buttons, use the "Limit search to titles owned by your library" option.

EBL Library

  • Go to one of the titles, use the 'read online' option to browse the content.
  • Select one of the chapters from the Content page.
  • Use the 'Search' option to find if a specific topic is part of this book. 
  • In the 'read online' mode you can also print a small part of the book. Select one chapter of your choice to see how to use this.

EBL Library

 Go to the digital library page and click on Dawsonera e-Books and accept the conditions.

Dawsonera eBooks

  • Look at the e-books that are available for you.
  • Read one of them online.
  • Use the print and copy option. You need to login if you didn't do that already.
  • Do a search for "remote sensing" in the whole catalogue. Use the advanced search options and search in the metadata. Tick the "include the not owned". 
  • Look at the 5 min preview option. To have a 5 min preview option, you need to login.

Go to the digital library page and click on Springer Earth and Environmental Science eBook collection

Springer Link eBooks

  • To see books that ITC has full access to, deselect the option “Include Preview-Only content” in the left-hand menu, and after that choose “Content Type > Book”.
  • Go to the information page of one of the books that are available to you.
  • Download the full book or a chapter to your computer and open it so you can read it.
  • Try the filter menu items "discipline" and "subdiscipline" and perhaps language to filter your results.

Go to the digital library page and click on Taylor & Francis Urban eBook Collection

  • Use the searchbar to find a book on Urban Planning.
  • Scroll down to see the content and the abstract of this book, is this what you are looking for?
  • Open the book with the Quick access button to see the full content page and have a look at the most important chapter.
  • Use the Download citation option to save the reference to Mendeley (has all information been exported?).
  • Save the complete pdf of the book in your Mendeley Watch folder.
Academic output

Look at the Repository ITC publications section at the library page.


  • Try to locate an MSc thesis of 2010 of the course you are doing now. Select Academic Output, choose 2010 and Category MSc theses.


  • Try to find a peer refereed journal article (ISI Journal Articles) from one of your lecturers.
  • Go back to the library page and open Adlib (ITC Library Catalogue Adlib) and search for the "msc theses 2010" in the title field. Look for the theses of your own programme. 

Go to the digital library page/ all databases alphabetically and click on Picarta.

  • Make sure the pull-down menus show: search (and) / all words / sort by relevance, 
    then search for "drought monitoring" and click "search".
  • To widen your search, select: enlarge / all words / sort by relevance,  
    then search for "ArcView" (no space between Arc and View). 

  • Use the filter option and select only the books.
  • Click on one of the titles to see the full bibliographic information.
  • Click on  NCC collection to see the holding information in the Netherlands.
  • Go back to the shortlist.
  • Click on an authors' name to see if this author has published more which is available in a Dutch library.
  • Use "Search History" to see an overview of the searches you did.
  • Find out which titles are available in ITC Library  (by the use of Adlib).