Bachelor of Information Technology: Getting Started

Finding information

What type of information are you are looking for? 

Think about what type of information you would require in order to tackle your assignment, e.g. textbooks, handbooks or manuals, e-books, research articles, standards, government publications? Write down any significant words (keywords) that describe your topic to use as search terms.


Have a look at the Readings list linked to your unit as a starting point to become familiar with the topic. A textbook, or encyclopedia also provides an introduction .

Know where to look for information sources

Use the Library Search, enables you to search across a range of library online and print resources.
View the results of your search in the results list. Each record gives details of the item and also a link to the full access to the item, or where to locate the print copy.

Library catalogue

The classic library catalogue is still available and convenient as it allows for field searching, or Publication finder to search for titles of journals books & videos.

For more information on using e-books, books, and journal articles view the Books & eBooks, or Databases & journals tabs.

Browse the shelves

A number of useful print materials is available on the library shelves. A book is shelved according to its call number. Call numbers group similar subjects together on the library shelves. 

What are keywords?

Keywords are words that tell you what approach you should take when answering an assignment question. 

See section further down for keywords from this assignment.

Keywords can include content (topic), limiting (restricting), and task (instruction) words.

Assignment example:

Investigate different distributed stream processing platforms for IoT data streams and applications.

    Content Words      

  • Tell you what the topic area is.
  • Help you to focus your research and reading on the correct area.
  • Think about synonyms or similar words.    
  • e.g. in this example: distributed stream processing platforms and IoT .

    Limiting Words 

  • Tell you what area(s) to focus on, e.g. IoT  
  • Define the topic area further, e.g. IoT data streams and applications
  • Indicate aspects of the topic area you should narrowly concentrate on.




    Task Words

  • Tell you what to do; the action(s) you need to perform, e.g. compare, contrast, describe, summarise, i.e. investigate in this example.

When you are searching for information for an essay question, assignment or project, use the identified content and limiting keywords to search for information sources in our Library Search and online.

Keyword search strategies

Sample assignment topic: Investigate different distributed stream processing platforms for IoT data streams and applications .

Once you have analysed your topic and done some preliminary reading, you are ready to break down the chosen research topic into key concepts selected from both the topic and your readings. It is best to identify 2 to 4 key concepts, with each concept containing up to 2 words, which will serve as keywords or search terms you'll type in the Library Search (or relevant library databases) to find relevant resources.  You might need to build separate search strategies for different aspects of your research as well as use a variety of keywords to ensure you cover all aspects of the topic.

For example, focusing on the assignment topic, listed are the main concepts or keywords: "distributed stream processing platforms" and IoT. Alternatively, you could use more encompassing or inclusive concepts, as well as synonyms, such as:

distributed computing

distributed stream processing systems (DSPS)

distributed stream processing

stream processing 

distributed operating systems

Internet of Things

industrial internet, etc.

Apply the following strategies to combine them:

  • for a basic search, enter the identified keywords in the Library Search field, for example: distributed stream processing platforms AND IoT
  • you can combine keywords with some other aspects of your research, for example, you can combine 'distributed stream processing platforms' and 'IoT' in your searches by using the Boolean operators (AND, OR & NOT) for narrowing or broadening your searches, or for excluding some search terms from your searches, if appropriate. The use of Boolean operators allows for constructing more complex search statements, for example:

 ("distributed stream processing platforms" OR distributed computing) AND (IoT OR Internet of Things OR IoT)

  • think of possible synonyms and related words or phrases, for example, distributed stream processing systems OR DSPS OR distributed operating systems
  • search exact phrases by enclosing the phrase in quotes, for example, "distributed stream processing systems"
  • find a term with various endings by using as a truncation symbol represented by an asterisk (*), for example, stream* will retrieve stream, streams, and streaming
  • group related or synonymous terms together by placing them in parentheses, for example, ("distributed stream processing systems" OR DSPS OR "distributed computing"). 

Information technology boolean operators

Boolean Operators are the words AND, OR, and NOT used in the Library Search and library databases that can make searches more precise, and save you time by removing the need to go through all the search results in order to find the most relevant articles. For example, for searching for "cloud computing" sources of information, you could apply the following terms and operators:

AND narrows the search resulting in more focused results, for instance, searching for  “cloud computing” AND "Internet of Things", all sources in your search result will include both concepts (keywords)

OR broadens the search by instructing the Library Search or databases to search for any of the words, which is particularly useful for synonyms or related terms, i.e. “Internet of Things” OR “IoT” OR “industrial Internet”

NOT narrows the search by instructing the database to remove all unnecessary search results, for example, “cloud computing providers” NOT “startups”