If you use EBSCO databases you have probably noticed a new feature: SmartText Searching. I have despised this feature ever since it appeared about 6 months ago, but thought that I simply had to live with it. Here’s a quote from a Clarkson University Reference blog where I discovered that it can be turned off: “Yes, the automatic switch to SmartText Searching is a new feature in the EBSCOHost databases. Some of us at Clarkston have concerns about this more Google-like search which may retrieve hundreds of thousands of results. The automatic switch occurs when a boolean search retrieves zero results. Our students have enough trouble selecting good articles without having the results multiplied and diluted. I’ve confirmed with Tessa that this feature can be turned off at individual institutions . . . . ” I wholeheartedly agree with this quote, so I got together with the Serials/Systems Librarian at Elms College and asked her to turn it off. If a user isn’t finding good results with a Boolean search, then they need to be taught to alter their search by using synonyms and broader terms–perhaps even truncation. They may also need to alter their topic and try other databases. Now that’s “smart text” searching.

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