Friday, October 31, 2003
Databases at Gleason help find books, articles and more
From popular themes to professional subjects, much may be found in the magazines, journals, and newspapers that are in the Gleason Public Library's electronic databases. (Electronic databases are lists of information stored on computers.) These periodicals may be popular ones like Rolling Stone, Nature, or Vogue; or journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, or The Academy of Management Journal. Many, many of the articles are available in full-text; citations without full-text may often be requested through the library.
If you are in the library, all these databases are available to use. Or, if you want access from home, you will need an Internet connection and an MVLC library card. Go to www.mvlc.org and on the left side of the screen select "Other Reference Databases."
There are two main databases for articles: InfoTrac and EBSCO Host. These large databases have access to over 1,500 periodicals each, with holdings dating back to 1980, as well as national and international newspapers. There is a help screen in both InfoTrac and EBSCO for using advanced searching techniques that you may want to refer to. For anyone interested in business-related information these two databases contain a lot of current business articles, statistics and investment reports.
A great source for local newspaper articles is Newsbank. This database provides all articles in full text. Bigchalk eLibrary is another large source for magazine and newspaper articles, but also offers maps, pictures, audio/video, and TV/radio transcripts. For general information try Grolier Online, a compilation of the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia and the New Book of Knowledge (for grades three and up).
Another business resource that you may find to be a valuable tool is ReferenceUSA. It is a directory of 12 million US businesses, providing basic information such as contacts, addresses, number of employees, estimated sales figures, Fortune 1000 rankings, and lines of business. But its best feature is in its ability to search for companies.
For those who want to find that next gripping novel, an interesting read, or something at a junior level, the Novelist list is an excellent help. It is tucked away from sight a bit but can be found by accessing the EBSCO database; the Novelist button will appear on the first screen after logging in. It is a database that allows you to find authors, titles, series, or plots similar to those you have enjoyed previously. It can be used by all ages, with 38,000 titles alone for K-8. There is also an option to limit the difficulty level of books. For book group leaders there are useful links from some titles to reviews, biographies and discussion guides.
A wonderful database for children is Searchasaurus. As with Novelist, access Searchasaurus by going to EBSCO first. Designed specifically for use by a junior searcher, it provides information from periodicals, encyclopedias and other documents. Three of InfoTrac's individual subject areas are for children and young adults.
If you have heard of electronic books and are curious to try reading one, NetLibrary is the database you want. It currently contains 7,000 ebooks that may be read entirely online. These contain the exact same text as a normal print book but have the advantage of being available to you from your computer.
These databases are excellent resources. If you have any questions or need help please stop by the Gleason Public Library's Reference desk or call at 1-978-369-4898. There are also handouts available at the Reference desk on the Library's resources, one of which lists and describes many of the electronic databases.
Scott McLachlan is a reference librarian at the Gleason Public Library. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Simmons College.
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito