How to Use the Library Databases is Growing!

book_stack_mouse_2012_za1I have added more database vendors to the Hot Topic – How to Use the Library Databases along with scavenger hunts, search tips sheets you can download and more. A new page has been added called “What is a Database?”. This page not only explains what a database is but also provides information on why you should use a database and tips for getting started with a research or report.

You will also notice a new search tool available for Gale databases called Research In Context. Research in Context will search across GALE homework databases and eBooks (GVRL) so it is designed for grades K-12. Prior to school starting we will be adding it to the Homework Help pages as well.

Please keep checking back as I still have additional vendors to add to this Hot Topic. If you have any suggestions for this page, please let me know.


Library Databases Help! What’s available and how do I use them?

01-2015-JobNowThe Virtual Library is putting together a Hot Topic called How to Use the Library Databases. Here we will highlight videos, websites and/or guides on how to use each database we subscribe to during the year. Currently, BrainFuse and World Book Online pages are available. As the databases get renewed this spring we will be updating the Hot Topic. Please feel free to use these with staff and patrons as needed.

Databases A-Z & Hot Topics Updated

databasesazFor those of you who have not been to Databases A-Z or Search by Topic since last Thursday, you may want to take a look. These two sections are now linked to our Hot Topic service where we can highlight or pull content closer to the surface to make it easier for our users to find the information they are looking for in the Library. Since September, the Virtual Library has been working on this project. From the database usage, especially down to the content level, it appears to be working. Last year 2011-2012 database views totaled 377,558 views. Through January 2013 (just 7 months) views total 344,524.

Please share your comments and suggestions as this is a work in progress.


Tech Trends for Non-Techies

Today I listened to a webinar  on technology trends which discussed not gadgets but general technologies and what to watch for in the near future.

The archive of the program is available at Archived Webcasts & Webinars later today.

Here are some high points:

  • All library jobs are touched by technology so it’s important to stay current on what’s new.
  • You need to follow consumer technology not library technology.  What consumers are buying or using is what is going to impact your job. For a quick update follow Businessweek’s Technology and You column
  • Look at Google Goggles an app where you can take a picture with your cell phone and use it to do a search on Google to find information about it.  It translate the image into text and searches for the text.
  • Opinions are important to people as are facts.  Allow people to make comments on your website, catalog and social media.
  • Streaming is going to be big.  Soon DVDs and CDs will no longer be needed in libraries.  They are a dying format.  Look at – you can buy a boxee or create one with a computer to hook up to your TV to get streaming video.
  • Print will not die but may be used to obtain a digital copy.  Patrons will come into the library and browse the print version but instead of checking it out they will snap the QR tag and checkout online and download it to their device.   This is already being done in the Apple Store for apps. They provide a card with code to access it online.  You buy the card and go online to download.
  • OPAC is history.  There will be an App for it.
  • Subscription databases are on the way out.  Pay for what you use will be the new model.  Gale is testing the model in Wyoming.  They provide access to everything they offer and the State Library pays for what is accessed. Database use will be through search engines.  Patron finds information they want and prompted to buy or authenicate with their library card.
  • Focus on:
    • Social Media – not just have a site but join local groups and be ready to provide information as needed.
    • Podcasts are popular – create an iTune channel
    • Capture patrons cell phone numbers so you can text them
    • Staff needs to keep current with consumer products being used
    • Listen to what patrons are asking
    • Provide download stations in the library

How-to Videos

Got two minutes?  Learn how to use a database! Visit On the Road–Virtually! for these 3 short videos on how to use these databases:

  • CultureGrams
  • The New York Times 1855-2005
  • SIRS Issues Researcher (Opposing Viewpoints)

As an extra bonus you can download and print out a quick start guide for each database.

There is also a video Why Databases – The Human Element (a little longer – 5 minutes) on why you should use a database instead of using a search engine on the Internet.

Videos can be found under the How-to Videos of On The Road–Virtually! Select How to Use Databases.

Mobile Database – Press Display

Press Display has launched a new app called PressReader for viewing the newspapers on a mobile device.

It lets millions of owners of the two most popular smartphones download their favorite daily read from a selection of more than 1,300 newspapers and magazines available on, an online newspaper kiosk. The new PressReader applications are free and available for immediate download from Apple’s iTunes App Store and RIM’s BlackBerry App World.

Database – Dictionary of Art and Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Just as the names imply these databases contain information about art, artists, music and musicians.  They are designed for middle school students and up. We have had these databases since 2003.

New Portals to Music and Art Databases

Oxford University Press (OUP) has launched two new portals that will take users into expanded and enhanced versions of its art and music databases, including the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The Dictionary of Art and Encyclopedia of Popular Music.  On our A-Z list we are still calling them Dictionary of Art and Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Name changes are very difficult to deal with as patrons and staff learn the names and have problems remembering the new names so we are sticking to the old names for now.

 Dictionary of Music and Musicians integrates online music resources. A number of changes have been made, including:

  • New structure – now groups together all Grove articles on a single subject (e.g. Mozart or Paris) under one search result. The first article linked to by a search result is now the primary Grove Music Online article on the subject and is subject to a regular updating and revision program.
  • Improved search functionality – has grounded the new search in authority files and taxonomies developed by the Grove editorial team and tailored to research in music. Both browsing and searching can now be limited by a subject classification.
  • More frequent updates – is increasing the number of major updates to three per year.
  • New partnerships – three new partnerships will offer subscribers links to both Grove and each of the new partner sites. (We currently don’t subscribe).

Dictionary of Art
Oxford Art Online is the new gateway for the redesigned Grove Art Online. Through Oxford Art Online, users will now be able to cross search and browse a suite of art reference publications simultaneously with Grove Art Online. In addition to upgraded site functionality and a new graphic design, other new features include:

  • The ability to search and browse for Grove images and image links in a single place. Users will find more than 5,000 images available from OUP’s new image partners – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Art Images for Collection Teaching (AICT) and the Artists Rights Society.
  • Help for students and educators through the new Tools and Resources feature, including lesson plans from MoMA, new thematic guides on major topics in art history and new timelines of world art.
  • More than 85 new and updated articles with death dates for distinguished contemporary artists, along with expanded articles on important artists, architects and collections based on new research.
  • Provide links to websites for external images which is pretty cool.

Tip: Highlighting of search terms can be turned off just by clicking the “Highlight on/off” link up at the top of the page.

Wow Factor: Both provide timelines. The Art database provides beautiful photos as well as an in-depth timeline by continent. Access to it is easy to from the Timeline link in the right hand column of the home page. The Dictionary of Music timeline is a little hard to locate – it’s under “Learning Resources”. Once there you will find several timelines including Women in Music and Contemporary Music.

 Disappointed:  What is disappointing is the lack of audio samples.  In order to get audio samples we would need subscriptions to Classical Music Online or the Database of Recorded Music (DRAM). Direct links from Grove articles to those sites would be provided, allowing readers to access relevant sound recordings available through these two outstanding resources.

 Usage Statistics: This is one of the original databases we purchased when the Virtual Library started.  It is interesting to see the usage growth of these two databases:

2004-05            2007-08

Art             744 visits            3,914 visits

Music        594 visits            3,645 visits

Training – Literature Databases

Susan will be hosting a hands on training (at least for the first 12 who sign up) session on three Literature databases – Literature Criticism Online, Literature Resource Center and Literature Collection (GVRL) on Friday September 28 at 9:00am to 9:45am in the Clark County MCC lab.  This replaces the Gale Online session posted a couple of weeks ago.  Please RSVP to Susan D. Williams,