Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Databases

"Do you know about our databases?"


Every time we ask that question, we assume the answer will be yes, and are shocked when the answer is no…but all too often, the answer is no! So let us enlighten you--you'll be glad we did!

Databases are the most amazing/awesome/useful tools you will ever discover to help you with your homework projects. Why? Let us list the ways:
  1. Materials on a database STARTED OUT AS PRINT. I can hear some of you saying, "So what?" Okay…ever been working on a research paper and had a teacher tell you, "You are not allowed to use internet sources!"? Well, databases are accessed ONLINE, but they are NOT internet sources--they started out as print, were digitized and PUT online for your convenience. But once upon a time, they were newspapers, magazines, or academic journals. So you can use them as PRINT RESOURCES.
  2. If you have a library card, you can access databases 24 HOURS A DAY. So for those of you who are PROCRASTINATORS (yes, we know you all so well) who don't do your assignment until the night before…you can look up an article on the database on your computer (or iPad or Smartphone) from anywhere, at 2:00 in the morning if you need to. The library may be closed, but the databases are OPEN.
  3. Also…if an entire class is doing the same assignment and the library only owns, say, 10 books on the subject, and you were NOT the first person to the library, guess what? Those books are GONE. But the databases are always available to everyone, all the time.
  4. CURRENT INFORMATION. If you're doing a history paper, that may not be so important--but if it's a paper on global warming? some other science topic? a current political figure or athlete? geography? Well, then, you need the most up-to-date materials, right? Just ONE database--General Reference Center Gold--has more than 80 million articles (yes, you read that right), updated DAILY.
  5. CITATIONS: You know those bibliographies you have to create? When you use a book as a reference, you have to turn to the verso page (that's the page BEHIND the title page) and find out the title, author, number of pages, publisher, publishing date, etc., and write it down in just the right order, with the commas and periods in the right places for MLA style, right? Well, with a database article, it's already done for you. Yep, at the bottom of each article. So all you have to do is SWIPE (copy) and PASTE. Lucky you!
So…acquaint yourselves with our databases, get good grades, go to an Ivy League school, graduate with honors, get a fabulous job, win some awards, and when you are on the podium accepting them, you can say, "I owe it all to my librarians, Anarda and Melissa, at Burbank Public Library, for showing me how to be my best!" (Hey, librarians can dream…)

And by the way, databases aren't JUST for school. For instance, if you are curious about an Olympic athlete (say, skier Sarah Hendrickson) competing right this minute in the Winter Games in Sochi, you can look her up and find out all about her on Biography in Context. If you want to know more about author Ned Vizzini, you can look him up on Literature Resource Center. Indulging your curiosity is a lot faster and easier on a database than it is on Google--the information is already pre-sorted, pre-evaluated, and right up front for you. Einstein would have loved it.



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