The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 20, 2009

Review: Resources available from home computer


Most of the online resources that Joplin Public Library subscribes to are available for use from home. That means with your library-card number and an Internet connection, you have access when you need it. If you are working on a research paper or a report, here are a few databases that will help you gather information.

eLibrary is a complete research database with full-text articles from magazines, reference books, newspapers and transcripts as well as pictures and maps. Users have two options for searching. Natural language searching is the default but users also have the option to search with Boolean operators such as “and,” “or” and “not.” Limiting to reading level is also an option, with levels from elementary to beyond high school. If you would rather explore by topic, you can get resources by choosing from the lists under the topic tab. For either search method, search results can be printed, e-mailed or saved to a file. If you need to know how to cite the article for a term paper, you can click on the “citation” tab and get the citation in MLA form. eLibrary also offers full text access to the New York Times from 1984 to today.

Ebscohost redesigned its Web site in the past year, and it has a lot of features to help you with gathering information. There are many indexes and searching interfaces to explore, including general interest, academic, business, health and military/government. Sources indexed include magazines, journals, newspapers, books, primary source documents and images.

To use Ebscohost, go to the library Web site and under “Reference, Online Resources” choose a category and look for (Ebscohost) behind the title of the database. On the search results screen, there are options on both side of the results box to limit your search, view images, see and limit the publications in the results and more. If a result has a magnifying-glass icon, mouse over it and you get a pop-up with an abstract on the article. You can also print, e-mail, save or create a folder of results. However, if you want to e-mail or print the text of the article, you must have the article displayed. Ebscohost also provides the citation for each article and you have many choices for the style including MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian.

The Facts on File World News Digest resource covers major domestic and international political, social and economic events since 1940. Users can search by keyword, date or browse top news stories by decade, country or issue. Reports on current topics are provided in the In-Depth Coverage section, and past reports from this section can be found under the Special Features section (Research Features).

The Special Features section also has country profiles, historic documents, biographies under newsmaker profiles, photos, charts, maps, and world heads of state and government leaders. The country profiles are a great place to start for those who are doing a country report. Users get current statistics, history, lands and resources, a country map and the flag. The database also offers a Research Topics section so if you don’t have a topic for your report yet, this is a great place to start. Users have the option to save to a folder, print or e-mail articles. Citation information is provided in both MLA and APA styles.

The Discovering Collection is aimed at middle- and high-school students with the focus on history, science, social studies and literature. Users can search by subject, keyword or the entire document and can limit by content level and/or content type (primary source, statistics, etc.). There is also an extensive list of popular topics to choose from where the articles are already compiled. The list of resources is sorted into Reference, Creative works, Primary source and Multimedia. Users can print, e-mail and download materials, and citation information in MLA style is given under the “How to Cite” button.

These databases and many others — including Salem History and the Biography Resource Center — provide the authoritative, timely information you need to complete assignments and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.joplinpubliclibrary.org.

Patty Crane is the reference librarian at Joplin Public Library.