Monday, November 13, 2017

A Word (or 1300) About Databases

October is budget month. We take time to review our database subscriptions, and their usage to help plan for the following fiscal year. We are often asked about these subscriptions. here is our list.


This has traditionally been our most popular database. We actually have to DIScourage students from using it once they get past the reference phase of their research. It has, to a large extent, replaced our print reference collection.
    1. World History The Modern Era
    2. World History Ancient and Medieval Eras
    3. World at War
    4. American History
    5. American Government
    6. World Geography
    7. Modern Genocide
    8. Daily Life
    9. World Religions
    10. Issues
    11. American Indian Experience
    12. U.S. Geography


  1. OpenAthens
OpenAthens is the third party software that enables students to log on to ALL databases simply by being logged into their account in the browser they are using to access them (see lesson). Until we subscribed to this Single Sign On (SSO) service, database use was impeded by authentication issues. Since SSO, our database usage is up by 34 percent.
  1. EBSCO Modules
    1. Points of View
This database provides opposing points of view on contemporary issues. It is similar to the New York Times’ Room for Debate and Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints in Context, but it features different content than the others. Students find these resources particularly helpful when working on OP-Ed pieces in 10th grade English and the Junior Research Papers in 11th grade.
    1. EBSCO Discovery Service
This is a service that permits students to cross-search most of our database content through one search widget. In tandem with OpenAthens, this service streamlines database searching for students and generates extremely relevant search results. It also generates fairly accurate MLA 8 citations for all its content.
    1. Academic eBook Collection
Through this collection, students have access to over 123, 000 ebook titles. The collection includes texts in world languages, highly specialized manuals and technical information as well as reference materials. It is impressively inclusive.   
    1. Flipster
This is the portal that provides our learning community with access to our online magazine collection (there’s an app for that!). The list grows a little each year. This year, it includes

The Atlantic
Automobile Magazine
Bloomberg Businessweek
Car & Driver
ESPN Magazine
Food Network Magazine
Gentleman’s Quarterly
Horse & Rider
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Mother Jones
Motor Trend
The New Yorker
Rolling Stone
Vanity Fair
The Week

    1. Poetry and Short Story Finder
Students searching for poems and short stories are often surprised to find that what they seek is not always available on the free Web. Authors frequently withhold their work from the open Internet to protect their intellectual property. This database provides learners with access to full-text poems and short stories. They use it 11th and 12th grade English classes.


  1. Gale is the only database provider that recognizes the limitations Library of Congress’ resource classification and chooses to label reference resources as they are: Reference. This amplifies our message that there are appropriate times in the the research process to use reference materials and that there are other times, as students move through the research model, when reference materials are inappropriate.
  2. Gale Opposing Viewpoints - Students love its interface. We gave this up for one year because we felt the state of Connecticut provided us with a similar product, but we brought it back in response to student and teacher demand.
  3. Google Classroom and Google Drive are now integrated into Gale so students can highlight and annotate their readings, create citations, and send them on to their school Google Drive account. Teachers can send articles and resources to their Google Classroom and share them with classes. It is the most seamless integration of Google into database services we have seen. We added the following modules to our collection.
  1. Gale Global Issues in Context
There is no comparable product on the market, and it is aligned with our 9th and 10th grade history curriculum
  1. Gale Literature Resource Center
Literary criticism and author biography
  1. Gale LitFinder
Similar to EBSCO’s Poetry and Short Story Finder, but more navigable interface and more K-12 aligned content
  1. Gale World History in Context
  2. Gale US History in Context
  3. Gale Science in Context


This database features copyrighted scholarly and peer-reviewed periodical articles. It is the gold standard in higher education libraries. Our students will be expected to know how to navigate its admittedly clunky interface as they move into the next phase of their academic careers. This product is integral to our learners’ high school to college transition.


We have a long and proud history of NOT using subscription resources to publish our instructional content. But our LessonPaths/Blogger combination has failed us this past year on two fronts:
  • Ad content on Blogger
  • Downtime in LessonPaths
We want to provide students with the best possible user experience when it comes to library instruction. Therefore, we are adding a subscription to LibGuides (the industry standard across K-12 and higher education libraries).


This subscription includes three very distinct modules.
  1. Oxford English Dictionary
There is no other dictionary like it, and we no longer carry it in print.
  1. Oxford Art Online
This is the only database we have that specifically targets the Visual and Performing Arts curricular program. It supports learning in 9th and 10th grade history courses as well, particularly the museum project, which asks students to defend their selections for a hypothetical museum exhibit about Mesopotamia and other River Valley civilizations.
  1. Social explorer - This database allows students to interact with demographic information through maps, charts, and graphs. It helps learners discover new strategies for consuming, mashing, and publishing census data.


After a long hiatus, we resubscribed to this service because they overhauled their interface. Newsbank allows students to cross search most English Language periodicals and news sources (including televisions and radio transcripts) from specific countries and/or regions of the world. This is an essential research tool for 9th and 10th grade English and social studies learners as they are expected to do country studies over and over again, each time from a  different perspective - not an American one. Access World News also includes regional American newspapers including local publications and these serve the Civics classes as they work on regional politics for mock elections and senate simulations. Our collection includes 3 modules:
  1. Access World News
  2. Latin American Newspapers
This historical newspaper collection is used for the Revolutionary Diaries Project (10th grade history)
  1. Foreign Bureau Information Service (FBIS)
Historical newspapers from around the world - extremely useful for point of view comparisons during world conflicts such as World Wars, civil wars, and/or genocides.


We primarily use ProQuest for its newspaper collections. These play a vital role in our news literacy instructional program.
  1. Research library:
    1. The Economist Archive (1992 - present)
    2. Another 692 publications including
      1. Scholarly Journals (‎502)
      2. Trade Journals (‎85)
      3. Magazines (‎82)
  2. Historical Newspapers
    1. Christian Science Monitor‎ (1908 - 2004)
    2. The Washington Post‎ (1877 - 2000)  
    3. New York Times (1851 - 2013)  
    4. Hartford Courant (1764 - 1922)
  1. National Newspapers
    1. The Christian Science Monitor‎  (1988 - current)
    2. Hartford Courant‎  (1992 - current)
    3. Los Angeles Times‎  (1985 - current)
    4. The Wall Street Journal‎  (1984 - current)
    5. The Washington Post‎  (1987 - current)


Database of public opinion surveys, such as Gallup, the New York Times, Quinnipiac, ABC, etc. information starts in 1930. This is an excellent resource for examining change over time (demonstration of how students can use this resource to generate change over time statistics).


  1. CQ Researcher
A Staple in the 11th grade curriculum to complete an assured experience called Congress and the American Dream.
  1. CQ State Stats
Widely used among Civics classes for senate simulations


This database aggregates polling and census data from around the world and presents search results in a variety of formats, including spreadsheets so students can sort, reorganize and mash-up their findings (example).

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