Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Database: GreenFILE

With Earth Day fast approaching, it is worth mentioning a new environmental database that we have just added. Called GreenFILE, it was recently created by EbscoHost, one of Sawyer Library's major database vendors. They describe it as a "research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with well-researched but accessible information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond."

EBSCO launched GreenFILE as a symbol of their corporate "commitment to environmental consciousness." Towards that end, the basic database is actually "freely accessible." Those unaffiliated with Suffolk University who might stumble upon this blog entry should know that you can use the database at However, Suffolk users will definitely want to use GreenFILE through our own library link. In this way, you will be able to take advantage of additional full text options through journals we can link to directly, and also additional journals (provided by non-Ebsco aggregates) that Sawyer Library researchers may access through our online catalog or eJournal locator links found at the end of each results entry.

GreenFILE’s initial release included indexing for more than 600 titles, providing approximately 300,000 records, with full text links for more than 4,600 items, even without Sawyer Library's additional linked full text. Comprised of scholarly journals (like Environmental Health Perspectives) as well as general interest titles (like Mother Earth News), GreenFILE even provides access to some government documents and other materials.

Like all Ebsco databases, you can perform a simple (or boolean operator combined) keyword search, or you may limit your search in some way. For example, if I do a search for groundwater contamination, I end up with 740 results. If I limit that set (on the opening screen) by checking the box for "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" only, my results drop to 635. And if I limit those items only to those for which GreenFILE can provide full text, my results drop to 47, but include articles from the Journal of Environmental Engineering, Journal of Environmental Science & Health, and Global Change Biology.

If I am simply trying to put together some quick readings, clicking the opening screen box to limit to Full Text is a fine option. However, if I am attempting to do more careful research, I might not wish to limit my results right away. Remember, if you click the "Check Library Catalog" link or the "360 Link to Full Text" link below an interesting entry, you may be able to access more journal content through other Sawyer Library resources.

GreenFILE is brand new and is still a very modest (if well-focused) database. Hopefully, it will develop as time passes. Ebsco President Tim Collins has said that his company is “committed to actively adding content to the database to methodically increase its value over time because we want people to have the best information to use when making decisions about their impact on the environment.”

[FIND GreenFILE on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Sciences" category.]