Monday, October 12, 2009

New Database: Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

Sawyer Library recently added a new database via the Boston Region contract that will be a helpful tool for anyone researching contemporary "hot button" social issues, with an eye towards a balanced, both-sides approach to coverage.

Called Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, it is, according to the publisher Gale/Cengage, "a full-text resource covering today’s hottest social issues, from Terrorism to Endangered Species, Stem Cell Research to Gun Control. Drawing on acclaimed series published by Greenhaven Press and other Gale imprints, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center brings together all the information that’s needed to fully understand an issue: pro and con viewpoint articles, reference articles that provide context, full-text magazines, academic journals, and newspapers, primary source documents, government and organizational statistics, multimedia, including images and podcasts, links to hand-selected web sites, and more."

The database is very user-friendly. When you go to the opening screen you will notice that there is a long, two-column list of some of the most "popular" topics. But you can also do your own basic search using the box on the left.

Let's say that even though I see "Animal Rights" listed in the hot topics, I decide to look for materials that speak directly to vegetarianism. If I do a basic search for that

The default tab is the "Viewpoints" section that presents arguments about the topic, like the entry "Human Consumption of Animals is Immoral" from a 1999 Opposing Viewpoint Digest. More up-to-date materials are also available, like an item entitled "A Vegan Lifestyle Is Necessary to Stop the Mistreatment of Animals" by Bruce Friedrich, from Current Controversies: Rights of Animals, 2009.

And note those other colorful tabs above the results that lead to materials like "Reference Books," "Academic Journals" and "Statistics." For different topics you will find more or less material of various levels of usefulness at these other tabs.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is just another tool for those interested in a pro-con debate-oriented presentation of social topics. CQ Researcher is another excellent source for both sides to key social issues. And a periodical available through Academic Search Complete, called Congressional Digest, is another very useful pro-con resource.

For more on Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, you can take a look at some materials prepared by the publisher: An Overview Factsheet PDF, A Search Tips Guide, and A PowerPoint Demonstration of database use.

[FIND Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center on our "Databases by Subject" List on the second column of our "Social Sciences" list. ]

No comments: