Thursday, November 17, 2011

Databases Worth Exploring: Ready eReference

It's term paper season, so remember that besides our many databases that get you good quality journal literature, and our online catalog (OPAC) that identifies electronic and good, old-fashioned paper books, we also have many sources of eReference books.

Electronic reference books are easy to cross-search and are a great way to get familiar with a topic. You can get a basic overview and background on a person, place, thing or concept. Then, once you have that grounding in the subject, and have become familiar with the common vocabulary of the field, you can more readily move on to the journal databases and do more informed searches there. Our two best collections of electronic encyclopedias and handbooks includes Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), which is a very broad-based collection of reference books from a wide variety of publishers (not just Gale).

The basic search on the opening screen works well, just put in the concept you're interested in and you can read the reference entries in either HTML or in PDF form (just look for the Adobe icon).

Are you interested in topics in the social sciences or in social aspects other disciplines? If so, then Sage eReference is a great place to do some reading.

A search for social exchange theory, gets me lots of encyclopedia and handbook entries that would help me understand the theories and the theorists behind them. Sage entries usually suggest additional key readings at the end of their signed entries. (Remember, this is not anonymous, who-knows-who-wrote-it-or-when content like what you find in Wikipedia. These entries are written by scholars whose writing has undergone rigorous editorial review. And the kind of entries you find here are much more reliable as a starting place!)

For even more basic ready reference--quick definitions and such--consider Credo Reference

Credo has dozens (and dozens) of dictionaries and basic encyclopedias in just about every topic, as well as basic English and even bilingual dictionaries, available 24/7. (Just authenticate with your name and Suffolk ID number, if you are off-campus.)

And if you are struggling to find the right word or synonym while writing your paper, Credo even has two thesauri, the Bloomsbury Thesaurus and Roget's II New Thesaurus to help you polish up your writing.

The tools are here, whenever and wherever you need them. So take advantage of this great content. And if you have questions, stop by and see us!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recurring Reference Question: How Do I Get Economist Articles Online?

Here's another question we get a lot. Teachers, especially in the Globalization class (SIB 101) want students to read articles from the London-based news magazine, The Economist. This is easy to do through our databases, and here's how. (And this technique would work with any journal or periodical you choose.)

First, put the name of the journal, economist, into the eJournal Locator box to the right of our homepage, as illustrated below.

When you submit this search there will be multiple listing for "economist," but the top option, Economist (London) is the one you want.

You'll note that there are several options for accessing current ("to present") issues of the The Economist. Although Gale databases, like Academic OneFile (AOF) usually get the latest issue a couple of days sooner, many people prefer to use the Ebsco database options like Academic Search Complete (ASC) and Business Source Complete (BSC). Pick whatever option you like.

If you click on Academic OneFile, the landing page will look like this:

Note that you have a couple of approaches you can take. If you want to look at ALL of a current issue, pick that issue from the link list in the middle of the screen. However, if you know that the article you want has a particular keyword in the title, or an unusual author name, you could, instead, "Search within publication" using the search box to the left. If you click on an issue, all the articles in it will be listed with a link. In that case, you can also refine and limit your search/browsing using the options in the left frame.

If you click on an Ebsco database like ASC and BSC from the eJournal Locator results, the landing page will look like the below. Similar to AOF, you have the option of either clicking on a date and expanding a list to browse complete issues OR in the upper right is a link to "Search within this publication."

If you know that the article has an unusual word silvery in the title, you might pick the "search within" option. On the search page, the journal is supplied by the database. Simply use boolean operation (that is, the word and) and add the word you want. In this case, I would add and silvery to my Economist search. As below.
I you have an uncommon word or words to look for, you might have an easy time spotting the article you need. (You can change the sort from Relevance to Date in the dark blue border, if you need to.)

That's the basic approach. I you need help, talk to us at Reference!