Thing 9: Databases & Search Tools

Student Using the Card Catalogue in the Library, 1981. London School of Economics. No known copyright restrictions.

Student Using the Card Catalogue in the Library, 1981. London School of Economics. No known copyright restrictions.

At my library, we have access to the NOVEL NY databases, several encyclopedia and reference databases, and a set of streaming media databases. At last count, my students have access to 123 different research and periodical databases and periodical collections (subsets of periodical databases).

To make it easier for students to find the best databases to meet their needs, I organized these databases in a social bookmarking website. Together by using a combination of javascript and RSS feeds, I have been able to easily create and post specific sets of these databases onto my class project pages (web pages, wiki, blog, and now LibGuides) for specific classes and projects.

I have also explored numerous database widgets and I use several of these on my library webpage to provide my students with instant access to these resources. Several database publishers have also created apps for mobile devices and I use these with students in my library. My catalog also does federated searching, simultaneously allowing students to cross-searching most of our databases. As long as my teachers are willing, I have numerous different tools available to connect their students to high-quality database resources. However, connecting students to the library databases is just part of the educational picture.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a new representative from one of my database publishers. He wanted to introduce himself and to show us some of the special features and curriculum-related resources available on that particular vendor’s database. I was familiar with many of the resources found in that database since we subscribe to it, I really had not really explored these curriculum-related and information-literacy resources. I know that other publishers of K-12 library databases also have similar instructional resources available.

With this in mind, I plan to create a second set of bookmarks for these other supplemental resources for my classroom teachers. This will enable them to easily connect to high-quality instructional resources as they plan their CCLS lessons. This would also allow me share resources with school administrators, parents, and others when the topic of student instruction is discussed.

While the publishers write their supplemental instructional resources for their products, these could easily be used with other databases or instructional materials. By connecting my teachers to these instructional materials, we can more easily create rich, meaningful learning experiences for our students that use high-quality library resources that are designed to improve student learning.