SJPL Database Delight Training

Archive for May 2010

Literary Reference Center includes popular as well as scholarly publications. Think widely – you might find a biography, critical work, interview or even online link to a work by a well-known journalist, songwriter, philosopher or scientist. Students will find helpful guidelines on literary research, writing research papers and critical reading.  Also a good source of background materials for Book Group discussion leaders.

Other features include: a literary timeline; terms from the American Heritage Dictionary; 4th Edition; criticism and review articles

Besides the Magill’s summaries (quick overviews), I like the Browse authors and Browse works feature. You don’t need a name –for authors you can search under Country, Culture (good for hyphenated groups e.g. Korean-American), Genre, and Movement. For works you can search under Genre and Location.

Warning:

  • In Browse mode, scroll down the page for links to related information .
  • For  list of publications, go to Advanced Search

Users outside SJPL libraries will need to sign in with barcode and pin number

Discovery exercises: go to Literary Reference Center from  the A-Z listing of SJPL Articles and Databases page.

Watch 5 minute tutorial (example: John Steinbeck). Go back to main page.

  1. From Browse most studied authors, choose an author (or go to the author in focus: home page right hand side). Scroll down to see cross referenced features.
  2. Find authors who were part of the Counterculture movement.
  3. Find works written with California as a location.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to register your participation, and then go bid on a prize!

The Sanborn Maps collection features large scale images of old fire insurance maps that include information about structural locations, property lines, and structure building dates etc.  On the incredibly rare chance that someone will ask specifically for a California historical fire insurance map, here is your resource!  Additionally, these are useful for people looking for the history of their properties, property lines, when structures were built, and general history of the local area.

These maps contain data that fire insurance companies used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This data included information such as historical street names, house numbers, building size, building use and construction details.

Access from outside the library with a San Jose Public Library Card number and PIN

Discovery Exercise:

Read the Sanborn Maps FAQ’s and help topics first, then answer the following question.

  1. I used to have family that lived around the 700 block of Almaden Avenue, San Jose in the 1930’s. Can I get a map of what the neighborhood looked like? (Hint: use index sheet to find sheet number)

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to register your participation, and then go bid on a prize!

San Jose Mercury News (SJPL)’s  main feature is its access to past articles in the San Jose Mercury News from 1985 onwards. SJPL’s subscription goes beyond just this local news source – Newsbank’s America’s Newspapers: Special Reports  has some great resources for researching current news topics

You can search by limiting keywords or phrases within section, all text, section, page, word count, lead or first paragraph, author/byline, caption or source

This database does not include advertisements (including paid funeral announcements), articles by syndicated columnists, photographs or illustrations.

You need a library card to access this outside the library.

Discovery Exercises: San Jose Mercury News

  1. When did Adobe Systems relocate to downtown San Jose?
  2. Find articles about President Clinton’s visit to San Jose in 1998.
  3. Have any articles by Jane Light appeared in the SJMN?

See also SJPL Research Guide for San Jose Mercury News and Timeline for availability of San Jose Mercury News (Sharepoint) to find past and present SJMN news articles in the SJPL Library system.

Go back to the first page (America’s Newspapers).

Nice to know, but not essential : America’s Newspapers: America’s News Magazines indexes 10 popular magazines and news sources, most of which are also available through EBSCO subscriptions. Search by limiting keywords or phrases within section, all text, section, page, word count, lead or first paragraph, author/byline, caption or source. The same limitations apply as for the Mercury News above.

Other SJPL NewsBank features (left hand panel) cover current events and are helpful for students working on assignments for current news topics.

These are:

  1. Hot topics (current topics in the news) —gives suggested questions to consider and search strategies for news sources.
  2. Special reports links to articles, background information, images, maps, suggested search terms, maps and websites.

Discovery Exercise: America’s Newspapers: Special Reports

Go to  Special Reports (left hand panel) ; scroll down to see complete coverage. Choose a report of interest and look at the images and background information.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to register your participation, and then go bid on a prize!

Biography Reference Center

Dear, sweet little Timmy has procrastinated on his biography homework assignment and waited until the last moments before the library closes to get his book on Martin Luther King Jr.  What’s the annoyed library employee to do when all the books on Martin Luther King Jr. have all been checked out?  We show Timmy how to access Biography Reference Center from home and send him on his way!

Biography Reference Center™ offers a comprehensive collection of more than 450,000 full-text biographies. This is a great resource to check when your library does not have a print biography available for a student.  These biographies have citations and are from reputable sources.

You can search by name, occupation, country, and nationality in Basic Search and limit by life span of person, gender, and other limiters in Advanced Search.  You can also browse Biographies by Genre such as Inventors, Explorers, and African Americans among many others.

When you don’t have a specific person to search for, besides browsing Biographies by Genre, you can also just use the basic search and enter something such as “French Scientists” or “Leaders”.  This is very useful since many students come to the library and say “I need a biography on any person from China” In which case you can just type in “China” in the basic search box and browse. Don’t forget you can also use Advanced Search and set limiters such as lifespan and biographies with pictures.

Discovery Exercise

1. I need a biography on a Japanese Political Leader. Can you find me one?

2. I need a biography with a picture of the person. I just need any scientist. Who do you recommend and how do I know there’s a picture?

*Access from outside the library with a San Jose Public Library card number and PIN

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to register your participation, and then go bid on a prize!


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