SJPL Database Delight Training

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Consumer Health Complete (CHC) provides content covering health and wellness in plain English for non-medical experts.  Content ranges from mainstream medicine to the many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated medicine. This full text database covers topics such as aging, cancer, diabetes, drugs & alcohol, fitness, nutrition & dietetics, children’s health, men & women’s health, etc.  Not only does CHC include full text articles and reference books, but also includes images, diagrams, and video content.  Also included is information on prescription drugs and some herbal remedies.

Two tips: CHC does not contain a thesaurus of subject terms so you have to know the exact term for subject searching. It can also be difficult to intuitively find the area for browsing publications by title (first go to the advanced search page and then select the link for “publications”).

This database, like our others, is accessible from SJPL public computers and outside of the library with a San Jose Library card number and PIN.

For a good walk through of CHC, check out the Consumer Health Complete Tutorial.


  1. How many news reports with the subject “H1N1 (2009) influenza” were published in November 2009?
  2. Which publication is NOT available through CHC? (1) Nature (2) New Beginnings (3) Eating Out.
  3. Alli is a nonprescription supplement  for weight loss available over the counter in many drug stores.  A friend is considering buying  it and asks you to find out more information. Find a fact sheet in simple or plain English that that answers the following questions:  What are its side effects?  Who shouldn’t take this supplement? Do you need to be on a special diet? (Note: Alli is a brand name: this supplement may be known/marketed under other names.)

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


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.


  • 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!

Learning Express offers hundreds of online practice tests, PDF eBooks, skill building courses, and job search and workplace skills resources.  This database is the place to go for career tests especially if your library does not have a particular test book or you have an outdated print version.

Go to SJPL Articles and Databases. From outside the library log in with a San Jose Public Library card number and PIN.  First time users need to create an account. It’s very easy- just pick a username and password.  Once users have an account they can take practice tests online, finish the test later and get it scored at the end.  The nice thing is that the test answers are also explained.

There are 11 Learning Centers offered, which are the gateways to tests & other resources in a particular area:

  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • College Preparation
  • College Students
  • GED Preparation
  • Job Search & Workplace Skills
  • Jobs & Careers
  • Skill Building for Adults
  • U. S. Citizenship
  • Recursos para hispanohablantes (Resources for Spanish speakers)

Some examples of the great content in this resource are:

  • Practice Tests for SAT, ACT, High School Entrance, TOEFL, Commercial Drivers License, and Citizenship
  • All tests provide scores and answer explanations
  • A resume course with the ability to create, save, and print a PDF resume
  • Ability to search for a specific test using search box
  • Tests can be started, saved, and finished later

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Register for a Learning Express account
  2. Add Creating a Great Resume to your My Center then skip to the  Putting It All Together section and add Heading Information to your resume.
    1. Hint: Find this course under Job Search & Workplace Skills–>Job Search, Resumes, and Interviewing–>Creating Great Resumes and Cover Letters–>Creating a Great Resume
  3. Use the search box to find the LSAT and add one practice exam to your My Center
  4. Check out the Help links.

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

Are you and your customers frustrated by software upgrades? CustomGuide Online Software Training can help restore your confidence!

CustomGuide gives online training modules in computer basics and software. Tutorials are self-paced and let you track your own progress. Modules include:  Microsoft Office Products (97-2007( Access, Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook); Operating Systems (Windows, Vista, XP Mac OS X Tiger); Quickbooks and Sharepoint

All users (inside and outside the library) will first need to create an account using an email address and password

Discovery Exercise:

  1. Go to SJPL Articles and Databases and click on the Custom Guide Training  Link (under Computers and Technology)
  2. Create an account using your email address and password.
  3. Choose a course* from the list on the left hand side.  (suggestion: Computer Basics or Office 2007: What’s New.)
  4. Choose a lesson (middle right hand side) from the first chapter. You have the following options:
    • Answer assessment question. If you pass, you “testout”;  go to the next lesson.
    • Complete a short online tutorial, then answer an assessment question
    • Go Ref (Tutorial Reference), read, then answer an assessment question.

       5.     Go  back to Home and look at “My usage summary”

  *Before starting a course, you may wish to print out a Quick Reference Guide  (separate website), or look at the “Getting Started Quick Reference” at the  Custom Guide Home Page.

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

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