Digging into Database Content

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Most of us are generally familiar with how a database works, how to perform a simple search and download an article. But do you know which sources of information make up those results pages?

All of that information is readily available for you to discover, if you have the time.  Having an idea of some of the most common magazines, reference sources, and journals make up the database content might make answering patron questions easier.  Having that information will allow you to recommend more appropriate resources to assist in research.

MasterFile Premier title sources can be downloaded as Excel or HTML files from here: https://www.ebsco.com/products/research-databases/masterfile-premier . Included in the information is data on the start and stop date of full text data, web publishing delay information (embargo), and PDF availability.  This can be helpful, especially for patrons doing research with a specific publication target date.

Let’s take a look at how our patrons are using specific resources. In 2017 these magazines/journals are included in the most downloaded in Allegheny County:

  • Consumer Reports
  • American Record Guide
  • Knight-Ridder Business Newsfeed
  • Library Journal
  • Consumer Reports Buying Guide
  • USA Today
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Talent Development
  • New Yorker
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Time

You can find title lists for other resources as well.  To find title lists for Gale products like US History inContext, Literature Resource Center, or Opposing Viewpoints inContext scroll to the bottom of the page after you are inside the product and click on “About…”.  On the about page you will find title lists available.

Dustin/ Lynne, Sewickley Public Library

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Promoting Collections with NoveList Plus

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Summer Reading programs are fast approaching!  I know all of us are anticipating displays and activities that highlight our collections and encourage our library patrons to discover great titles, both fiction and nonfiction.

NovelList Plus is a fabulous resource for staff and public alike.  Although it is perfect for developing reading lists and printing out those long lists of books in series, as well as finding read-alikes, it’s a great website to encourage library users to discover new titles for themselves.

NovelList Plus has some ready-made flyers and bookmarks that can be adapted quite easily.  Let your patrons in on this great resource!

You can go to http://support.ebscohost.com/promotion/ to look for flyers such as these to encourage your patrons to explore NovelList Plus for themselves.

Lynne Schneider

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Novelist Plus is Here

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Allegheny County public library users now have access to Novelist Plus and Novelist Plus K-8.  Novelist Plus has the same interface as users are accustomed to but it now includes Nonfiction and Audio-book titles and authors not previously available.

Novelist Plus is a more powerful way to find Title, Author, or Series readalikes. There are about 70,000 of them!  It’s great for readers advisory by helping to find titles that appeal to a reader’s favorite things they like to read about.

Many people don’t know that Novelist Plus can also be used to find topical reading lists, book group discussion guides, curriculum guides, and more.

If you haven’t had a chance, give Novelist Plus a try and start telling you patrons what it has to offer.  And you can boost usage at your library by using some of Ebsco’s Novelist promotional materials.


Dustin, SewickleyPL

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Let That Be A Lesson!

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Where did the summer go? Your children and teen patrons can soak up the sun guilt-free a little longer, but those of you who serve teachers and other classroom support staff know that plans and preparations for fall learning are already in full swing. Did you know that some of our electronic resources contain materials that can help them prepare great lessons and classroom activities? Read on to see what you can find, and where to find it.

Teacher Reference Center 

trc_button_150x75Let’s not overlook the obvious: this resource has “teacher” right in its title, and yet your users might not know it exists. Educators looking for new ideas can consult abstracts of 260 periodicals for articles about topics such as:

  • Assessment
  • Curriculum Development
  • Instructional media
  • Literacy standards
  • Science & mathematics

plus a whole lot more!

Although Teacher Reference Center is not full-text, you can often get to the full-text by

  • adding other EBSCO databases to your search.
  • searching the article title in other county/POWER resources.
  • submitting an  ILL request.

For more immediate needs in the social sciences, Gale’s got you covered.

History in Context (U.S & World), Opposing Viewpoints

uhic-webThese three databases feature a taxonomy of content linked to current educational standards. When you enter each of these databases, you’ll see a link to “Curriculum Standards” at the top. Clicking this brings up a drop-down menu of national and state standards (World History in Context also includes international standards–neat, eh?).

whic-webOnce you’ve selected your state, you can choose to see the social sciences standards for either middle school or high school. Subdivisions within each standard are linked to specific database content. So, for example, teachers preparing a lesson for 9th graders on the rule of law could access U.S. History in Context and, using the taxonomy, jump directly to materials on that topic, as well as on civil rights and the common good.

ovic-webOpposing Viewpoints in Context contains curriculum standards for both the social sciences and the hard/applied sciences. There is also a “Maps” feature that provides not just maps, but all sorts of graphics teachers can use to share statistics or present key information visually.

Speaking of science…

Science Reference Center

SciRC_button_150x75This resource is a gold mine of information for the science teacher who could use support. The reference shelf, on the right-hand side of the landing page, contains links to:

  • More than 2000 lesson plans on a wide variety of topics.
  • Science experiments (full projects and support articles).
  • Research and citation guides to share with students.
  • Worksheets for chemistry, physics, biology, scientific math, and more.

Like the social science databases, Science Reference Center also contains curriculum standards organized by state, grade level, subject, and subtopic. However, instead of linking the user directly to the material, EBSCO provides suggested search strings.

Novelist / Novelist K-8


English teachers will love the support materials they’ll find in Novelist and Novelist K-8.   If they’re in a hurry, you can very quickly show your patrons how to search by lexile and Accelerated reader. If they’ve got time to spare, though, there are more materials to show off.

If you select the “Quick Links” tab in either database, then click “Curriculum Connections,” you’ll find tons of book lists on common classroom themes. “Books to Reinforce the Alphabet,” for example, suggests books for teaching individual letters. Results can be limited by age, subject, and a variety of other ways. These include curriculum standards for those seeking specific lesson plans to illustrate a particular point.

logoNOVELISTK8Lg“Picture Book Extenders,” the last option under “Quick Links,” also contains curriculum standards-aligned activities that can be used in conjunction with specific picture books. This option, like “Curricular Connections,” is available in both Novelist and Novelist K-8, and results have the same set of limiters mentioned above. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will find these especially helpful as they pave the road to independent reading.

Novelist‘s book discussion guides are a good resource for high school English teachers looking for additional questions to get students thinking about assigned texts. Also located in the “Quick Links” section, these searches can be limited to teen audiences for best results. Each discussion guide contains a list of questions and answers, as well as recommended read-alikes that can help teachers get a curious child to their next book. Please note: this option is not available in Novelist K-8.

Although classroom teachers are the primary audience, these resources might also be helpful for homeschooling parents, child care center workers, or volunteer tutors. With a little help from you and a database, your patrons prepping for back-to-school time might just breathe a little more easily this year.

Continue ReadingLet That Be A Lesson!

New science database available now!

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Good news… we now have access to Science Reference Center through POWER Library. Science Reference Center is an Ebsco database so the interface and searching features should be familiar to many of you. This is a great replacement for the county subscription to Science in Context which was cancelled in September 2015.

Description of Science Reference Center:

This e-resource contains full text for hundreds of science encyclopedias, reference books, periodicals, and other reliable sources. In addition, Science Reference Center includes more than 280,000 high-quality science images from sources such as UPI, Getty, NASA, National Geographic and the Nature Picture Library.

Links to the database will soon be added to the Find Articles pages at erec.einetwork.net. In the meantime, you can access the resource from POWER Library. Please remember to add the links to your library database page if your library  manages their own list of databases.

Happy researching!

Sharon (Mt. Lebanon)

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What Does the MasterFile Downgrade Mean?

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You may have heard that Ebsco’s MasterFile product that we provide for county library users is being downgraded in 2016 to save money in response to budget cuts.  The change will mean we now have access to MasterFile Premiere instead of Complete. You will notice this change on erec.einetwork.net in the next couple of weeks.

What does this change mean for your patrons?  MasterFile is a tiered product with several levels of access. The good news is that we still have a decent product in Premiere, which is a more comprehensive product than Main Edition (which is offered through PowerLibrary). The bad news is that we are losing about 1300 titles of books and magazines only available in Complete.

Here is the complete list of titles lost:

The DRC committee decided that the list of titles lost included mostly less popular, low demand items and the loss wouldn’t have a great impact.

In 2015 the top 20 titles retrieved in the database were:

  1. Consumer Reports
  2. Consumer Reports Buying Guide
  3. American Record Guide
  4. Time Magazine
  5. School Library Journal
  6. Billboard
  8. Library Journal
  9. Time.com
  10. Educational Leadership
  11. Money
  12. Foreign Affairs
  13. USA Today
  16. The Columbia encyclopedia
  17. Education
  20. People

All of these titles will still be available in MasterFile Premiere!

For a complete list of titles accessible through premiere visit: https://www.ebscohost.com/public/masterfile-premier

Dustin S.
Sewickley Public Library



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Holiday e-Cooking

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Have a Holiday Cooking and Entertaining display?  Why not publicize our e-Cookbooks?!

Overdrive has an entire category of Adult Non-Fiction dedicated to Food & Cooking.  A search for “entertaining” will also yield a few good books.

cookbooks overdrive

EBSCO e-Books also has a cooking category directly accessible from the homepage.

REMINDER: Don’t forget about Overdrive’s Seasonal Promo Packs.  These kits include a variety of marketing materials that cover the entire year!

overdrive seasonal promotions

rob – Bethel Park Public Library

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Explore With Explora

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Ebsco recently released a new “Explora” interface available for several databases offered through POWER library. They provide a more intuitive search experience for patrons and feature an appealing, mostly user-friendly design that, according to Ebsco, can be easily viewed on mobile devices.  Our brief experience with the interfaces on a mobile device, however, did not bear this final claim out.

Three Explora interfaces are available:

  • Elementary Student Research (replaces Searchasaurus)
  • Middle School Student Research (replaces Kids Search)
  • Public Library Search (new)

In each case, from the Explora home screen, you can view an image carousel of timely topics, updated weekly.  The carousel images are attractive and will lead to further exploration of the topics included.

explora screen shot
Explora interface

Below the image carousel are categories to browse for research ideas. Click a link to one of the featured topics OR click on the More link to view an alphabetical list of all topics in that category. Want to know more about the Big Bang Theory (the concept, not the TV show)? Or perhaps you were the biggest loser, as I (Karen) was, in March Madness. You can brush up on the finer points of Fantasy sports leagues and mathematics.

Basic and advanced searches can also be performed. For the basic search, just enter your search term(s) in the search box on the home screen. The autocomplete feature will anticipate your search terms, so even if you misspell a term, relevant results will appear in the drop-down menu.

The advanced search link is in a familiar location, just below the basic search box. Unfortunately, the advanced search page has not been updated to the same degree as the main interface and will still prove to be overwhelming to some, perhaps especially younger researchers.

Advanced search in Explora interface.
Advanced search in Explora interface.

All-in-all, though, the Explora interfaces are an improvement to the dated and stale Ebsco interfaces we’ve been using.  They should appeal to patrons.  Look for them to be added to the countywide database page soon.

Karen S. (Northland) & Sarah B. (CLP)

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“Company Profies” in Business Source Premier

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You can get  company profiles (thumbnail sketches, or in-depth) in Business Source Premier.  Simply click on “Company Profiles” located  on the blue toolbar at the top of the launch  page. On this next page you’ll see  a listing of companies  (international in scope) with numerical names like “7-Eleven, Inc.”,  “3M Company”, an “84 Lumber Company”. This is followed by an A to Z  list that goes form from  “A-Sonic Aerospace Limited” on through to  “ZeptoMetrix Corporation”.  To get a thumbnail sketch of the company  that you have chosen, click on that company’s name, and to get a more in-depth profiles click on “PDF Complete Report” that is located next to the company name. If you don’t want to search through the list a searchbox is provided.


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Drive Your Patrons to Auto Repair Reference Center

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I used this EBSCO support site to make some pretty nice bookmarks for the Auto Repair Reference Center.  (You’ll find promo materials for other Ebsco products too.)

Just click on “Auto Repair Reference Center”; then “ARRC bookmark A4.pdf”. Their template only allows for three lines on the back of the bookmark, so there’s not a lot of room for instructions, but they are great for pointing people in the right direction.

Check out my bookmarks here: AutoRepairReferenceCenter bookmark A4

Mary Lee Hart (Northland)

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