Popular Licensed Databases: Getting the Most from Your Library's Subscriptions (online learning course)
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
March 11, 2008 - April 7, 2008
Licensed databases don't come cheap! To help our users get the most out of this investment, all library staff who perform reference tasks need to have a reasonable mastery of the latest resources and interfaces.
- Are you a competent database searcher but would like to become more expert?
- Is reference service new to you or something you do infrequently, so you don't feel you have a handle on your library's electronic resources?
- Are you sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer number of available databases and wish you had more experience with some of the choices "down the list?"
In this course you will learn the essential features of many of the most widely used library databases, and will also get better acquainted with the "hidden gems" among your library's less frequently used resources.
Workshop Description: This four-week online learning course will provide opportunities to explore and practice using a variety of databases, including: article aggregator packages (such as EBSCOhost MasterFile, or Gale OneFile); reference databases such as Literature Resource Center; and subject specific databases for business and other fields. Through individual and group exercise and discussions, you will learn practical skills to help you make better use of the electronic resources your library already has, as well as techniques for getting up to speed quickly on databases that are new to you. The instructor will provide templates, cheat sheets, and a webliography, as well as lots of practical tips that can be used immediately.
Because every library has selected different electronic resources, based upon local needs and budgets, this course will focus on the principles of database searching, techniques for going beyond the basics, and tips for becoming proficient with new or unfamiliar databases. While the course cannot be tailored to any one library's specific tools, you will get lots of practice using your own library's resources, as well as a chance to see some products outside of your library's current subscriptions.
During the course, you will be doing exercises and taking quizzes. Your regular participation in the online discussion forums will be an important source of reinforcement for what you have explored in the online learning process.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Module One: Getting Started With Database Searching
- Types of library subscription databases
- What is in the black box? Learning about database content
- Using your learning style to master new tools
- Module Two: Beyond the Basics
- Advanced and field searching
- Getting results: emailing and saving results, .pdf format results
- Database help systems
- Getting the additional training from vendors that your library is paying for
- Module Three: Discovering Your Library's Hidden Treasures
- Learning a "new to you" database
- Using subject-specific resources
- Module Four: The Changing Nature of Library Databases
- Visual searching, clustering, and other database enhancements
- E-book collections as library databases
- Federated searching as database discovery tools
Online Learning Details:
This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation that will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. Students should expect to commit to spending a minimum of 2 to 2½ hours per week on this course in order to be successful. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week's assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first four weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community who uses library subscription databases to help the public find information, particularly those librarians or paraprofessional staff who are less than frequent users of their library's subscription databases.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for "Word Viewer." For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
To be most successful in this course you should be willing to share information with your colleagues and be willing to spend time reading and participating in the weekly discussion boards.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- Mozilla 1.4 and above (which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1), Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and $150 for those out-of-state.
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on March 11, 2008.