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Monday, February 25, 2008

Library databases - have you tried them?

Have you ever searched high and low to find the perfect gift for someone, only to have them open it with a shrug that says, "What the heck is that?"

As librarians, we work hard to choose the most useful and appropriate resources for you, our patrons. Those resources include dozens of online databases - convenient search tools that allow you to access newspaper/magazine articles, directory information (phone numbers, addresses, and more), investment and business information, biographies, auto repair manuals, practice tests for students at all levels -- honestly, it's pretty amazing stuff. Our fear? That you may not even be aware that we offer these services through our Web site!

So, here's a short, sweet survey to help us learn more about you and how you use our library databases. Short - just 6 questions, some of which are optional. Sweet - your results are completely anonymous, no need to enter any contact information, and you can fill out the survey online, when/where it's convenient for you.
Click on this link to take the survey

If you have never tried our databases but would like to give them a whirl before completing the survey, click on this link to browse our Subject Guides. Pick a topic area, then you'll get a list of appropriate databases to search. Used to doing your searching on Google? You may be pleasantly surprised. We can offer you magazine/newspaper articles from thousands of publications, all at the touch of a button. Many of the articles go back several decades, some as far back as 1849 (Chicago Tribune). You will find consumer-level information but also information geared toward the professional. Reference USA compiles databases of US and Canadian businesses, health care professionals as well as residential directory information. Morningstar is a top-notch investment resource that's also easy to use. If the kids need homework help, try our variety of online encyclopedias and reference books. If anyone in your household is taking an important, standardized test, explore our Learning Express Library of practice tests.

Almost all of the databases are available from outside the library, if you have a DPPL card. When you want to log-in from your home or office computer, have your card handy and click on the house icon to the right of the database name.

Try the databases, take our survey. Help us provide the best resources for you and also let us know the best ways to keep you informed about what we have available and how to use our resources. Thanks. We will post the survey results and comments here in PlainTalk.

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