World Bank eLibrary
World Bank; elibrary.worldbank.org
content Established in 1944, the World Bank supports developing countries in their missions to compete in the global economy and end poverty. As part of this ambitious remit, the organization offers policy advice, research, and analysis to the nations involved. The by-product is a major publishing operation: according to the publicity material that is available for distribution to your patrons (see ow.ly/uX0E2), the Bank produces books, working papers, and journal articles on “development policy, finance, health, education, climate change, aid effectiveness, and poverty.”
The newly updated version of the ten-year-old eLibrary database offers access to all of these materials. This currently means 2,211 books; 5,856 working papers, mostly dating from the 1990s to today, though some material is from earlier; and the full runs of three journals—The World Bank Economic Review and World Bank Research Observer, both from 1996–present, and Development Outreach, 2008–11. New material is added immediately as it is published.
The homepage of the database showcases new material, upcoming webinars and other training opportunities, and news from the World Bank.
Usability Material is browsable by format (books, journals, working papers), topic, or region.
Using the format option and clicking on each of the three types is a good way to see an overview of what is in this database. The homepage for each type displays what’s new and offers subtypes—clicking on books, for instance, leads to choices including annual publications and regional series.
The 28 top-level topics start with agriculture and end with water supply and sanitation, and in between include subjects such as gender, poverty reduction, and urban development. Each subheading is a link that leads to the content itself. Clicking on “Gender,” for example, produces 789 results such as a chapter (breakdown by chapter is new with this release) called “Attitudes and Perceptions of Inclusion,” that is listed as “In: Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity”; a working paper called “Women’s Legal Rights over 50 Years: Progress, Stagnation or Regression?”; and the journal article “Violent Conflict and Gender Inequality” from World Bank Research Observer.
The handy “Regions” option offers six choices: Africa, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and South Asia, with each regional page in turn offering a listing of the countries that are assisted by the bank as well as relevant research materials.
Each hit, however users get to it, provides useful metadata on the item in question—in the case of a book, the bibliographic information lists book or chapter title and author(s), series title if any, date, and links to an abstract and to a PDF of the material (recent chapters are also available in HTML).
Quick and advanced searches are possible, with the quick-search box topping every page. It’s easy: the database suggests that the box can be used to look for “authors, titles, keywords, etc.” A search for the keyword “microfinance” quickly returned 1,545 results, the first page of which looked relevant. That’s a large number of hits, of course, but users can take advantage of advanced search options and Boolean operators to narrow the search to terms in an article title, author, keywords, abstract, or to anywhere in the piece. It’s also possible to start with an advanced search. Narrowing the microfinance hits to items that mention “Bangladesh” in their abstract resulted in 42 highly relevant hits at a speed that will please busy researchers. A list of filters is available alongside the results, prompting users to further narrow by content type, topic, region, country, keyword, publication date, etc.
By setting up personal accounts, patrons can access additional functions of the database. The emailing of results lists and articles and easy citation creation are expected features of databases now and this product doesn’t disappoint there. It also includes less common extras though: the ability to create alerts and RSS feeds based on content type or specified search criteria. Users can sign up for citation alerts, too, which is a valuable feature in research institutions.
Behind the scenes are many useful features for librarians and administrators, such as the indexing of this material in discovery services and the possibility to include it in OPACs and federated searches; institutional customizing opportunities; COUNTER-compliant usage statistics; downloadable MARC records and metadata, with email alerts when new such material is added; and SUSHI usage reports for consortia (new with this release).
Pricing Prices are based on FTE for academic institutions and range between $3,700 and $8,600.
verdict Solid content in a pleasingly clean, easy-to-use interface. A great choice for academic libraries and large public libraries serving those doing social research.