From the Guinness World Records 2015 to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Reality Shock!
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Not for the first time, librarians and publishers are confronting what can feel like an impasse. The system of short-term loan (STL) of e-monographs, which was conceived as a form of digital interlibrary loan (ILL), is seen by many libraries as the only way they can afford to provide such materials and by many publishers as the beginning of the end of their business.
Librarians and library users have a variety of resources to turn to for their information needs: Internet search engines such as Google, common or institutional knowledge, the physical collection, and electronic databases. For public libraries, the term database describes a searchable collection of electronic records to which a library subscribes. It may also be used more generally to describe other electronic or Internet-based resources the library pays for, such as language learning or résumé-building sites. Access to and successful use of these resources is rarely intuitive and often frustrating for library patrons, who may be unaware of their existence until the moment of need.
This year’s best database roundup, as nominated by LJ’s readers, includes an intriguing mix of the tried-and-true as well as upstarts on their way to finding a place in all librarians’ toolkits. The members of our profession have always welcomed fresh ways of finding information and helping patrons, and the resources listed below offer useful, absorbing, and in some cases attractive avenues to explore along with some new ways to assist.