Researchers’ Advisory | Reference 2015 How-To

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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.

Best Databases 2014

Sirs

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.

American Consumer Culture: Market Research and American Business, 1935–1965; Global Plants | Reference eReviews

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A database of documents that are intended to “collect, preserve, and interpret the unfolding history of American enterprise.” A digital library of plant specimens from around the world.

Bibles for Bonsai, Spice and Herbs; Moderate Islam, Plus Short Takes | Reference Reviews

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A high-level overview of what one needs to know to choose and grow a bonsai with success, a beautiful volume that covers herbs and spices with a personal touch, a valuable resource on Native American history, a moderate view of Islam.

China: Reference eReviews

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As of July 2014, China continues to be the world’s most populous country. The resources we examine here focus on the China of today and look at the country’s past, from China Data Online to Policing the Shanhai International Settlement, 1894–1945.

Barsanti on Film, Liebman on Health & Fitness, U.S. Birth & Death Rates | Reference Reviews

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­Liebman’s no-nonsense title goes back to the basics, educating users on how to do specific exercises; Vital Statistics of the United States is a core title that is ideal for ready-reference collections.

What to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Reference Interview

Harmeyer

by Dave Harmeyer Some of the tips to remember when improving your reference interview skills go back to basics. They begin with studying the approaches that your patrons have to the library. We may assume that patrons want to find information themselves, usually on the Internet. But by the time they make the effort to […]

Facts That Astonish, Everything To Know About Zombies, Race and Racism in the United States, & More | Reference Reviews

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Well-rounded essays offer concise perspectives of the vice president’s time in office, a fascinating, informative collection that anyone interested in the history of zombies will want to read, a focus on Muhammad and his legacy.

Voxgov; GeoScienceWorld eBook Collections | Reference eReviews

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Voxgov provides access to “unfiltered original source news, media, and information from all branches of the U.S. federal government….” An ebook platform that covers the breadth of the geoscience disciplines

People of the Founding Era; PrivCo | Reference eReviews

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While PFE is not an intuitively obvious resource…it does offer access to information on individuals who have otherwise been ignored by mainstream historical documentation; PrivCo simplifies research and is recommended for academic institutions.

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