Introducing E-Reference Ratings

Remember when Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch and proclaimed he couldn’t contain himself? Did you think he was nuts, E-Reference Ratingsor were you like me and thought that the man could just be genuinely happy? I’m sitting in my cubicle on this cold November day and feeling a similar kind of joy (without the jumping part) about our newly-launched E-Reference Ratings feature. Here’s why: No other project I have ever worked on as LJ’s Reference Editor took more time to produce, involved more manpower, demanded more editorial scrutiny, or resulted in something with as much potential as this.


E-Reference Ratings is LJ’s living online tool (to be updated with new content throughout the year) providing summaries and evaluations of hundreds of electronic resources in a spectrum of subject areas. Use it to educate yourself about what stands out in each category and stay on top of new releases and updates, compare similar databases, and decide what best suits your library’s needs. And if you do your part and send us feedback, we promise to do ours and make it everything you want it to be. Together, we can build something pretty darn cool.



  1. Kathy Welton says:

    This is a well-organized set of resources that I plan on using on a regular basis. I have already started using the literature category to research a current project. Looking forward to making this my first stop on important research projects. Thanks for compiling this!

  2. Audrey says:

    Four stars for ease of use and value–this is going to be of huge help as a compass for time-crunched librarians (is there any other type?).

  3. Denise in Vernon, CT says:

    This feature is a great idea that provides librarians with excellent resources and a place to “

  4. Traci A. says:

    I too see incredible potential for this – something that *is* living, because as all LJ readers have varying depths of interest, topical knowledge, etc., and as an online product can be pliable and ever-changing (and updating), the users of these products can collectively promote strengths, close gaps, and even influence the tools, features, updates, and products the database companies work so hard to enhance. The best thing that can happen to future e-ratings: user feedback. The more collaborative the growth, the more adaptive the resource will be & the more reflective of everyday users. Very exciting!

  5. Savannah Schroll Guz says:

    I totally agree, Traci. This tool will help database producers know what is needed to make their resource more attractive, user-friendly, and generally practical for the people they are marketing to and, essentially, working for. I think the ratings get to the heart of what essential and what’s problematic about the databases, so positive alterations can be made. Also, feedback for us, the reviewers, is really valuable, too–that way, we know what’s important to the people who use these databases every day and the problems (or triumphs!) they’ve encountered. The e-world makes this a genuinely exciting time to be a librarian *and* a researcher!

  6. Ellen Knowlton says:

    Thank you, LJ!! Each year, our consortium evaluates severale-reference products for group purchase. Your list will help us identify which products we want to take a closer look at. I think these reviews will stimulate competition between the vendors and bring us better resources. Great idea, great team effort!

  7. Kathy Koenig says:

    This is a “just in time” for me, as I begin to look for new databases. It’s great to have everything in one place. Any possibility of adding an e-books section to the list?