Database Spotlight



These days people are in information overload. There are so many ways to get information and some of it is sketchy. Just the way book reviews and book recommendations help people choose books, the library can help people navigate the flood of information on the internet by identifying reliable information.

This is part of a series highlighting databases available through the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library website.

Some people are asking: "Is it unfair to the publishing companies, for the library to give free access to databases instead of having individuals pay to access them?" The answer is "NO!" No one asks if it is unfair to bookstores for the library to loan best selling books instead of buying them. This is a good example of your tax dollars at work for you.

Libraries are not just "books" anymore. Though there are wonderful collections in the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, we also subscribe to many online databases. Databases are an online resource containing thousands of newspaper and magazine articles in addition to biographical and medical information, genealogical sources, encyclopedia articles, and general reference materials that cover a wide variety of subjects and provide reliable information. The library subscribes to databases in 12 different subject categories. There are even specific databases for children and teens to help them with their homework. Most of the information retrieved is in full text articles. And the good news is that the databases are available 24/7 from home, school or work. All you need is a library card to gain remote access. However there are a few databases that can only be accessed in the library.

BOOKS IN PRINT: Do you want to search for new and/or forthcoming books? Then Books in Print is what you want. This standard reference is familiar to many library users and most book readers know what you are referring to. The database contains the same information as the books. The beauty of the library having an online database is that for about the same price this information is available in all the library branches, as well as from home. Also it is continuously updated so we no longer have to wait for supplements to arrive in the mail.

Bowker produces this online database and it is a very easy to use interface where you can search for new or forthcoming books by subject, author, title, publisher -- even by series! Thousands of full-text book reviews are also available as well as an Author Biography Database that gives you access to over 11,000 short biographies on the world's most influential authors.

Book groups will find this database very helpful. It is a wonderful resource. Try it - you'll like it!!

So when you think of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, think bigger than "books and information" -- think electronic resources and use your library card to access all of this information 24/7. If you need help using the databases, please contact the Reference Desk at the Central Library (979-7151 ext 4) or

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