Literati Public, one of our newest databases, is loaded with information! With Literati Public we receive instant access to over 400 full-text reference books, specially developed topic pages that include information taken from across all of our Gale databases, and live homework assistance for students. Check out more details after the jump.
**Before I dive into the post, I wanted to note that I have had a much better experience using Literati Public in Google Chrome as opposed to Internet Explorer. So, if pages are not loading correctly (or quickly), try switching browsers- if possible**
Literati Public’s specialty is reference. The database includes 3 million entries from encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, etc. That’s a huge influx of reference material at our fingertips. Among the many well-known publishers included are Dorling Kindersley, Grey House Publishing, SAGE Reference and Barron’s. Make sure to check out the Hutchinson Encyclopedia, which has music clips, and the Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. I also think their tutorials (found if you scroll down on the homepage) are potentially very beneficial, providing assistance and direction on topics like genealogy research, unemployment, job searching, and family reading.
The creators of Literati Public are especially proud of their topic pages, which are noted by an orange bar across the top of the screen. Because the database is customized to fit our own library system, Credo Reference staff has been able to integrate information from across all of our Gale databases along with Literati Public’s reference material to create a one-stop shop to find sources on particular topics. If you were to look up “antioxidant” you would find a brief introduction to the topic, including a definition and scientific information about the way antioxidants work. However, because it is a topic page, you can scroll down to find other resources on antioxidants that have been collected from our other databases, most notably General One File and General Reference Center Gold. You can view the top three most relevant results from the Gale databases, and by clicking on “more”, a slightly larger selection. Relevancy here is determined by the criteria set by each individual database, not by Credo Reference staff. I have not figured out a way to link directly to the rest of the Gale results from this location on the page, but if you scroll down to “Find More Information,” the FindItVirginia link should keep the search term intact and connect to the rest of the results. Other categories of information include books from the State Library of Virginia and Google Books, dictionary and encyclopedia entries from Credo Reference, images from Credo Reference, and media from Wikimedia Commons. Do be careful with the book categories however, because unfortunately, the fact that an item is shown does not mean that a patron has access to it for free. Items from the State Library of Virginia might be located in the closed stacks and Google Book suggestions are likely only available for purchase. While you are on a topic page, take a second to explore the mind map (found on the upper right hand side of the entry). This tool illustrates the way search terms are connected and could be useful for visual learners. I found it rather confusing to use myself, but it was fun to play around with. Do keep in mind that Literati Public’s topic pages are only available for certain subjects (of which there are now almost 10,000). If you were to conduct a search on a term that does not have a topic page your results would consist only of Literati Public’s reference material.
One of the most exciting things Literati Public offers, in my opinion, is the live homework help. This is perfect for kids who might not want to go talk to their teacher after class- it offers a level of anonymity, but you are still getting assistance from qualified staff. This service is available for kids grades 3-12 in the subjects of reading, writing, and math. Interaction occurs via a virtual chalkboard. Homework help hours are as follows:
Monday-Friday 3 pm-9pm
All students need to do is select their grade and the subject area of their inquiry, and they will be matched up with someone who fits their needs. It took me awhile to find the link to Homework Help on the homepage- just remember it’s a black box located vertically along the right-hand side of the screen.
There is so much to explore on Literati Public that it would be hard to include it all in a single blog post. What aspects of this new database are you most excited about?