Are you a high school student trying to find sources for a research paper that is due tomorrow? Are all of the books on your topic checked out? Don’t forget that the Student Edition database is a great way to find authoritative and peer-reviewed articles. Read on to learn more about this resource.
Student Edition is recommended for grades 9-12 and provides millions of articles on a large variety of topics. Patrons will also get instant access to sixteen major reference sources and hundreds of maps from Blackbirch Press. I do want to make sure everyone is aware that content here is screened to be sure it is “age-appropriate.” This feature might be beneficial to some, but if it is a concern, I’d recommend General One File to make sure you are getting the maximum amount of information available on a particular topic. (The search functions on these databases are interchangeable, so that is a plus).
If you’ve used any of Gale’s general research databases, then you are well-prepared to use Student Edition. The format is very familiar, and access to filters and limiters is much better than with Junior Edition’s layout. Even with a simple keyword search, you have visual cues as to how you can limit your search in the columns along the left and right hand sides of the screen. Limit by: source type, document type, full text availability, publication titles, publication dates, articles that include images, and more.
The blue search bar is where most students will begin their research. Keep in mind that a keyword search will only look for your term in significant fields, not that whole document. These fields include titles, introductory text, authors, and subject terms. If you are interested in searching the entire document (useful especially if you’re looking for a particular phrase) you also have that option within the blue menu bar. More complex searching can be done using the yellow menu bar above the blue one. Go to “Subject Guide Search” to see a breakdown of your topic. “Publication Search” will assist in finding that one particular source you want to browse through. Here you can also find a link to a complete list of publications held by the database. “Advanced Search” provides a plethora of ways to simultaneously limit a search to a desired specification, and previous searches can be found in the last option on the yellow menu.
As of January 2014, there are 2101 titles that offer full text. As I mentioned before, Student Edition’s collection is much more inclusive than Junior Edition’s. It includes children’s magazines such as “Highlights for Children,” “Faces,” “Ranger Rick,” and “Skipping Stones” as well as upper-level sources like “Science,” “The Literary Review,” “Political Science Quarterly,” and “Public Health Reports.” Reference sources include “Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery,” “The Columbia Encyclopedia,” and “World Almanac and Book of Facts.” The list of publications page offers the same limiters as a general search, so it could be beneficial to play around with it to see what titles are offered in specific subject areas or age groups.