Welcome to a fantastic, streamlined database with tools that students (and casual researchers) will love. The eLibrary database has nearly 80 million online documents and can be found under the E-Content heading on the library’s database page. Like General One File, it is chock full of various types of material, such as current newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, books, images, videos, and animations.
I really like the way the homepage is set up; there are icons representing different formats of information, allowing the searcher to immediately narrow in on the type of document or file they’re looking for. It’s simple and intuitive. But don’t forget to check out the advanced search which, unlike the other general databases I’ve discussed previously, provides a limiter for reading level (early elementary, elementary, middle, high, and beyond). This database is also the perfect place to go for quick answers to general reference questions. The Reference tab at the top of the screen takes you to a page where you can easily search dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, almanacs, and thesauruses.
A Jump Start on Research!
The ProQuest team has gone the extra mile in assembling quality information on popular research topics. Test it out by searching “Hurricane Katrina,” “nitrogen cycle,” or “Little Women” (or hundreds of other topics). You’ll notice that before you get to your list of results there is a research topic box that you can expand and explore. The content here is considered a kind of “best of” and has been assembled by a curriculum-focused editorial team. Primary sources, critical articles, quotations, videos, animations, images, related topics, and pathways for further exploration are often included. To see the full list of completed research topics (being updated daily), click on the “browse research topics” link located just below the search box on the homepage. Just from flipping through briefly, I’d say the majority are biographical in nature, but it’s really impressive the number and variety of topics they have researched. In an age where students rely on Wikipedia, the accessibility of this feature really seems like a great bridge to get kids more interested in using databases for research.
Common Core Correlations
A fairly new feature that could be of interest to many patrons, especially those who are home schooling, is the Common Core Correlations tab at the top of the screen. The national and state-level standards for all school subjects are provided in a clearly organized menu. If you navigate to an individual standard you will sometimes find a list of resources correlated to that particular skill.
Finally, I wanted to talk about the ways in which eLibrary can customize your research experience. Everything discussed here requires that you register and create a log-in, but it’s free, and I just did it in a few seconds. Once you have an eLibrary log-in, they can create lists of favorite documents and slideshows of favorite images. One of the coolest features, in my opinion, is that you can create inline notes in each article that you find. So, rather than needing particular Adobe software that allows for note-taking on PDFs, you can get everything done within the database. There is a simple template that can be used to create timelines too- perfect for school projects!