Daily Archives: March 8, 2010

Research Databases Are No Trivial Thing

Last week, some library staff got together for a pub quiz.  We spend much of our work day helping you find information and we also like to spend our leisure time answering questions.

In previous years of the trivia contest, I’ve been a competitor, studying almanacs, atlases, encyclopedias and the books of Ken Jennings, beforehand.  This year, I helped create questions and fact-check for the quiz.

Did I use Wikipedia?  No.  Did I do random Google searches?  No.  Did I ask Yahoo Answers?  No.

A reputable source from days gone by. Much of this sort of information, old and new, is online now and the library is still the best way to get to it.

I used the library’s research databases because that is where accurate, reliable information resides.

Library databases contain information that you can’t access with Google or other search engines because it is proprietary and the publishers don’t make it freely available on the web.  This is where journal articles that are peer-reviewed can be found.  This is where specialty encyclopedias with expert, editorial oversight can be found.  This is where scholarship in almost any subject can be found.  This is where you can avoid personal rants and commercial sites.

Libraries pay for database subscriptions so you and I can freely get to quality information for serious research.  Or, sometimes, just for trivia.

— Tim

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