Some Thoughts on Searching Databases

I have found it exciting searching databases for information and EBSCO Host is my current favourite. My number one tip at the moment for searching is to think carefully about search terms, and then refine the search terms even further as one reads. Using synonyms and considering words that might be used in other cultures is useful, for example, using different words for the same issue such as ‘Food Security’ as opposed to ‘Food Equity’. Advanced searching is very useful tool too.

I use EndNote at work and using the export feature in EBSCO or JStor for bibliographic data makes everything simple and easy.

The most useful thing I learnt this week was how to create a research folder on EBSCO.

I think we are very lucky in Australia to have free access to State Libraries’ databases. I am in awe of the information that is available to any member of the public who applies for a card and who has access to the internet.

Teaching students to use databases can be challenging. Student are often more ready and keen to use Google and they do have some success with Google Advanced search. I have learnt that only demanding research assignments tend to warrant the use of databases at school.


The Future of Libraries and the Information Profession


There is an exciting future for libraries but it is dependant on how the information profession adapts to new trends, becomes skilled in new technologies, understands the needs of the community, and is creative in providing the needs identified through the community it services.

As change in the information and library landscape is an inevitable factor, but also a largely unknown one, information professionals and institutions will need to have a high level of expertise in order to be flexible and creative in providing services to the community.   Librarians will need to be specialists  and up-to-date with technological trends in order to add value.  Professional development and immersion in social media and on-line communication spaces will be an integral means of moving forward in the library landscape.

Library services already encompass not only access to information but also access to events that bring communities together, such as exhibitions and music recitals.   Information professionals will also need to consider how and what in terms of providing services to the community.   As the traditional idea of libraries is falling away and libraries reinvent themselves as communities of information and cultural expression, librarians need to consider how best to use the physical space available to them in order to provide individuals with a means to educate themselves, to  collaborate and connect with others , and to create and effect change in communities which are growing in cultural and literate diversity.

Berry, A 2012, How Libraries are Reinventing Themselves for the Future, TIME News Feed, access 8 March 2013
Frey, T, 2013,The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation, Da Vinci Institute, access 8 March 2013
State Library of Queensland, 2012, The Next Horizon: Strategic Visioning for Queensland public libraries 2013-2017, Consultation Snapshot Report