I have been visiting schools and talking about databases for about ten years now. Sometimes kids love it. Well, maybe not love but they respond well to the flashy pictures, the read aloud option, the fact that databases will provide their citations. Other kids will let me talk and then open up Google. Most are somewhere in the middle, the fact is that database presentations are the dentist visits of library talks.
And there are a million things that could go wrong. The internet doesn’t work, that’s a big one. It seems like the internet is down every time I need to start talking about databases with a new class. Lot of librarians that I know will make up a backup slide show to use if you can’t go live.
There is also the fear that a kid will throw out a search term and you plug it in and then no results turn up. Egg. On. My. Face! This is why I pre-search and make sure I get a flashy looking search results page that impresses people.
On Monday, I met with high school Freshman to talk about the best databases to use for their World History research papers. Here is my favorite one:
World History in Context is a database from Gale and it is so helpful to students that I am seriously considering subscribing to it just for the school! Gale also has similar databases for US History, Science, Literature and Current Events. The New York Public Library has most of these databases for free. If you don’t have an NYPL card? Well you should write to your library and see if they would consider subscribing to it because databases are way more expensive then you would think!