Thursday, February 11, 2016

Online Databases Great for That Last-Minute Project Your Kid Just Told You About

Help! It’s 10:00 on Sunday night and my child has a report due in the morning!

Parents, don’t despair. Although we certainly don’t advocate waiting until the last minute, with a library card and an Internet connection, your child can actually make that deadline.

We’re seeing a lot of folks doing Black History reports this month, but the databases are great sources for all kinds of reference work—including financial, business, automotive repair, genealogy, legal, medical, and social. The Internet is a powerful tool, but there are no laws or rules regulating the content. You might get lucky with a Google search and get to some accurate and current information, but why gamble with your grade? Using the library’s free resources you are guaranteed the information you need will be current, accurate, and (critically important for school papers) citable.

Search databases by subject, audience, name, and accessibility. You’ll be amazed at the types of information available through your virtual library: legal forms, practice tests for school and job certification, biographies, newspaper backfiles, genealogy resources, business plans, encyclopedias, and language instruction, just to name a few.

TIP: If you need images or information for Black History projects, use the African-American Studies Center or African-American History Online. If you need biographical information, you can use Biography in Context. All of these resources are available through the public computers at your libraries, too, if you don’t have Internet access; but if you’re outside a library, you’ll need your library card to log in. As always, if you have questions, please ask our staff for help in accessing the correct information (that is what we do, after all).

The only downside is that your child probably won’t get the recommended daily allowance of sleep that night. Maybe next time they could tell you on Sunday afternoon!

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

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