Discovery 14 – Online Databases

September 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm 4 comments


The internet is a wonderful source of information and it is literally true that anyone can publish anything on the internet. This free, uncensored publishing produces a lot of misleading information, especially when it comes to important topics like medicine and law. One way to find reliable information is to choose a reliable source, such as an online database.

An online database is a collection of information about a particular topic which is written, selected and organised by experts and professionals in a particular field. Some databases are collections of articles from newspapers, magazines and other publications like encyclopedias. Usually the database contains the full text (and sometimes pictures, animation and videos) that you would see in the printed version of the publication.

Some online databases are free, most are not.  Subscription costs vary from hundreds of dollars to several thousands, so are beyond the reach of most individuals. Therefore, businesses and institutions usually subscribe to databases on behalf of their employees and customers. CityLibraries Townsville subscribes to several online databases, much like we subscribe to printed papers and magazines. The subscription and licence agreements determine how we and our members can access the databases.

Some of these online databases have been adding Web 2.0 features to their services. Let’s take a look…


historyicon1) Head to the History Reference Centre and login using your library barcode number.


Search for any topic of interest. Once you see the results list, have a look at the top of the list for the orange RSS feed icon. You can add this feed to your feed reader (that you first set up in Discovery no. 4). Any new articles or items added to this database, that match your search, will be sent as an alert in your RSS feed reader.

2) While logged in to this database, check out the Visual Search feature. Strictly speaking, it’s probably not a web 2.0 feature, but it does indicate a “user-centered” way of thinking (presenting search results graphically instead of lists of text), which corresponds to a web 2.0 way of working.


3) Your Tutor takes advantage of some online comunciation tools like Instant Messaging, that we played with in Discovery 9.

4) Visit the online databases available from the State Library of Queensland. (If you haven’t done so previously, you will need to register for a QPL account, using your CityLibraries Townsville card. Registration is free and you get immediate access after email verification).

  • scroll down and log into the Proquest Science Journals database
  • perform a search on a topic of your choice
  • as you find relevant results that interest you, mark them with a tick
  • when you are done marking results, click on the Marked Items folder and use the “create a web page” feature to create an html file from your marked records
  • use the “Edit” utility to make comments on your web page
  • after saving your comments, e-mail the web page to yourself and a colleague



Use these tools to set up some useful alerts or reference pages for your work.

Blog about your experiences in this Discovery exercise.


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Discovery 13 – Social Networking Discovery 15 – Mobile Phones

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. James Milton  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Hah! With one last, titanic post, I’ve finished Learning 2.0 (unless you spring a new discovery on us at the last minute).

  • 2. alison  |  November 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Great work James, I have to catch up!

  • 3. alison  |  November 23, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    okay, done. awaiting next discovery, or then end of the program.. thanks warren!

  • 4. Bonnie  |  November 26, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Only YouTube to go and I’m finished! The laptop is mine =)


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Learning 2.0 is a discovery learning program created by Helene Blowers. Content and style for CityLibrariesLearning has been borrowed and duplicated with permission, under a Creative Commons License.
Creative Commons License
CityLibrariesLearning by CityLibraries Townsville is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
Content has also been borrowed and duplicated under Creative Commons Licenses, from All together Now by the School Library Journal and Michael Stephens and 23 Things on a Stick
September 2009
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