Sunday, September 13, 2009

We are online!

This week has been an exciting week for me, we finally have access to online databases and encyclopedias.

I have subscribed to Encyclopedia Britannica online, Gale Infotrac Junior Edition, Gale Infobits, Brainpop and also Noodletools. It has cost a significant part of our budget but, I do believe it is necessary to supply such tools in a school that prides itself on its technology which includes a personal laptop programe from Year 6 up with 4 laptop carts and another 100 imacs dotted around the school. Most of the students will also have access at home.

Funding was denied last year for these online resources, as it was felt they would not be used as much as they should be to get value for money out of them.

We have also started in motion for every year 6 and secondary student to have a HK library card. With this membership, they can access a further 11 databases :- AccessScience, Apabi eBook, Biography Resource Center, netLibrary, Grolier Online, Naxos Spoken Word Library, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, Safari Tech Books Online, Science Resource Centre, SportDiscus, "What do I read next?" plus a few others in Chinese.

All of these online tools will also be supplemented by our subscriptions to Journals which also allow back issue searches - such as New Scientist, as well as those journals that allow free access to their previous issues. A list of our free magazine collection is here magazines

It is my mission (along with everything else I have to do) to push the use of these online information sources. I started last week with year 6 showing them how to access and use Encyclopedia Britannica. They were amazed. I will be working with year 8 this week showing them how to use Noodletools as a research and a citation tool along with Britannica and Infotrac. The mission will be to have students use these tools before they move to "Google" thus saving them time and confusion.

I will also be running workshops for teachers and also for parents so they know how to access these resources from home to help their children find what they need. Alongside all of this will be required lessons on academic honesty, citation and copyright.

We have a small space in our library and with the inquiry based requirements of the IB in both the primary and the secondary years, we cannot possibly purchase books for all of these units and have them be covered adequately. Being able to access these databases and journal articles widens the scope of what we can offer, and allows for students to really specialise in their interests and requirements without feeling we are not catering to their needs. Books also date so quickly that having online databases is a necessary part of todays information requirements to supplement what you do have in the library and to ensure the most current information is available.


Cathy Nelson said...

To keep them from getting chopped from your budget teach like crazy about the db. Be sure to show/compare a general search in Google to a search in any db to emphasize that google (and other search engines) do not always return the best info. Find a site (like to show how high ranking a site (when searched ib google) is that is really BAD, and how the db's return authoritative, refereed hits. This can be a good selling point. Be sure to also emphasize to teachers they can utilize the db's for their own research in grad classes. That can be a big selling point too. Best of luck. Yeah, they are expensive.

Biography Resource Center said...

Welcome aboard! We have some free marketing materials to help you spread the word to your students about Biography Resource Center (and other Gale databases):