[resources] Library Databases in your Search Engine

There are a number of pilot projects underway to make articles normally locked away behind subscription databases more accessible. When you use a search engine like Google or Yahoo!, you get results from a variety of websites. However, many public and academic libraries provide their users with access to a plethora of information from published journals, magazines and newspapers that are not otherwise available on the web.

Libraries provide their users access to this additional material by purchasing subscriptions to databases through different vendors. Unfortunately, the information in these databases are not included in search engines, so people who don’t think to use their library’s databases miss out on a lot of good information.

All this may be about to change. Two database vendors are working on ways to integrate libraries’ subscription holdings with the results of a general web search. In one project, the provider of such databases as Business & Company Resource Center and the Biography Resource Center, Thomsaon Gale, is allowing search engines to index their data. In another pilot, a company called OCLC is providing information about electronic journals that are available in libraries to a number of search engines.

Both of these pilot programs have many limitations: UB is not yet participating in them; to get access to the subscription based journals you would have to be on campus; articles from databases may get lost among the rest of your web search results, etc. Nonetheless, it is a step in providing broader access to information that oftern remains hidden.

In the meantime, remember that if you want to use the library databases to conduct a search, you can log onto ResearchPort, from on or off campus, to find a lot of information that is not in your search engine.

Posted by Michael to resources at 9/30/2005 12:31:00 PM

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