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September 27, 2018

Database Analogies and OSLIS Video Explanation
Click here to view the video titled Using a Library Database          Click here to view the video titled What Is a Library Research Database
Hi Folks,
As we know, it can be difficult for students and some staff to understand what a library periodicals database is – like Kids InfoBits, Research In Context, and Student Research In Context from Gale.
For a while now, I’ve been using the digital bucket analogy. Some people have a real bucket with a label on it that says database, and they say, “See the articles in this issue of The New York Times? All of these articles are available in ____ database.” Then they put the newspaper in the bucket. Repeat for a magazine and a reference book, etc. It’s an effective visual to help students understand.
This week I learned about another analogy. Dr. Kristen Mattson started comparing databases to Netflix. This blog post explains the details. Here’s the gist:
In small groups, I have students brainstorm everything they know about subscription services like Netflix…After several minutes, the brain storming stops and the whole group instruction begins. I ask volunteers to tell me something they know about Netflix and then promise to show them how it relates to our databases…Student: “It’s organized in categories and you can search it.” Me: “Our databases are the SAME! Just like Netflix, you can search for a particular title  OR you can browse by categories if you aren’t sure exactly what you are looking for.”…
And, as a friendly reminder, there’s an OSLIS video tutorial that explains library databases and why to use them, both for elementary (last in column on right) and secondary (bottom of page).



Jennifer Maurer
School Library Consultant
State Library of Oregon