eResource Spotlight – Britannica Library

I’ve decided to give everyone a little run through on some of the eResources we have on offer at CCL that I’m in charge of knowing about at my library, to help let people know about some of the great databases we have access to.

Britannica Adults

One of the collections I am in charge of knowing about is Britannica Library, which is a great place for research into a huge array of subjects (history, geography, science etc). There are 3 separate versions of the website; Adults, Teens and Children. The website and information is formatted and catered to those age groups. A brilliant tool for kids’ homework, teenage assignments and adult research.

Britannica Teens

The adult collection includes:

  • Articles that can be read by the online narrator;
  • An interactive world atlas;
  • Biographies searchable by era, nationality and what they are known for;
  • A country comparison tool;
  • Thousands of images, videos and audio files;
  • Latest news headlines that include coverage from the New Zealand Herald;
  • Te Ara — The Encyclopedia of New Zealand;
  • Tools to email, cite and print.

Britannica Kids

The Library at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

War books in Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale Virtual Reference Library gives you access to over 200 electronic reference books covering virtually any subject, including health, business, careers, history, literature, biography, science, travel and more.

Some war-related titles have just been added to this colllection:

Cover of Auschwitz Cover of Hiroshima Cover of The Normandy beaches

Credo: not just a pretty face

Credo logoThe  Credo Online Reference platform has had a makeover. It continues to offer searchable online reference books but it is now on a sleek new platform. Credo’s creator has called this product  “the librarian’s answer to Wikipedia”! They believe that many people turn to Wikipedia when they are just starting to look for something whereas you should start here at Credo with its authoritative information and clever tools such as:

  • Mind maps: enter a subject and Credo will create a visual brainstorm that expands the search and helps you find related terms;
  • Topic pages: search for DNA and see topic pages for DNA, DNA profiling and DNA fingerprinting;
  • An image library, crossword solver, quotation finder, biographies and a pronunciation tool with audio files so you can impress with your finely tuned speech;
  • Printing in PDF and sharing your finds on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Now I must confess despite misgivings about Wikipedia, I have with a guilt-ridden heart used it. Credo is attempting to change this pattern by pointing to Credo as not only the start button but the finish button as well. Have a play and see if the hype lives up to the reality.

Oxford cleverness online

Logo of Oxford Art OnlineWhen I think of Oxford University I think of stone buildings, towering spires and grown men walking around with black capes on discussing clever things. My Oxford is a sort of older person’s Hogwarts without Harry Potter. In reality, Oxford University is a terribly advanced place having embraced the online world to spread its genius. We can see this at our library with:

  • Oxford Art Online
    Information on all things artsy including architecture, design, fashion and crafts. Includes a range of New Zealand and Pacific content;
  • Oxford Music Online
    The hills are alive with music reference and research within this resource;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
    The life details on the ‘great and the good’ and even the ‘bad and unusual’ who left their mark on the British empire;
  • Oxford English Dictionary Online
    Find spellings, definitions, pronunciation and examples of use. They even explain the  use of the word  bootylicious! Those professors are bodacious (also in the dictionary);
  • Oxford Reference Online
    Oxford reference works combined into a single cross-searchable resource covering every known subject. Very clever and very easy!

Not everyone can strut through the hallowed halls of  Oxford University but with the above collection you don’t have to! All the answers are here just waiting for you to start asking the questions all from the comfort of your sofa.

Confessions of an Oxford Dictionary of National Biography addict

I’m a huge fan of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). It is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to know about the lives of well-known and not so well-known historic British and British-related figures and can be accessed via the Source either in our libraries or from home with your library card number and pin.

I first encountered the DNB when working at the National Army Museum in 2004 when the newly revised printed edition was published and I catalogued all 60 volumes. (The original Victorian edition was edited by Virginia Woolf‘s father, Sir Leslie Stephen.) The print volumes were beautifully produced, wonderful to flick through, took up a lot of shelf space – and came with a free one year subscription to the online version, which was fantastic to explore.

The DNB truly comes alive online (which is slightly ironic as you have to dead to be considered for inclusion) – there are updates every few months, links to related people of interest, theme pages and lists, and a Lives of the Week feature which highlights a different life every day – these can even be sent direct to your inbox. This last week we’ve had the chance to discover botanist and geologist Sir Albert Seward, shorthand specialist Marie Beauclerc and Polish Battle of Britain pilot Josef František amongst others. I wonder who’s going to be there when you’re reading this?

This is the place to find out about the mysterious Spring-Heeled Jackclaimants to the English and Scottish thronesJohn Lennon (and John Lennon), Presidents of the Royal SocietyMary SeacoleHDangry young men and merry men, and many, many more. Indeed, this blog is taking a while to write as I keep getting sidetracked.

Looking at this resource from a New Zealand angle, many governors, governors-general, premiers and prime ministers are included and can be found on this list, the Canterbury Association has its own theme page, and a simple full text search on ‘New Zealand’ brings up plenty of hits.

New Zealand’s own Dictionary of Biography is part of the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Who have you discovered? Do you have an online resource you keep returning to?