Oct 31, 2012

Using databases in research

I was listening to an audiobook recently on the bus (I tried an audiobook to make the ride pass more quickly. It was Michael Pollen's "In Defence of Food" - really good, give it a whirl) and he made a passing reference to Pub Med, a database of millions of articles from medical journals and research texts.

With that mention of Pub Med, I remembered a whole bunch of things that I'd forgotten about databases and how useful they are, so I decided I'd like to make a list of them and throw them up here so I won't forget again. And maybe you could use them too, friends.

Databases store a lot of scholarly articles, which I don't use too much now (and I think this is why they'd sunk to the back of my mind), but there is also a lot of information that could come in quite handy for a reporter or just about any curious person. In university I was a better researcher, though I was never one of the best. It's a shame to have forgotten so much. Here are a few databases that I've used before:

Pub Med - As billed above, 22 million articles on biomedical topics.

Newscan -  Canadian major newspaper articles, including the Halifax Chronicle Herald and Cape Breton Post.

ProQuest -  Requires an account to search (many public libraries have accounts that you can use from home), a sort of granddaddy of a search engine that takes a lot of other databases under its umbrella.

JSTOR -  Searchable from any computer, heavy emphasis on academic papers, especially language and literature topics.

And best of all (this is the only link you really need), so many of these are available FOR FREE with an account from your local library. Here's a list of what Halifax has available online.

P.S. Students, your student card allows you access to a lot of treasure. Just take a look at the collections that Dalhousie students have access to AT HOME! As far as I could find out, the rest of us can still access all this but we have to go in to the university library and use one of their public access terminals. Oh, how inconvenient! When I graduated I asked the staff at the Killam if I could keep the same rights, but they said no. Shoot.

Anyway, hopefully this will help us remember more about where and how to search for things, so we can all be more like this fella.....

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