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You’re looking for what? Electronic resources in the for-profit college library

February 13, 2012

It is almost our midterm.  Our school operates on a quarter based terms so we have four twelve week long sessions each year.  We are moving into week 6 of our winter quarter – midterm.

Midterm when I was in college was nuts.  I remember having a few classes that had 2 exams; one at the end and one at midterm.  Some sort of major project would be do or a paper needed to get written and then there was a test to study for.  Ugh… It doesn’t seem to be quite so busy here, but maybe that is just because I’m not the one in class.  hehehe

The library does get a little busier though for about a week and most students come in looking for a magic answer to their research question.  It’s almost like they think they can Google what they subject is and the paper will write itself.  I love every single time a student asks me a question about where to go to get answers after they have spent three days on Google.  I know, I’m twisted but it really does make me giggle.  Mostly because the library orientation (that every student in the school has to sit through) very clearly states that when they go to do class assignments they won’t find the answer on Google.  Ahhh, makes me laugh.

At any rate I thought I would talk real quick about the electronic resources that our library subscribes to.  This seems to be a regular question on the Librarianship in For-Profit Educational Institutions (LFPEI) listserv (discussion group) with the ACRL.

LIRN – this is our meat and potatoes database.  This is where 85% of our questions get answered.  If you have never heard about LIRN you MUST go check them out.  Wonderful databases with this subscription including; Gale, ProQuest, CREDO reference and lots more.   This membership was also discussed in a recent article about for-profit colleges in CR&L

eBrary – the electronic book database that we subscribe to is the career college one.  It is very extensive.  What I really love about this database, you can link out to the web to conduct even more reference options.

Those two do the heavy lifting for our library, at least 90% of our research/reference questions go through there.  But we also have some others that students can use for studying or just learning something cool – which can happen.

Mango – foreign language database.  I’ll be honest, this is so cheap I don’t know why everyone library doesn’t have it.  Great database and it does get good use.

Primal Pictures and Anatomy TV – these two interactive databases discuss anatomy and phys for our medical and dental programs. It’s a bit expensive and hasn’t been getting a ton of use so I have been on the look out for a less expensive option (let me know if you have one).  It is a cool subscription though.

Dia – similar to primal pictures this is for our vet tech students.  This is actually even more expensive then the human counterpart but our faculty LOVE it and use it tons in the classroom.  Webster owns it.

Westlaw – ah yes, our paralegal program.  I haven’t figured out if I like West or not yet.  Something I do, somethings I don’t.  If you don’t have to purchase primary legal material consider yourself very lucky.  It is SO expensive.  Our contract is also a bit complicated but I’m very happy with our sales rep and again, our faculty love the database.

Whew… that’s it.  Maybe in a future post I will actually go through each in a little more detail but there is an overview.  What about you?  What resources do you have available for your students to use?  If anyone knows of a good A&P one let me know, I’ve got a list started.  🙂

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Alice Graves permalink
    February 13, 2012 1:00 pm

    How does LIRN compare with Infotrac? We have the latter and I always steer students toward Google Scholar instead.

    • February 13, 2012 3:18 pm

      Actually Alice, Infotrac is included in the LIRN subscription. The only thing I haven’t liked about LIRN is their interface and they just recently redesigned it so maybe this version will be better. The information however has been all that we need it to be. I don’t know that I would do graduate level research on it but for the type of research queries we have, it is perfect.

  2. Tammy D permalink
    February 13, 2012 4:25 pm

    We have Gale databases for our Virtual Library and a subscription to Britannica Online.
    I, too, have a library orientation session for every new student, and find so many of them hitting Yahoo instead of the Virtual Library. Oh, well!

    • February 13, 2012 4:31 pm

      Hehe, makes me giggle Tammy. Going to the generic Internet search engine is certainly a common challenge no matter what library is a student at, the career college, community college or the four year state university. Research on it is extensive. Thank you for your comments I appreciate them.

      • Rae Lovvorn permalink
        February 13, 2012 6:59 pm

        I’ve given up on trying to convince them not to go straight to Google, and now I work instead on teaching them good search strategies that will work on internet search engines, as well as in our Virtual Library. We have LexisNexis instead of Westlaw for our CJ program, and a selection of databases from Proquest and Ebsco, in addition to Books 24×7 and eBrary. Tons of open access stuff linked, too.

      • February 13, 2012 11:01 pm

        I sometimes feel exactly the same Rae. It is very frustrating.

        We looked at Lexis before making the decision to go with West and it was mostly based on faculty comfort level with the platform. I’m excited to see Westlaw Next which should be coming to our school very soon. Thanks for the comments!

  3. Lee permalink
    February 13, 2012 4:55 pm

    A couple of questions on this for you, Jennifer:

    are your subscriptions managed at the corporate level, or do you (and your DoE, natch) decide on what to buy, and at what level?

    has anybody asked/cared about whether these tools are worth the cost? usage stats? or are they “for accreditation”?

    do the syllabi make explicit reference to the use of these data sources, or is it “expected” that the students will eventually figure out that they can’t google everything? or do the instructors… not really care where they information comes from?

    last but not least, do you find these resources used primarily for “general ed” topics, or are there career-specific applications? at this level (2-yr CC) the medical and nursing data resources are too high-level for effective use, I’ve found. (heck, Academic Premier shocks most of them…)

    • February 13, 2012 6:51 pm

      Those are great questions Lee, thank you for asking. Some of our subscriptions are managed at the corporate level, LIRN and Westlaw, but the rest are set up locally between myself and our Library Advisory Committee. Those corporate contracts I was actually able to set up this last fiscal year and I hope to get the opportunity to do so again.

      I personally check to see the usage stats of these database at the end of every term and report back on that. I’m working very hard to show why it is important for people to ask that question and am starting to generate some support.

      Yes our syllabi do make reference to using the library resources but nothing specific. I am working on a project right now that I’m hoping will elaborate onat, sort of an embedded librarian idea. I’m sure I will be posting about it the future. 🙂

      The resources get used for a variety of courses but I hear what you are saying with the level some are written at. I suggest to most students to clarify with their instructors what the assignment really demands. Most end up using secondary sources for their papers and reports as that is the most useful for them. Reading a 10 paper medical paper is overkill and it is important that we as educators (and support) remember that. Likewise (though this isn’t an electronic resource per say) I usually suggest books written to the consumer as opposed to the professional unless it is a topic someone is really interested in learning more about. That gets them started without making them feel overwhelmed. Thanks for the great questions!

  4. Lee permalink
    February 14, 2012 4:01 pm

    Jennifer, I think that “embedded librarian” idea has real strategic potential, and I’ll look forward to hearing more about that. I know there’s a “body of knowledge” available about it, but I don’t know how much of it fits with the more focused (career-specific) goals of career colleges. Something to research, I guess…

    • February 14, 2012 7:44 pm

      I attended a great conference workshop on embedded librarianship this fall and one university was using a blended option that I thought had real potential. I am also excited to see how it might pan out. Will keep everyone posted for sure. Thanks for your comments Lee.

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