Tasks:
You will examine three databases likely to be useful for your research. Most are available off our Database and Portals page. As you examine the database, record any relevant information in the organizer shown below.
  1. Visit the database and carefully examine the features on its front page;
  2. Determine what type of database you are working with. What types of information formats does it retrieve? What subjects does it cover? What is its scope? Visit the help or about page for clues.
  3. Carefully examine and evaluate the database so that you know its best and worst features.
  4. Is there an advanced search page? What special features does it offer?
  5. Are there any other special features? (image searching? translation? subject browse?)
  6. How are results organized and displayed? In what order? Are there summaries? Annotations? Keywords to guide searchers?
  7. Try at least two searches on school-type subjects to "road test" your database.

After the road tests, use the organizer below to help you evaluate each database. Conclude with this question: What are the five major selling points for this database?


Database Evaluation Organizer

Use this chart to help you record the features you'll be demonstrating in your advertisement.

Name of Database:



Database Content
What information formats does this database contain? (Examples: newspapers, magazines, television transcripts, video, etc.)

Is it a general database or does it cover specific subject areas?



Interface:
Is the interface "friendly" and attractive? Please comment.

Is it easy to use? Please comment.

Is it easy to find help? What kind of help is offered? Please comment.

Does it contain any multimedia material?

Search Strategies:
Which search strategies can you use? Make sure you check out both the regular and Advanced Search screens.

Can use search using Boolean operators? Phrase searching? Wildcards? Natural language--regular questions or words? Other?

Other search strategies:

Can you search by field? (URL, title, graphics, author, document type, etc.)

Specialized searches: Can you search for: images, audio, video, etc.?

What unique tricks does this search tool do?

Can you filter for scholarly (refereed, peer reviewed, academic)resources?

Can you search by reading level?

Can you filter to get full text only?

Subject searching? Is there a subject or topic browse? Are subject terms displayed after a search?

Can you search chronologically or limit by date?



Results:

How are results arranged?

How can you resort results?
Relevance? Date? Publication? Other?

Are there summaries/annotations?

Can you find related subject headings or descriptors in the results?

Are the results in html or pdf or docs or other formats?

Can you email, embed, save, download, bookmark results?

Can you set up an email alert or an RSS feed?

Does the database offer citation help?

Are the results you selected too easy or too challenging to read and understand?


Small print: Are there negative features of this database?




What are the five major selling points for this search tool?

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Will this database help with your research?