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  • 1.  Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 15, 2018 10:49 AM
    I have just begun a new career as the academic librarian at a small religious four-year college (religion, education, and business degrees are our focus). We need to add some full-text journal databases to our collection (currently we have none). I need recommendations for database companies that will be an asset to our students' research needs yet also affordable. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Catherine Pendley
    Academic Librarian

  • 2.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 06:50 AM
    Hi Catherine,

    Keep in mind that most database pricing is set on the FTE (full-time equivalent) count of your college.  That should help some smaller colleges get more affordable pricing.  Sometimes community colleges will get even better pricing so it does not hurt to ask the price comparison and if they are willing to give you the lowest they can.  Also, may consortia offer discounted database subscriptions so you may want to see what groups are available for your library/college to join.

    For each subject area there are often go to databases to start with.  For instance, with religion in particular, the ATLA (American Theological Library Association) has a database than may libraries that support religion studies would want.  They have an indexing database and a full-text serials database ATLAS.  For any small library that is starting out on database subscriptions I would spend the money on full-text and not just indexing.  Many libraries get a discount on ATLAS through consortia.

    Education has ERIC (indexing and full-text).  I am sure there are other go-to databases for education but I am a subject expert.  There are many business solutions as well.  Some libraries, large and small, benefit from general academic collections.  That can be one way to get a core full-text database collection to cover multiple subject areas, with titles such as "General" and "Complete."  When you are looking at databases and buying more than one it can be useful to see how much overlap in coverage from one database to another; you don't want to pay multiple times for the same content if possible.  Look at both titles covered, as well as dates covered.

    Beyond buying databases, you could benefit from having a link-resolver subscription.  That allows you to link your full-text from various databases to the indexing in others, so that your users can get to all of your full-text from various places.  This can be really useful to set up with external sites as well, such as GoogleScholar.  GS provides lots of indexing and if you have a link resolver GS can show links to your full text, even if searchers start in Google and not at your library.

    Also, you may get a package deal from a vendor, with discounts on multiple purchases.  But make sure you are getting what you want and not just a fixed package that will not be useful to your library users.  I think you have a great plan to get full-text databases to support each of the areas of study at your institution.  Online library resources can plan an important in supporting your academic programs and research, and are also favored for accreditation reviews.  Good luck on the hunt!

    Steven K. Bowers
    Executive Director

  • 3.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 08:44 AM
    PS - I forgot to mention CINAHL for nursing.  There are others . . .

    Steven K. Bowers
    Executive Director

  • 4.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 07:03 AM
    Do you already provide help getting the patrons to use the statewide package of databases? In North Carolina, I see that all state residents have access to some materials through NC Live. You could become part of that consortium (it might be cheaper than negotiating on your own - though you'd need to evaluate that and what, specifically, they provide), then you'd be listed on their drop-down of institutions on the search page. But if you decide other resources are necessary, your local patrons should still be able to access it through their own public libraries.

    Tiffany Hebb
    Coordinator of Library Instruction
    DePauw University

  • 5.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 09:31 AM
    Definitely find out if you are eligible for membership or inclusion in any consortia that negotiates best prices for a group of libraries.  Start with a general database and then consider disciplinary resources as funding allows that support key programs of study for your university.

    Good luck and best wishes!

    Deborah Ludwig
    Forsyth Library - Fort Hays State University

  • 6.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 04:01 PM

    I'm going to echo some of the other advice that you've gotten here:

    1.  Look into any consortia that you may be able to join.  NCLive could be helpful and ATLA (American Theological Library Association) has potential discounts.  If there are any databases available just from joining something like NCLive, that can give you a big boost.

    2.  Definitely look into a link resolver.  If you're using something like WorldCat Local, you already have one and just need to set it up.

    3.  I think you should look into a generalist database like Academic Search.  It's from EBSCO (which also has ATLAS), and you might be able to get a deal on multiple databases.

    4.  Talk to the people at NCLive about licenses.  Learning how to read a license is really important.

    Good luck, and we're always willing to give advice.  :)


    Micheal Bloomberg
    Digital and Research Services Librarian
    Augsburg University Lindell Library

  • 7.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 17, 2018 10:42 AM
    Hi Catherine,

    I just wanted to mention that besides NC Live in your location there is the Carolina Consortium, which can be helpful for discounted database prices, too.

    Best wishes!

    Robert Cagna
    Dean and Associate Professor
    Barton College Hackney Library

  • 8.  RE: Database advice for a new librarian

    Posted Aug 19, 2018 04:41 PM
    I would echo what someone else noted about obtaining databases through ATLA. Our consortium, SCELC, partners with ATLA on licensing databases for ATLA-affiliated institutions, so you might check with ATLA or look at the website to see if there is anything relevant there.
    And most certainly do check first with you local consortia in the North Carolina region. They're great consortia and valuable resources for you to pursue!

    Rick Burke
    Executive Director
    Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC)