eLibrary from ProQuest LLC. (subscription database)
eLibrary is a general reference database from ProQuest LLC, comparable to other reference databases such as Gale’s Student Resources in Context. Used in primary and secondary schools, it is a scholarly database comprised of more than 2,500 full text documents from magazines, newspapers, books, scholarly journals, as well as a variety of multimedia, including television and radio programs, photographs, websites, and maps. It is designed to be easy to use and provide quality content for a variety of subject areas such as English Language Arts, History, Science, Mathematics, Art, and Physical Education. Educators encourage students to use the site over more popular search engines like Google and Wikipedia because the documents have been “educator-approved” and can be trusted. eLibrary also offers additional features such as Essential Page Topics, which groups related curriculum content in an easy to navigate page, a translation tool, which converts documents into 10 different languages, and citation tools, which help students with bibliographic citations in both MLA and APA format.
eLibrary is a good resource for students looking for quality information on a wide variety of school subjects. While not as effective as Google for basic questions with simple answers (e.g. How many Supreme Court justices are there?), it does provide students with information from reliable sources for research projects. Because the content is selected by educators, there is less of a need for students to check the sources for credibility, although some of the information may not be as current as content found using Google. Unlike most commercial search engines, eLibrary is designed to help students search more effectively through topic lists and pages and cite their work accurately in their papers. It also contains content for a range of reading levels, from English Language Learners to Advanced Placement students.
eLibrary has given students a variety of ways to access the documents in the database by using natural language and controlled vocabulary. Students can enter keywords into the single search box on the home page, which has a simple design that mirrors Google. As the user types, suggested key words appear in a pull down menu to assist the user with more precise terms and correct spelling. For example, when entering “stem” into the search box, “stem cell” “stem cell research” and “stem cells” appear below. In addition, through their Topic Search feature, eLibrary has given students a list of controlled vocabulary terms, which allows users to browse by topic (e.g. Arts, History, Mathematics, etc.) and locate the information that way.