Online Databases

Discussion starters

The following questions could be helpful in developing a discussion about using online databases in school library:
  • Why do school libraries subscribe to online databases?
  • How to select a database?
  • How to find out about students’ and teachers’ information needs?
  • How to get teachers and students use online databases?
  • How can databases support students’ learning?

Why to use databases?

•Reliable, safe, authoritative sources
•Non-commercial and advertising-free
•Contain many sources not available elsewhere on the Internet
•URL is constant and links work all the time
•OK to print, save, email
•Citation information available
•Materials are indexed to assure search results are relevant
•Provide opportunities to develop effective research skills
•Content is Up-to-date

Types of information in databases

•Books (Non-Fiction)/
•Newspapers & Newswires
•Country Fact
•Video Clips
•Photos, Illustrations
•Maps & Flags
•Primary Source Documents
•Radio & TV News Transcripts

Recommended databases

Questia School

•Approximately 75,000 books and millions of newspaper and journal articles, available for full-text searching and reading
•A set of research tools including:
–Personal projects for organization of resources
–Online note taking
–Quote/Citation capability in one of seven standard styles
–Instant bibliography production in one of seven standard styles
–Integrated Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia

EBSCO databases

Advanced Placement Sources
•contains more than 5,750 full-text academic journals and magazines
•over 400,972 photos, maps and flags
•Includes RSS feed

Academic Search Elite
Academic Search™ Elite contains full text for more than 2,000 journals. More than 140 journals have PDF images dating back to 1985.
The database includes PDF images for the great majority of journals; many of these PDFs are native (searchable) or scanned-in-color.

Science Reference Center
Science Reference Center™ is a comprehensive research database that provides easy access to a multitude of full text science-oriented content. Science Reference Center contains full text for hundreds of science encyclopedias, reference books, periodicals, and other sources. Topics covered include: biology, chemistry, earth & space science, environmental science, health & medicine, history of science, life science, physics, science & society, science as inquiry, scientists, technology and wildlife.

Mas Ultra - School Edition
This comprehensive database, designed specifically for high school libraries, contains full text for more than 500 popular, high school magazines. All full text articles are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles). Full text is also available for 85,670 biographies and 105,786 primary source documents. Additionally, MAS Ultra -- School Edition contains more than 360 reference books (including the Columbia Encyclopedia, the CIA World Fact Book and World Almanac & Book of Facts), an Image Collection of 400,972 photos, maps & flags, color PDFs and expanded full text backfiles (back to 1975) for key magazines.

Primary Search
Primary Search®, designed specifically for elementary school libraries, contains full text for more than 70 popular, elementary school magazines. All full text articles are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles). Additionally, Primary Search includes the Encyclopedia of Animals™, and features Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, providing students with easy-to-read encyclopedic entries written specifically for kids.
Primary Search is made available via the Searchasaurus®* interface, Kids Search, and/or EBSCO//host®/.

NoveList, a readers' advisory service that provides access to 155,000 fiction titles, and also offers a wide range of features like author read-alikes, book discussion guides, reading lists and more.

Columbia Granger's Poetry Database
Columbia Granger's® Poetry Database, produced by Columbia University Press, contains works of poetry found in anthologies, and volumes of collected works and selected works for individual poets. Currently, there are over 500,000 poem citations and 175,300 poems in full text (with thousands of additional poems in full text to be added with each update). Also included is bibliographic information for over 1,800 anthologies. Supplemental information includes nearly 900 commentaries and approximately 450 biographies. Hyperlinking exists throughout the commentaries, biographies, and poem full text. Users can easily jump from poems to relevant commentary or author biographies when appropriate. A glossary is also provided, giving users detailed definitions for over 300 poetry specific terms.


Includes 5 databases and a subscription to 7 local, regional, and national newspapers.
NewsBank Popular Periodicals (1992-Current)
NewsBank ScienceSource Collection (1987-Current)
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974 - 1996
Global NewsBank with Periodicals and Statistics (1996-Current)

Discovery Education Streaming

Integrates seamlessly into any curriculum with 5,000 full-length videos segmented into 50,000 content-specific clips. Comprehensive K-12 curriculum coverage in six core subject areas

MacGraw Hill’s AccessScience

The database features the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and weekly late-breaking news articles. It covers all areas of science and technology plus full-text features of biographies, news, learning resources, study guides and many other related sites.

Grolier Online

Grolier Online comprises 5 databases: Encyclopedia Americana, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, The New Book of Knowledge, The New Book of Popular Science, Lands and People. It includes the fields of arts, social sciences, geography, history, philosophy, religious, sports and entertainment, science and technology etc.

Britannica Online School Edition

Britannica Online School Edition provides

·instant access to four encyclopedias for all levels of reading:
oEncyclopædia Britannica
oCompton's by Britannica
oBritannica Elementary Encyclopedia
oBritannica Concise Encyclopedia
·integrated searching of 98,000 articles and multimedia
·over 27,000 graphics plus 3,300 animations, audio clips, and videos with new videos covering various topics
·detailed maps of more than 200 countries, all U.S. states, and all Canadian provinces
·Internet guide with access to the best sites available on the Web, created by Britannica editors
·journals and magazines that locate the up-to-date information about classroom concepts and current events topics

How to and who best to use with?
Great to start research, good for broadening or narrowing a topic, finding keywords and getting background information.
More useful for PYP, and MYP.

SIRS Knowledge Source and Discoverer (PROQUEST) SIRS Discoverer, an award-winning general reference resource for beginning learners and researchers in grades 1-9, makes learning fun and intuitive. Discoverer helps students develop their research, writing, language, and computer skills. Only the best, most unique, and most relevant resources are selected for SIRS Discoverer.

The database includes carefully selected, 100% full-text articles and images from more than 1,900 domestic and international newspapers, magazines, and government documents, along with 9,000+ educational weblinks via the integrated Discoverer WebFind content set.

Images can be accessed via keyword or within the "Pictures" feature. More than 29,000 graphics, photos, maps, and charts are available, connected to associated articles. Thousands of inline thumbnails assist researchers, and create context for the article text.

A pull-out map collection includes 3,000+ offerings, including all 50 United States, the provinces and territories of Canada, as well as nations and regions of the world (Europe, Persian Gulf, Czech Republic, the Baltics, and Time Zones of the World.) U.S. historical, world historical, and outline maps are also available.

Discoverer also offers supplemental curriculum and learning materials, including an educator's guide, middle- and elementary-level student workbooks, citation guidelines, research strategy worksheets, and more. Visit our Educator's Resources link to peruse the wealth of resources, materials, and bulletins available students, teachers, and librarians

World Book Online

Gale Cengage databases

Student Resource Center (Gold)
Student Resource Center - Gold offers easy access to award-winning content based on national curriculum standards. Covering all core curriculum areas, including history, literature, science, social studies, and more, SRC - Gold provides a premium selection of reference material, more than 1,100 full-text periodicals and newspapers, primary sources, creative works, and multimedia, including hours of video and audio clips and podcasts. Premier reference content includes the American Journey Series, American Decades, Career Information Center and the SRC Health Module. New to the database are Lexile reading levels for periodicals, an integrated national and state curriculum standards search with content correlated to the standards, and popular topic picklists.

Opposing Viewpoint Resource Center Critical Thinking module
This database is highly recommend, from other international schools libraries, this database can help the students in critical thinking in global / social issues, helpful in their English writing and debate topics./

Discovery Collection
Discovering Collection
Discovering Collection offers easy access to award-winning content based on national curriculum standards. Covering the core curriculum areas, including history, literature, science, social studies, and more, DC provides a premium selection of reference, primary sources, creative works, and multimedia, including hours of video and audio clips. New to the database are popular topic picklists and an integrated national and state curriculum standards search with content correlated to the standards.

Science Resource Center

Researching science topics has never been easier -- with Science Resource Center, thousands of topic overviews, experiments, biographies, pictures and illustrations are just a few clicks away and the latest scientific developments are covered in articles from over 200 magazines and academic journals and links to quality web sites. The database covers curriculum-related science topics and offers teachers an easy-to-use tool to identify content directly correlated to state and national standards.

Kids InfoBits
Kids InfoBits
Kids InfoBits is a database developed especially for beginning researchers in Kindergarten through Grade 5. Featuring a developmentally appropriate, visually graphic interface, the most popular search method is moving from a broad subject to a narrower topic using the subject-based topic tree. The curriculum-related, age appropriate, full-text content is from the best elementary reference sources and magazines. This database covers geography, current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and more.

Junior Edition - K12
Junior Edition - K12
Now with over 330 titles, cross searchable with E-Books, this periodical database is designed for students in junior high and middle school with access to a variety of indexed and full-text magazines, newspapers and reference books for information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports and more.

How to use and who best to use with ?
This is great for higher grades of PYP, all of the MYP, and for the those in the DP who have EAL, and those who need a lower academic level. There is also a function where it reads the text to the student - great for those with dyslexia, sight problems, and other learning difficulties. Students can also save their searches and creat a 'learning space' with annotations. (Dianne McKenzie Discovery College, HK)


BrainPOP is an educational website with Flash-based movies about mathematics, technology, health, science, social studies, arts & music, and English. Most of the videos feature the site's recurring characters, Tim and Moby.
Founded in 1999, BrainPOP creates animated, curriculum-based content that supports educators and engages students.

The Columbia Granger's World of poetry
//The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry// contains 250,000 poems in full text and 450,000 citations, numbers that will continually expand with each update. The poems in full text are the most widely-read in the English language, as well as in Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Included also is poetry in Portuguese, Polish, Yiddish, Welsh, Gaelic, and other Celtic languages, as well as poems in the ancient languages: Anglo-Saxon, Provencal and Latin. Scholars in each of these languages have reviewed and guided the selection of poems, so that the poetry on Granger’s is also the poetry encountered in the classroom.
The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry offers complete coverage of the works of several individual great poets, including the complete poems of Shelley, Blake, Burns, Keats, Marvell, Poe, Unamuno, Heine, Baudelaire, and other major poets.
In addition users will find a wealth of current poetry from some of the best poetry periodicals, such as Poetry Magazine, The Southern Review, and Poetry

Scholarly academic journals covering a wide range of content. Particularly useful for Diploma students writing the Extended Essay. Subscription price is based on % of students at the school continuing to tertiary level studies. Journals are available in a range of languages.
Resources for Librarians found at this link

Project Muse
Project MUSE is a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers, providing 100% full-text, affordable and user-friendly online access to a comprehensive selection of prestigious humanities and social sciences journals. MUSE's online journal collections support a diverse array of research needs at academic, public, special and school libraries worldwide. (Description from the Project Muse site)
Training and promotional materials:

Today's edition newspapers from around the world

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With 1840 newspapers from 94 countries in 48 languages, PressDisplay provides the most convenient, complete and cost-effective way to read all your favorite publications on one site. With a subscription to, your users gain access to newspapers from home and around the world on the day they are published, often before they hit the news stands.

Whether your end user want to just browse through favorite newspapers, search or monitor the news for specific articles of interest, listen to a newspaper, share stories with friends through email or their blog or take it on the road, PressDisplay brings it altogether in a website that makes the user want to grab a cup a coffee and enjoy a leisurely hour with their favorite publications online.