December 7, 2011 by Reader's Connection
The “Your Library @ Home” button on our homepage takes you to a variety of web-based services. Based on developments in the e-book world, we spend a lot of our time answering (and asking) questions about downloadables. (The limit on Overdrive items is going up from 9 to 12, by the way.)
Those ebook and audiobook links are in the left and center columns of Your Library. We´ll be spending more time with them, soon, but for today I’m moving to the right and looking at a couple of links in the Explore column.
Reference Databases are the second item on the list, and Central Librarian Tom Probasco has inspired me to tell you about a database that was added this year.
If you click on that Reference Databases link, and then choose a Subject sort for our list of databases, the Automobiles heading is first on the list. (Click on the picture at the left to enlarge.) One of the databases, ALLDATA Online, has been on our site for some time, and it’s a useful database, but it can only be accessed when you’re at the library.
Tom says that the Auto Repair Reference Center is based on the sort of do-it-yourself manuals (e.g., Chilton’s) that our patrons tend to prefer .
I recently bought a used Honda CR-V. If I want to know more about it, I can go to ARRC, choose the year, make and model . . .
. . . then select the submodel . . .
If I make my choice, and wander off, for example, to air conditioning diagrams, I won’t need to click Back and Back and Back to get elsewhere.
There’s a list of other wiring diagrams off to the left . . .
. . . and if I want to leave this diagram area altogether, there’s a drop-down menu of choices on the upper right.
Have at it. Here’s a automotive database that can truly be used from your library at home.
For our second Explore exploration, we’ll hop to the top of the list and look at the Gale Virtual Reference library.
My inspiration: A speaker from Gale came last week and spoke to librarians about GVRL. We were asked to turn in questions at the end of her presentation, and here was mine, based on personal experience: “A health professional has told me that Down syndrome is passed to the child through the father. Is this true?” This moment of misinformation actually occured in February. I was sure the woman was wrong, but it’s time to do the responsible thing and look it up.
I click on the Gale Virtual Reference link, and parts of the collection appear, arranged in different categories. When she last counted, Selector Kathy Barnard came up with “444 titles, many of which are multi-volume (and we add titles on a fairly regular basis.)”
I scroll down to the Literature section on that opening page, see a book about the novel Absalom, Absalom. I think, “Hey, it’s been ages since I reread that book. Faulkner uses architect as a verb and it’s funny. Some poor architect wants to architect himself across a river to get away from the evil Thomas Sutpen. Now people use that word as a verb and they’re not even joking . . .”
I digress–one of the dangers of walking among the shelves in a library.
There’s a Please enter search term field at the top of the screen, and when I type in “down syndrome,” a menu of choices appears. I pick the winner . . .
. . . and I’m rewarded with 1,837 entries.
This is too many to work with, but I jump in anyway, and start opening the records.
The UXL Complete Health Resource, when enumerating causes, says nothing about the child’s father. The age of the mother is mentioned, as it is in the Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders and the Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology–and this third volume adds a note: recent studies suggest that the father’s age may play a role as well.
All well and good, but Down syndrome isn’t passing genetically through either parent, the way baldness passes through the mother. (The scientific understanding of baldness genetics has changed a bit, actually, since I was a kid and paid close attention to which of my grandfathers was bald. That’s another story.)
The articles are sorted by relevance–that is, those that are most focused on Down syndrome appear first. But if I want to edit what I’ve retrieved, I can enter a new term in the Search within results field, and bring the hit count down to 315.
Nowhere do I find anything to confirm the health professional’s statement.
The Gale Virtual Reference Library has sections on Religion & Philosophy, Science, Health & Medicine, Social Sciences, History, Education, Business, and more. Remember it when you want to consult a reference collection from home.