Hidden Database Gems: Credo Reference

Today I’d like to tell you about another database that, like Chilton Auto Repair, used to be represented in the library by shelves of big heavy books: encyclopedias. For the record, we do still have some encyclopedias in our library branches, but they’ve also gone digital. There are a number of encyclopedias online, of course, from the controversial Wikipedia, to the generic Encyclopedia.com, to Britannica.com (the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica), and all have their good points. But with your library card, you have access to Credo Reference, a database with a unique functionality and power beyond the others I’ve mentioned. It’s a great place to start if you’re working on an assignment and need some background information, or if you’re just curious and want to learn more about something!

In Credo Reference, you can search a word or name and see full-text results from a huge variety of books, encyclopedias, and websites. You can find definitions and historical accounts and contextual details from a variety of sources, as well as concept maps which link your search term to related ideas and topics. Specific articles also come with a ready-made citation of that source in APA, Chicago, Harvard, or MLA formats. Here are some screenshots to show you how it works.

First, get to Credo Reference from the library website’s Online Resources page, under Research Tools.

Then scroll down the list to the C’s to find “Credo Reference“. Click on it, and you may be asked to enter your library card number.

Enter your search term in the search box (or scroll down through popular topics and research tips).

Your search will result in a page like this one: various sources are listed on one side, and a concept map appears on the other. You can use the options at the top to view articles or images, and to filter results by type, collection, subjects, and media. Beneath the concept map, you can use links to other library resources to find even more information.

Once you select an entry to read, you can save, print, or cite that resource, or do a new search for related topics.

How to Educate a Citizen by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

I remember writing an essay once making the argument that what a person knows isn’t as paramount as their willingness and ability to learn. Never have I called that idea into question as much as after reading How to Educate a Citizen: the Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation. In it, E.D. Hirsch articulates the philosophy that a shared, core knowledge base is a very important component of a peaceful, productive society. Perhaps 2020 is good evidence of that, or at least the pitfalls of the failure to achieve it.

As someone who loves information, it is perplexing to me that we seem to have arrived at a place where the collected body of knowledge, often acquired at great cost, is regarded disdainfully, if not outright rejected, by so many people. Hirsch, an educator, literary critic and author of other books, such as Cultural Literacy, is concerned about the Constructivist approach the American educational system has largely followed since the 1960s. Sometimes called child or student-centered education, it has become the norm in most classrooms across the country. This approach relies on the student to guide or “construct” their own educational experience by asking questions and doing research and experiments as they are motivated. It does not necessarily teach them how to do the research or give them a jumping-off point from the apex of collective knowledge.

You may have heard it lauded in the expression, “Be a guide on the side not a sage on the stage.”  Hirsch argues that a so-called sage can entice students in a variety of interesting ways. Additionally, it avoids the frustration of expecting students to inherently know what questions to ask in directing their own educational path, as necessitated by the child-centered method.

The readers should not misunderstand Core Knowledge as simply a discrete list of facts. The facts, Hirsch says, must be tied into the context of culture. Understanding culture, including the depth of its histories which shape it, is essential.

What, then, is a concerned citizen to do?

Consider this excerpt, which will likely be relatable to readers with children in their lives: “A parent in the [child-centered] schools, when a child comes home, says ‘How was your day? Okay, what’d you learn?’ The child says, ‘Uh.’ In [Core Knowledge] schools, the parent knows specifically what to ask the child. ‘What did you learn about the solar system today? What did you learn about the Bill of Rights today?’…In other schools, parents don’t know what role to play. I don’t want parents selling cookies and all that nonsense. I want them to be responsible for learning, and having them demonstrate their knowledge.”

This would suggest taking an interest in the curricula in your community’s schools. If you’ve ever read through any state’s latest educational standards, you’ll find vague statements that leave a wide berth for variations in curricular implementation across classrooms, even in the same communities at the same grade levels. It is lacking in “specific subject-matter details.” This, according to Hirsch, is problematic because it leaves society devoid of a unifying set of understandings. Without that, different people see the same events and come to vastly different conclusions.

Hirsch cites empirical evidence that the child-centered approach, when contrasted with the content-based approach he calls Core Knowledge, is lacking. The success of schools who commit to a content-based model is evidenced in their above-average test scores, their level of improvement after switching from another method, even their victories over competitors in debate championships, including students living in poverty or other oppressive life circumstances. The level of unity and competence rises in students who receive content-based instruction.

Hirsch also points out that living in society requires cooperation among people. He challenges the reader to consider the threats to democracy that individualism poses. I appreciate that Hirsch’s style is devoid of self-righteous certitude and moral indignation that makes some nonfiction reading burdensome. I recommend thoughtfully reading How to Educate a Citizen: the Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation.  When you’re done, you can check out Hirsh’s Core Knowledge series shelved in the Learning Collection of the Davenport Public Library. A list of the Learning Collection books can be found in the LibGuide here.

Hidden Database Gems: Chilton Auto Repair

Once upon a time, there were big fat books in the library with CHILTON written on the side. You could come into the library and use these books to find any information you might need about repairing or maintaining your vehicle. Sadly, due to changes in publishing and library budgets, not many of these books are still on library shelves. But never fear, that information is not gone, it’s just moved online!

Your library card gets you free access to the Chilton Auto Repair database where all that repair and maintenance information is recorded and easily accessible. Here’s how it works: first, from our website, look under Research Tools and click on Online Resources.

Scroll down this list to the “C”s, and click on Chilton Auto Repair. You may be asked to enter your library card number. Once you’ve logged in, the homepage will look like this:

Select your vehicle by year, make, and model and click Select. Then choose what category of information you’re looking for: Repair, Maintenance, Labor Estimating, or Bulletins/Recalls. From here, you can continue to narrow down the categories until you find the information you’re looking for.

This database is very useful because it includes not only downloadable and printable diagrams but also step-by-step repair procedures, a labor estimating tool, and ASE test prep quizzes for popular certification exams. If you’re looking for robust vehicle repair and maintenance information, I definitely recommend you check out this database!

Hidden Database Gems: Reference Solutions

If you don’t spend much time scrolling through the research tools on our library website, you might not know about all the amazing online databases you have access to with your library card. The list includes encyclopedias, newspaper archives, genealogy resources, children’s encyclopedias, and much more! One specific hidden gem you might not know about is Data Axle Reference Solutions (previously known as ReferenceUSA).

Reference Solutions acts primarily as a business database, allowing you to look up established and new businesses by name, executives, location, or phone number. However, it also includes searches for individuals, health care providers, and job postings. It’s a very useful database for finding contact info or addresses, especially for people or businesses.

To try out Reference Solutions, go to our website, then under Research Tools, click on Online Resources. Scroll to the “D”s and you’ll find Data Axle: Reference Solutions.

You’ll probably be asked to log in with your library card. The front page when you log in looks like this:

Here you can choose to search for an individual, a business, a job, or a health care provider. When you hover over a category, words appear underneath saying “Search” or “More Information”. If you click on “Search”, it takes you to the default search page, which includes an Advanced Search on a second tab (circled).

You can put in as much information as you want, narrowing down by location and a name, and then click Search.  The search results will look like this:

For such a useful database, it’s pretty easy to use and gets you some fast information. One caveat: not every person or business is recorded in this database, so results aren’t guaranteed. Also, in the case of corporations, you may get several phone numbers or separate entries for regional offices. You can see where a business falls in the corporation by clicking on “Corp Tree” in the far right column.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Maggie Holt was too young to remember the terrifying time she spent at Baneberry Hall, the expansive Victorian mansion her parents purchased in rural Vermont nearly 25 years earlier.  Maggie, along with her parents Ewan and Jess, lived at Baneberry Hall for only three weeks before sheer terror drove them to flee in the middle of the night.  Now nearly 30, Maggie has to face the reality of not only the recent death of her father, but yet again she has to face the skepticism and criticism regarding his best selling book, House of Horrors.  Her father’s book detailed the paranormal activity and deep secrets of the home’s history.  Author Riley Sager merges the past and present as well as the suspenseful and supernatural in Home Before Dark.

On her father’s deathbed she learns that she is the new owner of Baneberry Hall.  As a restorer of old homes, Maggie’s goal is to make the needed updates and sell the home as quickly as possible.  Upon moving into the house temporarily, Maggie begins to  doubt that her father invented many of the stories detailed in House of Horrors.  She begins to meet many of the townspeople portrayed in his book.  They have long memories and still harbor mixed emotions toward her family and the book.  As odd occurrences begin to spook Maggie, she begins to question everything that she has doubted her entire life – are there sinister evil spirits in Baneberry Hall or did her father invent the phenomenons that he claimed were true?

Home Before Dark is the second Riley Sager book that I have read and have thoroughly enjoyed both titles.  I would highly recommend his books if you enjoy the psychological suspense genre peppered with a little horror and supernatural elements.  In addition to the print book, Home Before Dark is also available as an eBook through Overdrive.

 

Homework Help With Tutor.com

 

It’s back to school time!

Have a homework question?  Look no further for assistance.  The library is please to announce the availability of Tutor.com.

The live tutoring service is available from 1:00 – 9:00 p.m. daily.  (Some holidays excluded.)    Tutor.com’s mission is to help all learners realize their full potential through personalized, one-to-one instruction and guidance.  They have 3,000+ qualified tutors who help students learn the material, not just provide the answer.

The SkillsCenter Resource Library is available 24/7.  Students can watch videos on specific subjects.  Just select your Topic, Subject, and Subtopic.  For example, Math / Middle Grades / Fractions.

Students can also submit papers for review before turning them in to their teacher for grades.  Response time is guaranteed to be within 12 hours.

Ninety-five percent (95%) of their survey respondents report that Tutor.com helps them improve their grades, complete their homework assignments, and raise their confidence!

¿Hablas español?  After entering the Tutor.com site students can switch the platform’s language to Spanish by a selection on the landing page.  This allows access to Spanish language content and ensures that you’ll be connected with a Spanish speaking tutor.

A service of The Princeton Review, Tutor.com provides study resources and practice tests for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT college entrance examinations.

Tutor.com is available to Davenport Public Library and Scott Community College cardholders.  Students just need to enter their library card number to gain access to the wealth of homework resources.

www.tutor.com/davenportpl

 

 

 

Online Reading Challenge – Mid Month Check-in

Hello Readers!

How is your reading going so far this month? It’s a crazy time so you wouldn’t be blamed if your usual reading habits have veered off course. Maybe a movie or documentary would appeal to you? Here are some to look for that center on spies, real and imagined.

Since access to the library and our collections is still limited, let’s started with a couple of free online services that we offer! First up is Acorn TV which is a treasure trove of British and foreign television series and films. Here you’ll find the documentary David Janson’s Secret Service that examines the real-life versions of some of Ian Fleming’s most iconic characters – “M”, “Q” and James Bond himself. Another documentary available on Acorn TV is The Spy Who Went Into the Cold  about the devastating betrayal of top MI-6 official Kim Philby and his defection to the USSR in 1963.

A service just added to the Library’s digital content line-up is IndieFlix  an eclectic mix of independent shorts, documentaries and feature films. You’ll find lots of classics including the brilliant Notorious staring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman about a woman asked to spy on a group of Nazi’s living in South America. Or check out British Intelligence starring Boris Karloff about German spies placed in the home of a high-ranking British official during World War I.

At this time the Library is planning on reopening the drive-up window at Fairmount beginning on May 18. There will be strict guidelines to follow to protect both patrons and staff, but you should be able to start picking up reserves again. Fill your “spy” section of the Online Reading Club with a James Bond film like Skyfall or something humorous like The Kingsmen or The Spy Who Dumped Me. If you’re in the mood for bingeing a television series, try Turn: Washington’s Spies about spies during the Revolutionary War or The Americans about Russian double agents living in the United States.

Give Your Doctor A Check-Up

Turn the tables on your doctors and give them an examination!  We are pleased to announce that within our ReferenceUSA product you’ll now find a new sub-database called U. S. Healthcare, which allows you to obtain information about your doctor’s vital statistics.

Search by the doctor’s name to learn primary specialty, medical school, year of graduation, hospital affiliations, and whether they are Board Certified.  Or if you are searching for a new doctor, you may enter geographic criteria and choose from a list of primary specialties.

This product provides information on over 675,00 doctors and 180,000 dentists, potentially providing their group’s name, office manager’s name, and what health plans they accept.

Take the pulse of your medical providers today.

Acorn TV Mysteries!

Over the last month, I have had the chance (and frankly, the time)  to indulge in one of my favorite digital offerings at the Davenport Public Library, Acorn TV!  Since mysteries are my genre of choice, Acorn TV a great place to find both long running mystery series and shorter limited run series.  Acorn TV has many excellent dramas, comedies and documentaries as well.  Two recent mysteries that I have discovered, Mayday and Winter are both top notch mystery series.  Each series is just one season and contain five and six episodes respectively.  These are but two of the many great mystery series available on Acorn TV.  To access Acorn TV from home, go to www.davenportlibrary.com and click on “Digital Content” at the top of the page.  Then, follow the directions under Acorn TV to create an account.

 

Mayday – A small English village holds its annual Mayday festival and parade where a local teenage girl will be crowned as Mayday Queen.  But as the parade begins and the Queen’s float appears down main street, it is empty.  The Mayday Queen has disappeared mere moments before the parade is set to begin with only her abandoned bike found near the woods at the edge of town.  The locals quickly organize to look for her throughout the area.  As the search goes on it becomes clear that many in the village have a motive to do harm to the young girl.  We meet a cast of characters, including ex-police officer, her detective husband, a real estate developer, a society wife and a man with mysterious access to heaps of cash.  Many of the locals have their own dark secrets that they intend to keep at any cost.  The series not only highlights the intricacies of the police  investigation but how the villagers react to a suspect being one of their own.  Mayday if full of red herrings, shocks and surprises and I highly recommend it for mystery fans.

 

Winter – Australian detective Eve Winter is on a brief hiatus between cases when she is recruited to come back after the death of a young woman whose body was found at the bottom of a rocky cliff just north of Sydney.   Simultaneously, Eve learns of a young girl hospitalized after a hit and run accident.  It becomes apparent to Eve that these two cases have everything to do with each other and if she can get the young girl to trust her and talk may be the key to cracking the case.  Splitting her time between the murder investigation and gaining the young girl’s trust, Eve and her team discover that there are many powerful and influential residents who will cover the secrets in their past at any cost.  Winter is another great mystery series with all the twists, turns and secrets of the past that make the story so memorable and suspenseful.

Ask a Librarian

Do you miss going into the library and talking to the librarians? Well, we miss talking to you! Join Stephanie, one of our Information Services Librarians, every Thursday at 2pm on Facebook where you can ask a librarian anything. Need book recommendations? Curious what a librarian does? Want to learn how to use different resources? Ask her anything!

If you have questions for your librarians, you can also call us at 563-326-7832, email us, or message us on social media. We are answering our phones Monday through Friday from 9 to 5pm. Leave a voicemail, send an email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!