Thursday, 11 October 2012

Databases & Athens login

This entry is about the new thing I learnt about Google and Database searching.

There are several academic databases with viewing access to millions of articles, journals and books. Some of them give readers the opportunity to view the full text material while others allow readers just a preview. The one common thing about these databases is that, unless you are a member of an institution/university community your access to their resources is limited at best. Plus, it is also considered advisable to use more than one database, as this increases your resource pool. Does this mean subscribing with as many databases? Not necessarily, with the ‘Athens login’ (Athens is an authentication system which controls access to subscribed online databases) you have access to several databases online; although, the Athens subscription and a university does not guarantee full text viewing in some cases. This brings me to proffer an alternative-GOOGLE, which would suit users with neither a university nor an Athens membership.

Google is the next best thing after the Internet. I do acknowledge that there are several shortcomings with its search algorithm (which I shall discuss later). But, for people who know little about using databases and are not members of universities nor hold an Athens login, it is very useful. I certainly do not mean the ordinary Google Search, try the Advanced search (do remember to change the parameters though). You could also try other products like Google Scholar and Google Books which allows users to search full text of books scanned by Google, converted to text and stored in its digital database. It makes access to information resources readily available at no cost to you.

 So, every other Internet user without access to databases yet, do NOT just ‘google it’, try the Advanced search, Google Scholar or Google Books.

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