|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Connect To: Online Databases
By Brenda Thomson, Community Relations Coordinator
February 7, 2007
Good information is hard to find. Often resources that seem pertinent to your topic are not current, not reliable, or simply not accessible. This was my constant struggle as a college student trying to find reliable information on a deadline. Halfway through college I discovered a valuable warehouse of information through my college library – the online database.
Unlike the books in my small collection; databases provided up-to-date research on just about any assigned topic. They were easy to search with my own criteria. Often I could read the article I needed right on my computer screen without spending valuable time hunting in the stacks. I have recently rediscovered databases as part of my work at Natrona County Public Library.
I was not surprised to find databases of general resources, including professional journals, encyclopedias, and bibliographies. What I was surprised to learn is that databases exist for much more than solely academic interests! There are databases designed specifically for charting your family tree, finding novelists with similar writing styles, and for getting instructions on how to fix your car.
In fact, Natrona County Public Library has recently gained access to additional databases that further enhance this collection of resources. Have you ever needed more information about a business than what the phone directory provides? “Reference USA ” is a handy resource. Easy search tools allow you to find a specific business or person from among the 14 million US businesses and 135 million households included in the database.
Search fields include not just name, address or phone number, but business size, number of employees, annual profit, businesses or homes in the same address block or zip code, and median house prices. This database is helpful in conducting market research, finding a contact name for a job you’re applying for, or finding local businesses that fall into a category of your choosing.
New databases offered by NCPL include “Hein Online” for conducting legal research, “PriceIt! Antiques” for researching antiques and their values based on recent auctions, and 2 new resources for finding grants for which you may qualify. “Foundation Directory Online” provides information about grants for nonprofit organizations. The second database, “Foundation Grants to Individuals Online” provides information about grants that can be secured by individuals.
ValueLine Online is another helpful resource to access through NCPL. Many library patrons are familiar with ValueLine’s magazines. Through the online resource you can keep track of stock performance and receive updates one week before the printed copy becomes available. A class on how to utilize this valuable resource will be held in the library’s Tech Center at 10:00 am on February 26. Be sure to call the reference desk at 237-4935 ext 2 to reserve your seat for this lesson.
Search tips are available from NCPL’s reference librarians, who can help you discover the database that fulfills your information needs. While many of these resources must be accessed from the library, several are available from your home or business as well. If you are looking for reliable, up to date information – whatever your topic may be – don’t underestimate the value of research databases. To explore further, visit www.natronacountylibrary.org and click the “databases” link.
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