I Heart Academic Databases

I’ve done it, you’ve done it and most students’ in your classes have done it.  The not-so-silent groan after your least favorite Professor hands out the assignment sheet for your next major research paper.  10-15 pages, two sources on every page.  You’d rather get a root canal than sit at home and write this paper when you could be watching Glee.  You think about all the other class assignments you have and you see the hours of sleep you get each night dramatically decrease before your eyes.  Finally, the friendly, colorful, comforting image of ‘Google’ comes into mind, the familiarity of it brings your increased heart rate to a normal (after 3 cups of coffee) level.  You know ‘Google’ will never fail you as long as your wireless is working.  All you have to do is type in the title of that book you never got around to reading and the quotes for your research paper will pop up, making your academic life a breeze.  Of course it takes 20 minutes to wade through the 20,000 websites that popped up in your search.  You find the perfect one, that you hope is credible and accurate. Copy-and-paste the words that somewhat pertain to your topic into the word document – right before you have to adjust the font, size and color to make it all match.  Then you stress about how to properly cite this website and author so you don’t run into any plagiarism issues.  Academic institutions tend to frown upon that.  You then fill in your own thoughts around those quotes and 5 hours later your done, searching for your stapler so you can get half an hour of sleep before the paper is due for your 8:30am class.

A few weeks later you get the paper back and your grade is less than you were hoping.  You wonder what happened, what when wrong, you spent such a long time on that paper!  On the book you may or may not have read.

Next time this happens to you (and it will, I promise) think about using the Library.  Yes, that’s right, the brick building that is an entire 6 minute walk from the dining hall.  There are people here with the sole purpose of ensuring that you write a phenomenal research paper.  They’re called librarians, and they’re great.  They can sit down with you and go over the online databases – which are, in fact, better than your beloved ‘Google’.  Craig Silverstein, who is the director of technology at google even says so in this article: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/loveyourlibrary/quotesaboutlibraries/index.cfm.  There are entire papers written by experts on the same topic you are writing yours on.  Think of all those nice, long quotes you can use! These databases aren’t free, they come with some hefty fees that are taken out of your tuition. That’s right, you pay for these magical databases – so you better start using them!  You can search through the databases by subject area – it’s really quite simple.  You also will not have those irritating ads on the side.  As your trying to read about the history of women’s education in the Eighteenth Century, you won’t have weight loss and teeth whitening ads lining your right margin – wasn’t it great when Facebook was also ad free?  Regardless, your academic databases are!  Plus, many of them already come cited, so you can simply copy and paste that into your Works Cited page.  That earlier stress about plagiarism is no longer a problem!  No need for Noodlebib, either.  – That’s right, I just saved you an entire, time consuming step. These databases are also updated on a regular basis, so you aren’t getting articles from the dark ages.  Although they do have a wide range in the dates they were written, in case you’re looking for historical articles.  Like ‘Google’, you can also access these magical databases from home, in your pajamas while watching your favorite episode of Lost, on repeat (it’s okay, we all do it).   When you use these databases and the librarians (which you can e-mil, instant message or text) your grades for papers will increase, dramatically.  This will effect your GPA in a very good way, making your parents proud, allowing you to get into a stellar graduate school, where you will meet the person of your dreams and then get married.  Yes, all because you stopped using Google for your research papers.  It’s that easy!

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2 Comments

Filed under guest blogger

2 responses to “I Heart Academic Databases

  1. lwilson2

    Great post! Informative, and it put a smile on my face. 🙂

  2. Rspeakman

    I too heart data bases! They have been so helpful! Great post!

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