Discovering which of our many databases may or may not give you access to a specific journal or magazine title can be a little time consuming. Therefore, I thought I’d let you all in on a little secret.
Imagine a patron asks “Do you have back issues of the Canadian history journal The Beaver?” You look around at your little library and wonder if your patron can be serious… then you remember our databases. So you march over to the computer and stare at the list of 22 databases… which one would it be in? Now I know many of you would diligently search all the likely candidates: General Reference Center Gold, Academic Search Elite, Masterfile Premier, CPI.Q, Canadian Reference Center etc… However, since you also diligently read this blog you will now know there is an easier way.
“Well, get on with it… what is this easier way?” you ask. Simon Fraser University has developed an excellent resource which used to be called Jake but is now called CUFTS. Have any of you used it? In brief, the service allows you to search by title or ISSN for periodicals and discover which database the item is indexed in. I must warn you now that not all of our databases are indexed in this service. Obviously, Chilton Library and Novelist are not but I don’t believe AGRICOLA or Electric Library are there either. However, it is still a very helpful tool. Why don’t I walk you through a search for The Beaver…
Instead of staring blankly at the list of databases, therefore, you navigate to the CUFTS search screen, which you have saved in your favorites, bookmarks, del.icio.us or other personal webography manager. A quick search for the title Beaver gives you a list of possible periodical titles: *Note I’m using the beta version of CUFTS here - its more up to date*
Oh great - it looks like there are two good candidates here, but a quick search in Tracpac reveals that the ISSN for the magazine matches the first result above. You click on that result and voila:
It appears that we have 4 databases which index this title. If I could fit a larger image in here you would also see that CPI.Q and Canadian Reference Center have full-text from 2001 to the present and and the Ebsco databases have full-text from 1990 to the present.
Since you are a first class librarian your reference interview with the history seeking patron has revealed that he is looking for a specific article from the January edition of the 1995 issue. You, therefore, quickly navigate to our Ebsco databases and print the patron his article. The result of all of this… one very impressed and happy patron who vows to bequeath his vast fortune to the library upon his death and you saved yourself enough time to answer the next persons questions just as magically or take the time to show Mr. History how to search the databases himself.
Have another great day in Library Land…