Discovery December 1998Montana State University-Bozeman
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Avoiding   Snow
by Jan Zauha

The wind is howling outside. Between your office and the library a horizontal snowstorm is raging. Unfortunately you need to begin researching an article. You once had only two good options: postpone your research, or bundle-up and trudge over to the library to use electronic databases like Ovid or GeoRef. As of this semester you have a third option: open up the Web browser on your office computer and access a wealth of new bibliographic and full-text databases from the MSU-Bozeman Libraries Web site.

Snowstorm or not, now is a good time to explore new options. The suite of databases formerly known as Ovid will no longer be available come January. Instead, more databases, including more full-text, are now available from the Web via the Libraries' Periodical Indexes and Databases menu. . The database menu includes a number of new subscriptions to research-level databases such as MathSciNet, CSA Environmental Sciences, and WorldCat, and links to newly networked standards such as GeoRef and Biological Abstracts. Familiar Ovid databases like MLA and CINAHL are also available from this menu, but with a new search interface.

The databases are too numerous and too extensive to describe completely here, but a glimpse should make you feel better about the weather. MathSciNet, the online version of Current Mathematical Publications and Mathematical Reviews, gives subject access to references for recent and forthcoming publications. Abstracts are included from 1970 and will soon go as far back as 1940.CSA Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management, from Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, is a group of databases covering subject areas such as aquatic pollution, bacteriology, ecology, energy resources, environmental biotechnology, environmental engineering, microbiology and risk assessment. Abstracts and citations are available from over 1500 scientific journals and thousands of other sources. WorldCat, from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), offers more than 40 million records describing items owned by hundreds of libraries around the country and internationally.Included are books, periodicals, films, manuscripts (some written as early as the 12th century), and much more, most of which are available for borrowing through Interlibrary Loan.

The database menu provides Web access to more familiar indexes as well, including GeoRef(1785 - ) and Biological Abstracts (1991 - ), both of which used to be available only on CD-ROM stations in Renne Library. Most of the former Ovid databases are also listed on the menu and have new search interfaces and, as in the case of PsychINFO, expanded content as well.While the majority of indexes listed on the Web menu offer citations and abstracts, many full-text databases are also now available, including Computer Database, ABI/Inform, PROMT,JSTOR, and Health Reference Center. Full-text databases especially helpful for undergraduate research include Academic Universe (from Lexis-Nexis) and Expanded Academic ASAP.

Additions to this menu of databases are frequent, so explore often. For help searching any of the indexes, try their online help pages, or call or stop in at the Renne Library reference desk. If you find Web sites that you think might be of interest to the MSU community, please send me an e-mail message at alijz@montana.edu

Jan Zauha is a reference librarian and the Electronic Information Coordinator for the MSU libraries.

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