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Research is easier for patrons through new library database

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

If you were thinking about a career as an encyclopedia salesperson, think again.

The Minden Library now offers an online reference database that will enable its Web site visitors to access four encyclopedias online – with at least one of them in Spanish.

“Actually, we’ve had the technology for some time, but we’re starting to promote it through some bookmarks we’ll be handing out to each patron as they check out books from now on,” said Minden Library Director Linda Deacy. “It’s such a boon for people to get into a good encyclopedia from home. And, we’ve got much more available now on top of that.”

The library’s “new” databases are available through the Internet to patrons and non-patrons, although Senior Library Technician Dan Doyle said he hopes everyone will want to get a library card.

“At this point, we just want everyone to know they can access this service because there’s a dearth of information out there,” he said. “After all, libraries are information centers – our role is getting the information out there.”

If you do not have Internet access at home, the Minden Library has eight computers currently available to patrons, with more to come, Doyle said.

Patrons are welcome to use them on a first-come, first-served basis, and library personnel are available to help with questions on accessing the databases, Deacy said.

To access the databases, go to http://douglas.lib.nv.us and click on “databases.” Then, click on “click here” and enter 21471 in the top box and the word library in the bottom box (it may already be printed there). You should be in at this point.

You will have several databases to choose from:

Here you can access The New Book of Knowledge, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Americana Online and Nueva Enciclopedia Cumbre en linea.

Researchers can search for information in a variety of ways, by subject or word, etc.

This is a magazine index and full text source with up-to-date newspaper and magazine articles from 1,850 sources.

“We could never afford to carry so many periodicals,” Doyle said. “We carry only around 50, but you can access so many more through this database.”

Photos are available with some of the articles and users can e-mail text and stories to their other computers, Doyle said.

The Social Issues Resource Series has four categories:

The Researcher is geared as a general reference for social, scientific, health, historic, business, economic, political and global issues.

The Government Reporter has information on federal government documents, departments, agencies, elected leaders and more.

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, historic documents, national archive documents and a directory of Congressional members are also at this site.

The Renaissance site accesses information and graphics on music, literature, film, performing arts, cultures, architecture, philosophy, religion and visual arts. There is also a Glossary of the Arts with more than 11,000 explanations of arts and humanities terms.

The Discoverer Deluxe is a visually attractive general reference for children in grades 1-9. The site offers multiple reading levels, biographical information, state and country facts and The World Almanac for Kids 2000 – a 26,000-article encyclopedia-style reference.

This $750,000 statewide reference database service was funded by the Douglas County Public Library, Consolidated Libraries Automated Network and the Nevada State Legislature.

“The wonderful thing about this service is, it’s only a small portion of the budget, but it provides so much,” Deacy said. “We hope people will take home their bookmarks and give it a try.”

The Minden Library is located at 1625 Library Lane. Hours of operation are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call 782-9841.