Online Library Critiques
Writing a five stage research paper is a rather daunting task; especially when there is no limit to the type, style or number of resources you can use. With my city library card, I searched the databases, specifically: The Historic New York Times, Newsbank, Utah Digital Newspaper and World Book Online. All these databases are very different, but very distinct with both positives and negatives to their sites.
World Book Online:
I had no previous thoughts or inclinations about this site, usually world book has great information because it is such a large national database. It was mostly a breeze to operate, but there was a lot of information to sift through. Search Pending....
Utah Digital Newspaper:
This was another website that was not exactly user-friendly. Once I began searching the site for the words "Reduce Stress" I became very frustrated. The articles that popped up had nothing to do with my topic, and I had to open each one individually because the search options only included the name of the paper, the date it was written and occasionally the title. To top that feature off, the pictures of the articles were so small it was very difficult to read, after you waited 10 minutes for the article to load. However, after searching through the heaps of unrelated topics: ALAS! A fantastic article from SLCC that talked about finals week. This search was a frustrating success.
I was forewarned that this site would be more difficult to search, because the search engine feature was, basically non-existent. When I did find the search feature, I used the Salt Lake Tribune link to find my articles. From there Things became less and less satisfactory. All the articles that popped up after my search of "Stress Relief" were about a range of topics; all of which had absolutely nothing to do with the health benefits, mental aspects or actual reduction of stress. In fact, the searches I had all came up because of the word "stress" that was found inside their articles. Finally however, I did find an article about how blogging de-stresses a stay at home mom; not exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it. This search was a limited success.
Historic New York Times:
Obviously, a larger newspaper like the New York Times is going to have a very user-friendly website. I loved two main features about their site. First: It was very easy to navigate through, and Second: The decade search to narrow down the field search to a specific year or even month was very helpful. The Historic New York Times was the most user-friendly site and my favorite. All the articles that popped up were relative to my topic, unlike some of the other databases. When I typed in "Stress Reduction/ Relief" topics that arrived were about relieving stress (for humans) and then the occasional article on stress reduction in the government. I'd say that was for sure a successful search.
Learning how to navigate through online search databases will be an important skill for college. Even though it takes loads of time to navigate through the fog on some sites, it seemed to be a success for me. I found articles that pertain exactly to my research topic, and some articles that were a little off course but might still be useful. The Historical New York Times was by far my favorite, and since both Newsbank and Utah Digital Newspaper were dead last in my mind, second place must be awarded to The World Book Online.