eResource Challenge Warm Up!

Eager to get started with the ACLA eResource Challenge?  We’ve developed some warm-up challenges to keep you busy while we put the teams together.  Today’s warm-up will cover databases.  Later this week we’ll switch our focus to downloadables.

For this warm-up we’ll be utilizing our history resources. You’ll find the scenario below.  For the official challenges we will also include a link that will take you step-by-step through answering the challenge.  For the warm-up, though, feel free to share any tips or observations in the comments below.

The question is just a guide. Use it as a starting point to explore the resources. Your responses can be brief, include bullet points, incomplete sentences, whatever is easiest for you.

The Scenario:
A patron calls the library and says, “I was listening to the radio the other day and they were discussing the countries in Europe after World War I. They were well into the discussion, and the program was almost over so I was only half paying attention to it. I could swear someone mentioned something like the ‘Pittsburgh Agreement,’ but that seems impossible. What would something called the ‘Pittsburgh Agreement’ have to do with Europe after WWI? Can you help me figure out if I heard correctly?

Search for information using World History in Context and/or U.S. History in Context.  What did you discover? How easy was it to find an answer? If you tried the search in both databases, which would you recommend, and why? Do you have any tips for making the search easier?

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to follow the Virtual Lexicon blog (on the right).  That way you’ll get notification every time we post a new challenge.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. LAF

    Quotation marks are your friend. 🙂 Also, you can search both of these databases at once, regardless of which portal you enter, which is nice.

    Don’t want to give away the fun of discovery, so I’ll stop here, but: great warm-up question! Looking forward to the main event.

    Leigh Anne

  2. Maria

    I would do an advanced search and put Pittsburgh Agreement in quotes to keep the words together.

  3. 000

    Google showed me the beginning of the wikipedia entry before I finished typing “agreement.”

  4. grahamd2013

    The Pittsburgh Agreement was signed in 1918 in Pittsburgh by Thomas Masaryk, future President of what was to become Czechoslovakia. The agreement provided for Slovak autonomy in the newly formed state. The same lengthy article is listed in the Reference heading in both sites. I was able to fine 4 newspaper relevant newspaper references in the US History in Context database using “Pittsburgh agreement” as my search term.

  5. carrie m. stanny

    The Pittsburgh agreement was signed in 1918 at the Loyal Order of Moose in Downtown Pittsburgh. It established a new Slovak state. See attached for a photo of the building, there is also an historic marker as well–!/ll/40.442928314209,-80.0013656616211/id/9170/info/details/zoom/14/

  6. Kaarin

    One of the best things about these databases is that you can search them both at once! Once I did that, it was easy!

  7. LaMonica

    I actually started with a simple Google search which led me to a nice online website that highlighted information about the agreement and the events surrounding it. I then turned to the US History and World History in Context databases. Using Pittsburgh agreement in quotes, I was able to locate an encyclopedia reference article on the history of the Slovak Americans which speaks in great volume about the Pittsburgh agreement. I also located several “news” articles that feature a bit of history about the agreement as well. Below is an excerpt from the encyclopedia article:

    “During World War I, the league and Slovak fraternal societies worked to secure American and international support for the creation of an independent Czecho-Slovakia. Their activities included lobbying American politicians and trying to influence public opinion. The league and its supporters pressured Thomas Masaryk, the future first president of Czechoslovakia, into signing the Pittsburgh Agreement on May 30, 1918. The document ostensibly provided for Slovak autonomy within the newly created state. According to the agreement’s provisions Slovakia was to have its own independent administration, parliament, and court system. The Pittsburgh Agreement subsequently became one of the most controversial documents in Czechoslovakia’s history. Its provisions were not incorporated into Czechoslovakia’s constitution, and a centralized government was established instead. ”

    Alexander, June Granatir. “Slovak Americans.” Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Ed. Jeffrey Lehman. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 1634-1645. U.S. History In Context. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.

  8. Ross

    Found it with great ease. I enjoy these challenges because it gives me a chance to use databases I might not always use.

  9. LD

    searched ‘Pittsburgh agreement’ and found the answer in a news article about the Pittsburgh Agreement coming to live at the History Center.

  10. Caroline

    In the U.S. History database, the Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America has a nice summary of the Pittsburgh Agreement under Slovak Americans. Great practice on the databases!

  11. Debbie

    I also used Google, and looked for reputable sources. I would have expanded the search to Google Scholar if there was a need to provide extensive documentation. Since the patron in the hypothetical scenario wanted basic information, the information found in “Explore PA History” would be enough to answer their inquiry.

  12. Charlie

    This is not something I usually deal with. I’ve always found the “Data Bases” a little intimidating. My usual response would be, “I’ll get a reference librarian for you.” But this was my chance, no pressure…
    I didn’t know about quotation marks. so I typed in Pittsburgh Agreement in both. World History gave me nothing, U.S. History gave me one item. But Google! I didn’t need quotation marks, and there was a great deal of info.
    Thanks for the challenge. It got me outside my comfort zone.

  13. Regina

    Searching US History in Context for Pittsburgh Agreement produced good results. Using the Search Within Results option and entering World War I produced even better results.

  14. Amy

    I also compared search results with and without quotes. Being a lazy typist, I didn’t want to re-type the search terms and wasn’t sure where to find options to edit a previous search – I did find it under Search History, by clicking on Revise.

  15. Hannah

    I like these two Gale databases because the search results include both reference and news sources, which is great for a patron who wants a little more historical context.

  16. Julie Huber

    I searched US History in Context and first tried “World War 1 Pittsburgh” but that didn’t return any entries. When I tried “Pittsburgh Agreement” the first entry was an encyclopedia article on Slovak Americans. Information about the Pittsburgh Agreement was under the subheading: Relations with Slovakia and I found that the Pittsburgh Agreement was signed in 1918 to give Slovakia its own administration, court system, etc. within Czechoslovakia. This entry required a lot of scrolling, but it was the only reference entry I could find with those search terms.

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