Digging into Database Content

Most of us are generally familiar with how a database works, how to perform a simple search and download an article. But do you know which sources of information make up those results pages?

All of that information is readily available for you to discover, if you have the time.  Having an idea of some of the most common magazines, reference sources, and journals make up the database content might make answering patron questions easier.  Having that information will allow you to recommend more appropriate resources to assist in research.

MasterFile Premier title sources can be downloaded as Excel or HTML files from here: https://www.ebsco.com/products/research-databases/masterfile-premier . Included in the information is data on the start and stop date of full text data, web publishing delay information (embargo), and PDF availability.  This can be helpful, especially for patrons doing research with a specific publication target date.

Let’s take a look at how our patrons are using specific resources. In 2017 these magazines/journals are included in the most downloaded in Allegheny County:

  • Consumer Reports
  • American Record Guide
  • Knight-Ridder Business Newsfeed
  • Library Journal
  • Consumer Reports Buying Guide
  • USA Today
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Talent Development
  • New Yorker
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Time

You can find title lists for other resources as well.  To find title lists for Gale products like US History inContext, Literature Resource Center, or Opposing Viewpoints inContext scroll to the bottom of the page after you are inside the product and click on “About…”.  On the about page you will find title lists available.

Dustin/ Lynne, Sewickley Public Library

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OverDrive Updates

Have a hard time keeping up with all the changes that take place on OverDriver? Don’t worry! Now there is an easier way to see what is going on and to also inform your patrons!

At the top of the OverDrive Page (or also on the OverDrive App), there is a link, Recent Updates.  This is found above the link to “My Account.”

recent updates

Clicking on the Recent Updates link, redirects you to the recent changes OverDrive has made.  This page lists the recent updates, starting with the most current update.

An example of an update includes, a change that was made on August 1. Users can now use reading levels to filter search results or perform an advanced search.  This includes filtering results by Interest Levels, ATOS Levels, Lexile Measures or Text Difficulty.

Several updates occurred in June, including users now have a Rated Titles page, located under the Bookshelf.  This allows users to easily see and keep track of their rated titles.

Be sure to periodically check the Recent Updates Page to help you and your patrons stay up-to-date on the changes with OverDrive!

– Pam, Baldwin Library


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Meet Libby

OverDrive has a new app for their digital books and audiobooks – Libby!


This new version, available for your phone or tablet, can be downloaded in the Apple Store, Google Play or Microsoft (for Windows 10+).

Libby provides patrons access to the exact same collection of digital books and audiobooks as the OverDrive app, but is faster and easier!

Key Features:

  • Libby downloads the titles immediately, saving clicks and time!
  • Makes it easier to use more than one card or different library systems (perfect for patrons who go south for the winter!)
  • Improved interface.
  • Use Tags to organize your titles for personal use.

Important Notes:

  • Libby is currently only available in English (but they are working on this!)
  • Libby does NOT support streaming video.  The OverDrive app is recommended.
  • The classic OverDrive app is still available and is actually compatible with more devices (Kindle Fire, PCs).  The OverDrive app also allows a few more options such as recommending purchases, however these are to be added to Libby in the future.
  • Patrons concerned with storage should note the automatic download feature of Libby.

Check out the Libby FAQs with the information above and much more!

– Rob Kalchthaler / Bethel Park Public Library

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