Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Database of the Week: Newsbank

This week's database is Newsbank, a database that includes access to the full-text of over 1,000 newspapers from around the world and is updated daily. The Vise Library's subscription does not cover 1,000 titles but still has access to content from titles such as Newsweek and Popular Science.

Newsbank has useful features beyond the access to newspaper and magazine titles. On the homepage, users will find a current events section that has a link to "hot topics" such as the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 2012 Presidential election. This section provides students with research questions on these topics to help them formulate their own research questions. This section also provides search terms so students can do research about these topics in other databases.

Another useful feature of Newsbank is the special reports section on the homepage. According to the website, the special reports section focuses on topics of current interest and new information is added daily. Once users choose a topic from the special reports section, they are taken to a page that has articles, background data, videos, images, maps, search topics, and websites. This is a great resource for finding a lot of information about a topic in one place.

Newsbank also has a year in review section, which is found on the special reports page. The year in review has information about business and economics, government and politics, people, natural disasters, social and legal issues, military, obituaries, sports, science, technology, health, the environment, education, the arts, and literature. Stories in this section have been compiled from national and international newspapers. The year in review section would be a great resource for current events classes or anyone interested in remembering the major events that happened during the prior year.

Newsbank differs from some of the previous database of the week selections because there is not a specific way to search by keyword or topic. This is another database where it is better to browse and see what comes up, rather than trying to start with a topic in mind. It's a good starting point for research and users can find a lot of information about current topics. Next week, we'll talk about Points of View.

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