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Ref Forum - May 8: What's Your Favorite Database and Why?



What's Your Favorite Database and Why?

When: Wednesday, May 8, 2-3:30
Where: IC Classroom

We have 1,249 databases at last count. How do we recommend a database to a scholar? Scholar status and discipline are key. What about ease of use and special features (alerts, personalization, citation info)? How do you find specific content such as think tank papers or case studies? How about ebooks?

Let's all learn from each other:
- Appreciate a database you've never used
- Brainstorm the features you expect and "must have"
- Strategize how we can share knowledge about databases among ourselves

Do you have a favorite database you would like to share? If so, let us know by Friday, May 3. Kris Kasianovitz will be presenting CIAO and Phyllis Kayten will be presenting Policy File.

We will also break into smaller groups and explore other databases so bring a mobile device or grab a laptop from the cart.

Come to the IC Classroom prepared for a lively discussion on the features we most like and dislike and how to find particular content in the databases we use.

by Malgorzata I Schaefer


CAB Abstracts indexes journals and other literature in applied life sciences, including agriculture, environment, veterinary sciences, applied economics, food science and nutrition. Excellent international coverage sets CAB Abstracts apart from other databases, with publications from over 116 countries in 50 languages, including English abstracts for most articles. A very large percentage of literature is not indexed anywhere else. The wide-ranging subject coverage of the database includes agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, biotechnology, biofuels, biosafety, and bioterrorism, climate change, tourism and ecotourism, food science, human nutrition, natural resources, and waste management.
My favorites are (all listed at

Congressional Publications - historic Congressional documents of all types and covering an amazing array of subject areas. Check out hearings, CRS reports, House/Senate documents and reports, bills and more.

IGO and NGO search - we've built google custom search engines subsetted to the top Intergovernmental Organizations (UN, World Bank, OECD etc) and Non-Governmental Orgs (Greenpeace, food policy research institute and 1600 others).

Reference Universe - database of back-of-the-book indexes to subject encyclopedias and other reference works in a wide variety of subject areas. The best part is, Reference Universe can be used to access Stanford Library's extensive reference collection including our growing number of digital reference resources. The first stop for any researcher!
SciFinder - SciFinder is the most comprehensive coverage of chemistry & chemical engineering. It has the world’s largest collection of organic and inorganic substance information. 1907-present plus important scientific discoveries from mid-1800s. Updated daily. This search interface is among the most powerful in our database collection. It has natural language query, automatically includes synonyms and variant spelling, and search results can be sliced and diced many ways. Chemistry is defined very broadly so includes topics of environmental interest plus many other areas.

EspaceNet - Espacenet’s worldwide database enables you to search for information about published patent applications from over 90 different countries and regions. Espacenet also offers free access to more than 70 million patent documents worldwide – most of them patent applications rather than granted patents – from 1836 today. Includes the full-text for U.S. patents. It is possible to print and download documents.

EOLSS - (Encyclopedia of Life Systems Support) An integrated compendium of sixteen encyclopedias. It attempts to forge pathways between disciplines in order to show their interdependence and helps foster the transdisciplinary aspects of the relationship between nature and human society. It deals in detail with interdisciplinary subjects, but it is also disciplinary as each major core subject is covered in great depth, by world experts.

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