Introduce students to powerful databases

Introduce students to powerful databases

The Pierce College Library is full of surprises. 

Within this 89,000-square-foot space are a number of resources to foster student success, which includes a computer lab, textbook reserves and study rooms.

The library also contains a resource called academic databases.

Databases are a great resource for students to use because they are materials held to a high academic standard and more trustworthy than using Wikipedia or a random website on Google.

More awareness is needed for our library databases to be used to their fullest potential.

According to the Pierce Library website, databases “are organized digital collections of information,” with unique content from various time periods. Such content includes ebooks, videos and periodicals including scholarly journals, newspapers and magazines. 

These databases include JSTOR, Oxford Music Online and ProQuest Central.

Currently, Pierce has a one unit course to teach students “comprehensive Internet research skills and strategies applicable to academic research,” according to the website. Called “Library Science 102 – Internet Research Methods,” this UC and CSU transferable course has students “finding books and ebooks in online catalogs, constructing searches and analyzing results in article databases” to write a research paper on their desired topic. 

Pierce can promote the use of databases by adding this course to their list of required classes for Area E of their CSU GE-Breadth Certification Plan. If Area E is an area of “lifelong learning and self-development,” then LIBSCI 102 would be a beneficial addition. In the future, maybe Pierce will consider adding LIBSCI 102 to their AA degrees and IGETC plans as well.

Some teachers list available resources for students on their syllabi. However, more can be done to promote the use of databases. Mentioning databases on the syllabus would be a good start. Teachers can also create assignments that require students to use the databases. For areas of studies that don’t require the use of databases, they can create extra credit assignments that utilize the databases.

The library can also facilitate the use of databases by creating workshops that help students navigate them. There are currently online guides with videos on how to access the available database, but a hands-on approach would encourage more students to use and acknowledge the existence of this resource. Perhaps, teaching students the value of databases can help curb the possibility of cheating with or reliance on artificial intelligence software like ChatGPT.

The library’s mission is to “to facilitate quality library services, focusing on student success, teaching and learning excellence, and implementation of newly developing technologies.” Through promotion, education and organization the awareness of databases can become a vital tool for students.

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