Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Slopes, and Springs and Summits (Oh My!)

We reference librarians are often excited by what's available in our databases. We know how much is available in these databases, so we know how underused they are. I guess it's because Google seems to provide all that there is. Or maybe, it's the name: databases. Can you think of a less inviting name? As reference librarians, it's our job to answer questions and provide information. So we're leery about getting info from random web sites and we can't just give up if Google doesn't come through.
Take one of our newer databases for example: A to Z the USA. The database compiles tons of information about every state and county in the country. Everything from ballet companies to crime statistics; energy resources to license plates. In the gazetteer section you can locate every beach, cave, cliff, rapids, swamp and 60 other geographical features. Included are human-made features like churches, bridges and mines and some lesser-known destinations like aars, benches, pillars and guts. Fortunately, all terms are defined. Each listing includes latitude and longitude and a link to Google maps. (The database is accessible from home to Wellesley residents--a library card is needed.)

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