Thursday, August 30, 2012

Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition

It used to be, not long ago you could walk into our SLCC libraries, stroll to the reference section, and locate a multi-volume encyclopedia set on the shelves to help you with your research needs.  Well, nowadays the volume of traditional print content in our libraries has drastically shrunk while the volume of electronically-accessed content has zoomed upward.  From time to time we will blog about some of our SLCC libraries’ great electronic resources that may be accessed by anyone with an SLCC library card and a computer.  Today we’ll talk about our Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition.

Reviewers for Library Journal selected the Britannica database as “Most Elegant” in their “Best Databases 2011” reviews, calling the interface “clear” and “visually appealing.”  In addition, they lauded its “excellent search functionality.”

Click to enlarge.
It’s easy to access this resource just by visiting our SLCC library website’s alphabetical database listings, here.  From there, scroll down to Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition and click on the title link.  Here, once you log in with your SLCC ID and PIN numbers, you will be able to access the full content of this resource.

From the Britannica front page, you will be able to utilize many features of this dynamic, continuously updated online encyclopedia.  Having up-to-date content is a huge advantage over the static, print versions of encyclopedias that used to be common in library reference areas.  But there are other advantages, too, including tools that are interactive and integrated within this resource.

Some of the main features are:  a daily updated blog, a section called “More Editor’s Picks and Blog Posts,” demo tutorial videos, a section called “Browse Feature,” broken down into several categories I will mention in a bit, a “Research Tools” section, and a handy link to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  One of the recent blog posts from this site is called “Less Than Medal-Worthy:  Oddity in the Olympics.”  Not only are the blog posts often relevant to current events, but they are often informative and amusing at the same time.

Within the “Browse Feature” area that is also found on the Britannica home page are categories arranged alphabetically that may be browse-searched within each.  They include: 
·       A-Z
·       Biographies
·       Contributors
·       E-books & Primary Sources
·       Extended Play Videos
·       Magazines
·       Media Collection
·       Quotations
·       Subjects

Another helpful section is “Research Tools,” also on the Britannica home page with its own categories.  These are: 
·       Compare Countries
·       This Day in History
·       Timelines
·        World Atlas  
·       World Data Analyst 

World Data Analyst even has a widget allowing you to select countries of the world and to create comparison tables and charts on all sorts of statistical variables.  How nifty is that?  This would be a great way to give your assignments the visual pop and relevancy that will take them to the next level.

This hints at a mere tip of the iceberg of some of the features of our Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition resource.  The next step is all yours – to go visit this website, explore, and see just how it can enhance your life!

Related LibGuide:  Research Steps and Tips