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This is a long overdue posting but never the less, I would like to thank
everyone who responded very much for their input.  I have compiled a list
of the responses:
Thank you all!

Carole Holway
Media Specialist
Tampa Preparatory School
Tampa, Florida

> I have been using EBSCO for several years and have been happy. I
>> considered ProQuest but felt that for the money EBSCO was a better
>> value based on our needs and our students.
>> For English we have Galenet "Discovering Authors" and "Shakespeare"
>> and this has worked well plus I use Monarch Notes on CD for character
>> analysis, etc.
We have used SIRS, Electric Library and EBSCO and they are all wonderful.
If you can only have one I would suggest Electric Library.  It is user
friendly and gives you charts, maps, pictures, TV, books, magazine and
newspaper articles.  I think they were just bought by Proquest, but I am
not sure.

SIRS is also user friendly and written in a language that is easy for high
school students to comprehend.  It covers many, many topics. The students
really like it also.
Just last year Dade County media specialists and teachers had to make the
same decision you have to make now about online databases.

Vendors came and presented their products to a committee (there were about
of us teachers and media specialists from different grade levels).  The
committee took the products to their schools and tried them with students
teachers.  If you look at Dade county's web page: dcps.dade.k12.fl.us
see what we chose as follows:

Bell & Howell (formerly ProQuest)  Elementary level to 5th grade
NewsBank (all grades)
Gale Net (middle and high school)
Sirs (middle and high school)
Maps 101

Some of the schools inluded in the committee already had some of the
databases and were very happy with them.  I think we chose well.  Some of
guidelines were authority, primary sources included, subject area
frequency of updating, variety of opinions included, timeliness.

I like Proquest the best followed by Infotrac SuperTom.

We have Proquest Gold, am previewing SIRS online ( have had the stand
version and really like it!), and previewing Discovering Authors. I think
that's about it for now.

We subscribed to Electric Library online and have really been pleased
with its comprehensiveness.  It gives students information from reference
books, magazines, newspapers (better coverage than for example Infotrac),
maps, pictures, and TV show.  It is easy to use with one exception.  It
does not use any sub-topics as Infotrac does).  It does allow Boolean
searches though.  In other words, you get a lot for your money.

 HS media specialists are looking at the following on-line
services and elvaluating them:
World's best poetry on-line
Electric library/ProQuest
Ebsco elite
Facts on file
Grolier on line

according to some at out meeting yesterday, for English - gale.net is very

We'll have more information later as we look at these things.  You can
contact the company and get free previews

We have Proquest Gold, am previewing SIRS online ( have had the stand
version and really like it!), and previewing Discovering Authors. I think
that's about it for now.

We have been using Proquest for 2  years  now and like it.  Kids are
finding it wasy to search, and there are lots of good results.

Consider the SIRS Renaissance database for English.  They'll let you try
them free for 30 or 60 days.  When we selected our databases, we arranged
for these trials and let the kids provide feedback.

I prefer proquest direct because it has full text of both the Washington
Post and Baltimore Sun.  Since our small, rural county is close to both of
these bigger places, these papers often have news about happenings in our
small county.  This allows research to be done in civics classes about our
county since our local papers are too small to ever be indexed in any
service.  Plus,  I think Proquest is a great database and is in many
colleges so our kids are prepared.  I do think it is harder to use than
others, like Electric Library, but a whole lot better in quality and

We have Ebsco Middle Search Plus and Infotrac.  For your grade levels, I
think Infotrac would be more useful.  We have not had any trouble with
either service.

My favorite is  Electric Library.  Think the firm is   Infonautics.

We use proquest platinum and have been very pleased with the service.  We
had the "mostly abstracts" version of Ebsco so I'm planning to preview it
again later in the spring.  It will have to be really outstanding for me
to switch.  Proquest definitely meets our needs.

My level is 9-12, and I like proquest bronze best.  The list of magazines
is not quite as exhaustive as Platinum and Ebsco.  My students tend to
find what they want sooner and do not grow discouraged wading through the
massive amount of material provided in the large data bases.

While many schools use elibrary, i found it did not give my students the
depth of material they needed. All of these services will give you a free
trial.  Sign up for a couple of these when you have a research class
coming to use the library and see what your students think.

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