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Thank you for your opinions! I already treated online database sources
as whatever the original print source happens to be (magazine, journal,
etc.) but, as many of you experience, there is not always agreement
among the staff on this issue. Your responses will be helpful for me to
share with my English teachers. Below are the compiled results of my
post. Thanks again!

The most correct approach (as far as I understand it) would be to cite
the source from it's print identity as obtained online. I encourage
teachers to be flexible in how they count such sources if they have
required students to have a certain number of books, of magazines, of
newspapers, and of Internet sources.

I'd have students cite the sources as a print resource.  After all, they
are actually looking at periodicals, not a website off the Internet when
they find information.
Tish, they are reference sources. That you access them through the
Internet doesn't make a difference as to content. At one time you could
get the resources on cdroms, (and in some cases you still can), so are
they different now?

I would distinguish them from Internet resources such as Google, Yahoo,
YFSE (your favorite search engine), Librarians Index to the Internet,
Research Buzz, etc.  Of these, Librarians Index to the Internet comes
closest to the major online reference sources, since the sites are
submitted and indexed by librarians and resource specialists.
In almost all cases, the material available on Student Resource Center
other databases was available in print first (or simultaneously). Show
teacher the citation info (often at the bottom of the article) to show
they appeared in reference books, magazines or journals.  Only the
websites should be considred online sources.  That being said, when 1 of
teachers requires an online source, she accepts Student Resource Center.
They are print sources. They articles were, at one point, in print.
They are just retrieved NOW electronically. I consider something such as
Abc Clio's American History Online to be an electronic resource since
the information is not or was not ever available in print.

I find the teachers like to consider the ELibrary/Ebsco articles as
internet sources because they want to ensure their students use book
sources, which is a valid concern, one which I also share.  The teachers
don't want to say "YOu have to have 5 sources, but only 2 can be
internet sources" but then have the kids sit on the computer anyway and
get the 5 sources and never crack open a book.  Many of our teachers fix
this by stating that the students have to have at least one BOOK as a
source and a max of one internet site, so the rest is up to them.  I
then will explain that the databases are on the internet, but they are
not web sites and so on and so forth.  They do "get it" and research
Hi!  I work  in a high school and also at the local
community college.  Students can use MLA or APA at
both levels.  If the English dept. doesn't have a
format, then YOU should set it!  I use MLA for English
and APA for social studies formats.

It is considered an "electronic reference" NOT
internet, first of all.  The citation is written just
like a book or magazine, except at the end when you
say "Reproduced in LIterature Resource Center ...) OR "WilsonSelect,
Your High School Library, Your Town, the date"

On-line data bases are considered electronic sources the same as cd-rom.
Our teachers do not consider them to be internet sources, but the same
as print sources, i.e. If they are encyclopedia, they are encyclopedia,
if periodical then periodical.
I tell my teachers that we no longer buy big brown books to sit on the
shelf because we buy the databases that are the same thing only online.
Depending on the teacher they count them one way or the other.  I count
them as print sources.  I explain that they are like e-books.  Of course
the databases that you have mentioned have magazines, newspapers, and
reference books so maybe the teacher needs to ask for a variety in that
way - one magazine, one newspaper, one reference book source?
This presents an interesting problem, more complex than simply print or
internet.  It goes to the heart of the research process... requiring
quality resources regardless of format needs to be encouraged, rather
than a list of 1 magazine, 1 book, 1 internet source....
Your style manual will indicate how to cite it, but not how to
categorize it.  For instance, a Newsweek article retrieved from Ebsco,
or an article from Student Resource Center that is available in print
could be either print or electronic.  I would work with your teachers
to stress the quality of the resources used over the format, especially
if she's using databases.  I would possibly suggest a limit on the
number of web sites retrieved by using Google, Yahoo, etc.
I tell my students and teachers that it counts as a database source -
with the original source usually being in print.  I consider it
different than an "Internet" source which is usually accessed via a
search engine.
Databases are Internet based reference sources. I consider them a third
type of resource, not a print source or an Internet source (defined as
freely available on the Web). I encourage the use of the databases
before Internet searching as they provide generally better quality, more
scholarly material and often include links to websites which have been
evaluated by professionals for relevant content and quality. As I tell
our students "You can work hard at Google or work smart in the
If I had to choose I'd pick print because that is what they most
resemble. I think of Internet sources as material that does not exist
in any other form besides the one found at that URL. Those databases
are collections of print materials that have been put online.
In my opinion, if you could get the same article from a print source,
it's NOT an internet source.
I also have English teachers who disagree with me on this.

I think this is an issue were we must insist that an online source from
a periodical or reference book not be treated the same as a source
obtained from a www search.

 I must admit to not understanding  how you could question whether it's
a print source when you could simply go to another part of the LMC and
provide a hard copy.    I usually pull a newsweekly off the shelves and
ask the teacher why it would be different if the same article were
obtained online.    In our school students can print without cost, but
have to pay for copies.     Would the teacher want to tell the students
to photocopy each article?  We also provide remote access to our
databases, which include the full text of the Twayne series.    Would
the teacher want to limit access to when the student is physically in
your library?
I would call them internet sources. Our e-books, however, I would call
print sources. Please post a hit.
Your style manual that the English department uses for citing references
for their writing will help differentiate for them.  For example,if it
is a database such as SIRS or etc. and was originally posted in a
magazine, we have the students follow the ALA manual which does give
examples for citing online databases which contain magazine articles.
I tell students and faculty that the databases are the same as print.
The databases take the print article and make it available in a
different format.
I say they are "print" resources, as you may have the same things on
your reference shelf or periodical collection.  The "open internet" can
lead you anywhere.  Google, Yahoo, etc. are not directed or finite
Databases like Ebsco, Proquest, Student Resource Center, etc., should
count as print resources, as most of the articles were originally print
materials, with all the editorial implications for authentication and
accuracy.  Did your English teachers consider Time magazine differently
when you gave it to them on microfilm or microfiche instead of in paper?
Online is simply another delivery format for many print materials.
I had this discussion with one of my English teachers just this fall,
also. Most of the teachers (with this one exception, of course) count
the databases as print sources. I always tell the kids that if we could
afford the physical copies of the books, magazines and newspapers we
have access to through the databases, they would be the same. In my
"discussion" with this teacher, I even pulled up an article from Ebsco
and printed it out, then went to our few print magazines and found the
exact article. The ONLY difference was the print version had pictures.
When I showed him, he was not impressed -- but it also would have meant
he would have had to tell his students he was wrong and that was/is
something that doesn't come easily to him. However, I did "sic" a
colleague on him to reinforce my message -- and he's bringing kids in
this week to do research, with databases counting as print sources!!
When our English teachers - regular and AP classes- come in for research
they and I consider databases to be a separate resource from Web sites.
Web sites are individual sources housed only on the Internet.  Databases
can of ten be found in print resources. If the database is one such as
the Gale resources, then they can find the same information in both
forms, so it is a reference source just like the print version.
Good question. I always think that they should count as print, but some
of my colleagues say no, because they found it ON the INTERNET.
>From everything that I have read, it is NOT an Internet source.
I consider electronic databases to be print sources since they are more
static than Internet web sites.
I always go with the theory that the resource should be seen as it was
originally published- so in the case of a database, it would be print
(with the exception of the web sites recommended in something like
Student Resource Center).  Many universities are doing away with print
copies of journals/periodicals entirely.
We're still trying to get our teachers to accept EBSCO and the Student
Resource Center as print sources. The English Department is about half
and half now. One trick that worked with some teachers was to show them
an article print out from EBSCO and the same article from the print
magazine. We asked the teacher what the difference between the two
sources was. All the teacher could say was, Oh! She finally agreed to
accept those articles as print sources.
I am waiting for a Spanish III class as I type. Databases will be one of
my topics. The teacher is insisting on 3 sources - and I will be
teaching that databases are not a web site -- but an independent  -
housed on the web so to speak - but not a website.
For what it's worth, we in Missouri count them as a magazine index
(worth lots of magazines) with however many number of access points in
the library and in the building.

Tish Carpinelli, Media Specialist
Lower Cape May Regional H.S.
Cape May, NJ

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