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HIT:  electronic databases for high school

A huge thank you to everyone who replied to my request for information on 
electronic databases for high school use.  I am thrilled with all of the responses. 
 As you will see when you read this list, there are conflicting opinions about the 
various resources available.  Below is a list of all of the suggestions I received 
and some of the comments that came along with them:

State and local library supported databases – If you are not aware of how to 
access the databases provided by your state, contact a public library and start 
asking questions.  I just found out something that I did not know about 
Virginia’s databases (  Not only can Virginia librarians access 
free databases by using the barcode number on their library cards, they can contact 
Charlie Makela in the tech department of the DOE.  She can get you in touch with a 
Gale Group representative who can set up an account for free.  Thanks to Margaret 
Robison from Staunton for that tidbit.

One person indicates that she has World Book Online and Britannica student edition. 
 She recommends a trial of Britannica because she thinks it’s the better of the 
two.  Another person recommends a trial of Britannica Online 

Someone else says that Grolier Online is better than World Book Online, while 
another comments that online encyclopedias are more useful for elementary and 
middle school students than they are for high school.  Another person backs up this 
view by saying that high school students need a resource with more sophisticated 
scholarly research.  On the other hand, one person reports that she absolutely 
loves World Book Online.  She says that she has had it for five years and it keeps 
getting better.

Opposing Viewpoints from Gale Thomson is just under $1,000.  Students in my library 
find the books from this series very useful when doing research so I’m sure the 
database is packed with interesting information.

Another source reports that SIRS Knowledge Source ( has a 
more difficult level of encyclopedia articles, magazine articles, and websites.

Gale Student Resource Center Gold is recommended because it covers all areas of the 
curriculum, contains reference material, periodicals, and multimedia.  The same 
person who recommends this likes American National Biography from Oxford, which is 
a small database costing only $300.

CQ Researcher and are recommended.

Proquest’s eLibrary is highly recommended because it has magazine and newspaper 
articles, pictures, some radio show and TV show transcripts, and some basic 
encyclopedia articles.  Proquest is a great resource for major literary criticism 
because of the depth of periodical titles. This person also recommends the Gale 
product, Student Research Center.

The Mercedes of electronic databases, according to one person, is EBSCO Host.  Even 
though it is expensive, it will prepare students for college research.

As an add on, I just discovered a very useful website this week that offers free 
access to information.  It is  They sent me five large, colorful, 
informative citation posters.  I’ve laminated one and hung it in the library.  
The other ones have been given out to teachers.  Students have already found this 
site helpful for research.

Again, thank you to everyone who took time out from their busy schedules to reply 
with information about databases for high school.

Nanci Dreybus, Library Media Specialist
Smithfield High School
Smithfield, VA  23430  

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