Monday, November 8, 2010

Science Online (Database)

Science Online (Database) Publisher: Facts on File. URL: Accessed through: Santa Clara County Library.

About the database: This subscription database is published by Facts on File, and provides science information for the elementary, middle, high school and undergraduate college levels. The homepage for Science Online gives the option for a basic search, but also has subject headings for exploration such as “Biology,” “Earth Science,” “Forensic Science,” “Mathematics,” “Physics,” and “Weather and Climate.” The page also has a special “Science Feature” displaying a highlighted story for users to learn more about. On the right hand side of the homepage, the ability to browse science resources is provided with links to diagrams, experiments, biographies, timelines, videos and animations. The database also has a science dictionary and conversion calculator. Selecting one of the links for a specific science topic like “Physics” or “Marine Science” brings the user to another page where the subject is further broken down into overviews. For example, the page on “Environmental Science” contains links for overviews on biodiversity, climate change, ecology, nonrenewable resources, pollution and more. It also contains the menu for diagrams, experiments, etc. but, when selected, these resources pertain to the specific topic only. For example, when selecting “Experiments” in the “Environmental Science” tab, instructions are provided for specific projects such as “Comparing Trees,” “Ecological Sampling,” and “Factors that Inhibit Soil Percolation.” Lastly, the database contains links to recent scientific news stories that might be of interest to users.

Critical evaluation: The Science Online database is an excellent resource for teens. Its simple, clear layout will be easy for teens to understand quickly, and it is likely that instruction will be necessary for students to get the full value of the resource. The information provided by the database is extensive. Not only does it include a great deal of “encyclopedia” type data, but it offers diagrams, experiments, biographies and timelines specific to certain subject areas. This makes it much easier for users to find the resources they need quickly and easily. The way the information is broken down also makes it easier for users to get what they need for reports or projects. For example, if someone just needed a diagram on climate change, they would be able to find it quickly without needing to sort through a lot of other information. The science in the news features also allow users to relate what they find to current events or things they may have heard about from our sources. Overall, the database is an outstanding, helpful and usable resource for teens. Please note that this is a subscription database, and is accessible to teens who have library cards with Santa Clara County Library.

Reader's annotation: Find the science information you need quickly and easily with this extensive database. Topics include biology, chemistry, earth science, environmental science, forensic science, marine science, mathematics, physics, space and astronomy, and weather and climate.

About the publisher: Facts on File began publishing reference titles in 1941 and has since become one of the leading publishers of both print and electronic reference materials. The company has published over 1,300 titles in topics ranging from history and language to science and technology to sociology. Their materials are offered in a variety of reading levels from elementary and middle school to high school and college. All of their titles are thoroughly researched before publication to ensure that they are accurate and unbiased. They specialize in curriculum-based subject areas for both school and public libraries.  (

Genre: Science

Curriculum ties:
Computer Science
Earth Science
Environmental Science
Forensic Science
Marine Science
Space and Astronomy
Weather and Climate
Current events in science
Science experiments

Booktalking ideas:
Demonstration on using the database
Demonstration on searching using keywords

Reading level/Interest Age:
Age 10+

Challenge issues:

Reasons for inclusion:
From leading publisher that has been in business since 1941.
Information is researched heavily beforehand to ensure accuracy.   

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