Monday, March 14, 2011

Database Dunes

Texshare databases are
funded by the
Infrastructure Act.
HCPL offers over 70 subscription databases to our customers.  Some of these databases are provided by HCPL, such as, while others are provided by TexShare. The databases to which HCPL subscribes can be divided into two groups:
  • The majority are searchable collections of data on a topic such as news articles, genealogy, or business (e.g. Masterfile Premiere, HeritageQuest Online, and Reference USA)
  • The rest are learning centers on a specific topic.  An example of this is Mango Languages, through which you can learn a new language.
Most databases can be searched by keyword and then can be further refined used limiters defined by the database provider.  For example, in Masterfile Premiere, a basic magazine and journal database, you can refine your search by publication and date published.  In the census search in HeritageQuest, you can limit by census year and state.  For more detailed instructions, see Database Presentations on Harriet.

How to search (video)

On to the Hunt...
Search the databases for the following items, fill out the form by recording the requested information.
  1. Reference USA is the most popular database to which we subscribe.  It is a business directory (as well as health and residential).  Information on businesses includes their contact information, type of business, and sales. There are two types of searches, Quick Search, which searches for a company by name, and Custom Search, through which you can find businesses by type, location, and other factors.
    1. How many Bank of America locations (of any kind) are there in Houston?
    2. How many Greek Restaurants are located in Harris County?  Need help? View the video.
  2. HeritageQuest and both cover genealogy.  They both include US Census data and then each has specialized data.  In general, has more detail than HeritageQuest. HeritageQuest can be accessed remotely, while is only available in a library branch.
  3. includes
    all persons in the census
    not just the Heads of
    1. Search the census in both databases for Jack Faber without limiting results.  In which database, did you get more results? 
    2. View the Military results for Jack Faber in What is the date of birth and place of registration for the Jack Faber who registered for World War I?
  4. Mango Languages is an online language learning system.  It offers languages such as Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Russian, and Greek.  In addition, it also offers English as a Second Language for Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Polish speakers.  Users can create an optional account to track progress.
    1. How do you say "Good Afternoon" in Brazilian Portuguese? (Hint: this is in lesson 1)
    2. In what countries is Dari spoken?
    3. English courses are available for speakers of a number of languages.  Which language is not represented? (Hint: hover over the languages for a translation)
      • French
      • Korean
      • Urdu
      • Turkish
  5. LearningExpress Library offers practice tests and some preparation materials in a wide variety of subjects including standardized testing in K-12 schools,  GED, SAT, cosmetology, and US Citizenship.  Customers (and you) will need to create a free login, separate from a library card number, which is required to access the tests as it will keep track of progress. Navigation to discover available tests areas is found on the left side of the screen on the main page, and across the top of the page throughout the database.
    1. In GED preparation, what are the four categories available?
    2. In the US Citizenship practice test, what is the first question, under Principles of American Democracy?
    3. What Occupation Practice Test areas are available for the military?
  6. ChiltonLibrary provides repair information for vehicles from 1940 to the present.  Information varies greatly by both vehicle and year.
    1. Not all vehicles have information available yet .  Of the following, which 2010 Ford Model is available?
      • F150
      • Mustang
      • Escape
      • Taurus
    2. On a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, Copy/paste the first step to removing (changing) the headlights? TIP: This is generally found in Repair/Chassis Electrical/Lighting/Exterior
  7. EBSCO is one of the major database providers.  One of the many EBSCO databases we have is MasterFILE Premiere, which is a general magazine/journal database.  Use it to find articles on a variety of topics back to the mid-1980s.  You can limit your results to full text, by publication, by date, as well as several image options.
    1. Find a full-text article from 2011 about HarperCollins and Copy/Paste its citation in the Chicago/Turabian Humanities format.  Hint: Cite is found under Tools on the right
    2. What is the month and year of the most recent article on cell phones from Consumer Reports?  
Congratulations! Searching for the answers to these exercises and submitting the form has earned you a Database key to the Treasure Chest!


  1. For Question #5 a. should the year be 2011 vehicle list instead of the 2010? Thanks.

  2. Well I might be crazy, but should the year for #5 be 2010? The dropdown list for year selection does not seem to have 2011 listed at all as an option...

  3. Also it seems that MasterFILE Premiere doesn't have any 2011 full-text articles about Harper Collins...

  4. If 2011 is entered NO Makes are available!

  5. This is driving me a little crazy... the Chilton question has been changed and the answer then changed in a matter of minutes after I submitted my form... so do I need to re-submit?

  6. nevermind, seems to be working fine now :)

  7. For the Chilton question...Chilton is being fussy. Depending on the view you have at the time, 2011 is available or not. We know both answers and are accepting either.

  8. Re: Masterfile Premiere...yes they do, try HarperCollins per the question :o)