Emory Report

January 20, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 17

Electronic Library Resources:

Web-based gateways offer easy electronic research options

Want access to lots of electronic indexes quickly and easily from your desktop, but tired of having to learn new search techniques every time you change databases? Two new information gateways called GALILEO and Ovid have developed innovative electronic search engines that could solve your problem.

What are GALILEO and Ovid?

GALILEO and Ovid provide easy access to nearly 200 databases developed by commercial firms and professional associations, including major academic citation indexes and full-text journal articles appearing in more than 150 scholarly and popular magazines and newspapers. You can use both systems in your office or on your own PC using EmoryConnect, as well as in any library or computing lab.

You're probably already familiar with the Emory's EUCLID information gateway, connecting you to several major electronic collections subscribed to by the Emory libraries. GALILEO and Ovid take you several steps further, providing direct links to an impressive number of major academic databases and an easier and more streamlined approach to online searching.

Like different makes of cars, almost every research database being built today has the same basic capabilities, but design and responsiveness differ widely from model to model. GALILEO and Ovid have developed special search engines that electronically translate many of the unique search requirements the databases offer into a more uniform and easy to use search language. Instead of having to learn a different searching technique for each and every database, GALILEO and Ovid provide more standardized, user-friendly interfaces for many of the databases they feature.

Emory is one of nine private colleges and universities participating in a statewide trial of GALILEO. The system includes such popular indexes as Periodical Abstracts and Books in Print, and specialized resources such as Current Contents and U.S. census data. It also provides a gateway to full-text digital versions of dozens of scholarly and popular magazines and daily national newspapers such as The New York Times.

Started in 1985, Ovid's initial focus was on easy access to electronic resources in biomedicine and scientific research, including such major works as Medline (the National Library of Medicine's research database) and a growing collection of full-text journals such as JAMA and The Lancet. Recently Ovid has begun adding numerous databases for the humanities and social sciences, including the ERIC education database, the MLA Bibliography for literature, and electronic versions of Psychological Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts.

Both GALILEO and Ovid's gateways are "platform-independent," meaning any computer on the Emory campus network equipped with web browsing software can connect to them. The need for campuswide access to such digital tools-and the desire to reduce the number of different search protocols one has to learn-were the most frequently cited issues raised during a recent series of focus group interviews with hundreds of faculty, students and staff randomly selected from Emory College, the professional schools and Oxford.

Recent technological innovations utilized by GALILEO and Ovid's search engines are helping Emory libraries take a giant leap toward meeting our users' needs by enhancing access to many of the most important digital resources available today.

This column was compiled by the Digital Information Resources Council team at the General Libraries.

Return to January 20, 1998 Contents Page