Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EBSCO Search and Jersey Clicks

This post continues the theme of my last five posts about teaching web search and evaluation skills from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Another important skill set involves understanding the deep web.

The Deep Web
We begin by discussing what the students know about icebergs. Their common explanation is that there is more iceberg underwater that what appears above the surface of the ocean. My explanation to the students in sixth through eighth grade is that there are resources available only if you have a public library card. The Internet is like an iceberg. What Google, Bing, or any other search engine shows is much smaller than what is available. In the state of New Jersey we have access to Jersey Clicks. It is a website that verifies your membership in a public library and gives you access to EBSCO search.

I walk the students through Primary Search, Middle Search Plus, and Academic Search Premier. I explain that we will see results from magazines in our Jersey Clicks work. Magazines usually require a paid subscription. As a service through the public library we can view the articles online. The students in middle school have to read scientific articles for a report each trimester. With this example in mind, we search for electric automobiles.

EBSCO Search
It is very important to help the students locate the full text check box on the search screen. If they do not check the box, they will receive results that include items that cannot be read online. Once we view the results page, we look at the difference between HTML Full Text and PDF Full Text results. The major difference is that the PDF files are generally like scanned images of the magazine pages.

In Primary Search they will see magazines like Boys' Life, Science World, and Science News for Kids. The content is appropriate for middle school students and elementary school children. In 2013 we found 56 entries for electric automobiles. Middle Search Plus located 906 entries. Its results come from magazines such as Time, Popular Science, and Discover. The reading level is much higher than the results from Primary Search. Finally, Academic Search Premier contained 3,849 results. It includes academic papers in addition to more complex magazines such as New Scientist, Futurist, and Kiplinger.

Follow Up Activity
This year, Margaret Thatcher had died the week before we completed this lesson. I had the students find three resources in Google and three from Jersey Clicks. I provided the students with the following prompts in a word processor document. They turned in their completed research as an Edmodo assignment.
  • How many entries are there for Margaret Thatcher in the Primary Search?
  • How many entries are there for Margaret Thatcher in the MiddleSearch Plus?
  • How many entries are there for Margaret Thatcher in the Academic Search Premier?
  • How many entries does Google give you for Margaret Thatcher?
  • How many entries does Google give you for “Margaret Thatcher”?
  • What is the difference in the types of articles you get between Primary Search and Middle Search Plus?
  • What is the difference in the types of articles you get between Middle Search Plus and Academic Search Premier?
  • What is the difference between Jersey Clicks and Google?
  • When might you use Jersey Clicks instead of Google?
  • Tell me three things you found out about Margaret Thatcher in Jersey Clicks.
  • Tell me three things you find in Google.
We held a class discussion following the research. They understood that they could receive more factual, targeted answers through Jersey Clicks. They were able to quickly see what Margaret Thatcher looked like in Google. The found 6 Primary Search, 292 Middle Search Plus, and 1,260 Academic Search Premier results and over 38 million Google hits.

The end result is that the students recognized that they authority of the articles was much greater for Jersey Clicks/EBSCO and that they could go there for trusted research.

Image Citation
Mjöbäcksvillan Barnaby Iceberg, Family Barnaby 
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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