Friday, August 24, 2012

Creatures of Habit

Last night after work I plopped myself down exhausted from a long day at work, and there were my two dogs sitting in front of me staring, waiting anxiously for me to take them on their daily run. I told them I was tired and there would be no run today. The 90 pound shepherd put her big paw on my arm and looked at me with those big brown eyes as if to say,"but we do this EVERY day, same time, same place!" My little terrier just kept jumping up and down trying to get me up out of my chair. I was determined to stand my ground. I was tired and didn't want to go for a walk. I was prepared to just give them their dinner and go take a bath. I opened the back door to get their food, and zoom, out the door they flew. They were going for their run regardless of how I felt about it. But I fooled them. I went straight for their food dishes, and they just looked at me with confusion. Then I added a little gravy to the dry chunks of food. They slowly returned to the house with their heads hanging. But once they tasted the gravy laden chunks, they were happy dogs, wolfing down their dinner. The daily run was forgotten. They are creatures of habit, they have a routine, and they don't like change, even if that change might provide a tastier outcome.

We are all creatures of habit. I remember a few years back when students came to the library to do internet research, they went immediately to Wikipedia. Now it's Google. Sure, its easy to search these sites, but how reliable are they? Who put these sources out there? How credible are they really? I must admit I am guilty as well of rushing to these sites when I'm in a hurry or need a quick answer. However, when it comes to research or term papers, it's my job as a reference librarian, to provide students and patrons with good reliable sources.

There are so many reference databases available that it can be overwhelming. I love Ebsco. I eagerly send college students to Academic Search Premier for journal articles. I send high school students to Masterfile for general interest articles, and I run to Novelist for readers advisory to help someone find the perfect book to read. All of these are available through MAGNOLIA, an extensive online research tool provided to public libraries by our State Legislature. When school started this month, I went back into MAGNOLIA to refresh my memory and see what's new in this HUGE database. I caught myself heading right back to the old tried and true Ebsco. However, I looked just below and saw Credo. I knew it was a reference database but never really spent much time in there. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. After seeing what it had to offer. All I can say is WOW, I never knew!

Now, this may not be something a reference librarian should be admitting, but I am a creature of habit and don't like stepping out of my comfort zone. But I did, and I found a great source that I plan to use and recommend to my students as another resource tool to help them succeed in school. So let me tell you a bit about what I found.

CredoReference provides an online reference collection that includes hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, biographies, quotations,and even a crossword solver. All information is provided by reputable associations and research libraries, and it's easy to use. There are over 3 million full text entries in 601 reference books. You can search for images as well. The best part of all; Credo also provides proper online database citation for all the major formats. These are just a few of the tidbits of exciting information I was able to glean in the short time I spent in CredoReference.

Well, I certainly learned my lesson, and I intend to step out of my comfort zone and be less of a creature of habit and enjoy the tasty rewards it provides. If you would like to know more about Credo, Ebsco, or the other useful research tools found in MAGNOLIA stop by the library and ask for the new and improved reference librarian.

By the way, my dogs still got to run, after my bath!

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