Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is a database? What is a scholarly publication?

This week I will have the opportunity to teach all sections of the RCM 300 class.  They have asked me to discuss what a database is as well as define scholarly publications.  So here is what I am thinking....

Databases and Scholarly Publications Activity:
Materials required:
  • Scholarly journals, trade publications and popular magazines (one per student, alternating source type throughout the class)
  • Coloured cards taped on the front of each source type for easier identification in the later activity.
To demonstrate what a database is:
  1. Ask for the student(s) with a specific title to hold up their journal.  This is an example of a single title that could be found through the library catalogue
  2. Ask all students to hold up their titles.  This is an example of what a database is.  This is an opportunity to discuss how databases are organized by indexed fields to simplify discovery of resources.  This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss the differences between Google and a database.  This activity is the perfect segue into the next activity.
To define source types:
  1. Ask students to partner with the two individuals sitting directly beside them.  Each person should have a different type of publication.
  2. Take 5 minutes to identify the differences between the source types.
  3. Share feedback with the larger group.
  4. Summarize the two activities by discussing different types of databases (general reference, bibliographic, specialized content)
Note: this second activity is based on an activity that I participated in at the Fall Orientation for New Faculty.  In the original activity participants were asked to compare two different syllabi's in groups. 

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