Guide to Databases

Where can I access them? | How do I choose one? |How do I search? | Connection requirements | Library Card Number | Firewalls & Routers |Proxy servers & accelerators | Cookies | Macintosh Computers | School & Office Networks

WHAT ARE DATABASES?

A Database, according to the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary, is a collection of data arranged for ease and speed of search and retrieval. In libraries, databases are often called electronic resources.

The following describes the different types of databases that you may encounter:

  • Indexes and abstracts, used to index articles in journals, magazines and newspapers), books, conferences proceedings, etc. Some include an abstract which will include a summary of the cited article.
    Examples
    : General Science Abstracts, INSPEC, GeoRef.

  • Full-text databases which give access to the entire text of articles and documents, for example electronic dictionaries and encyclopedias, but also journals, conferences, market research reports, directories, laws, etc.

  • Combinations of the above, for example an index including both citations to articles and their complete text. Example: EBSCO's Academic Search Premier.

WHERE CAN I ACCESS THEM?

All of The St. Johns County Public Library's electronic resources can be accessed at any branch locations. Most of our databases are also available for use at home or other remote location, with an active St. Johns County library card.

HOW DO I CHOOSE ONE?

To help you choose a database for your search you have the following options:

  1. Talk to a librarian, who can help determine which is the best database for your information needs and can give you an introduction on how to begin searching.

  2. A list of St. Johns County Public Library's databases is available on this site. The list is searchable. Go to:
    http://www.sjcpls.org/content/databases-subject

HOW DO I SEARCH?

For assistance or instruction in using a database you have the following options:

  1. Speak with a librarian, who will give you a quick introduction to an electronic resource and help you begin searching.

  2. Chat with a librarian through Ask a Librarian

  3. Check the HELP pages in a database to learn its basic operation and special features.

Connection REQUIREMENTS
Using online reference databases and BookLetters from home or anywhere outside a St. Johns County Public Library branch requires:
a valid St. Johns County Public Library System library card number, and
a browser that supports Javascript and accepts session cookies.

Library Card Numbers
When you connect to an online reference database from outside a St.Johns County Public Library branch, you will be prompted to enter your library card number. Enter all 14 digits -- and be sure not to enter spaces ("23414000912345" not "23414 000 912345"). The system checks to make sure that you have entered a valid number. If you typed a valid card number, the system will create a "session" cookie on your computer that gives you access to the reference databases.

After I enter my library card number I get the message "Sorry. Your library barcode number is not recognized."

You may have made a mistake typing in your library card barcode number. Try retyping it.

If it has been a while since you used your library card, it may not be valid any more. Please contact the Reference Desk at your branch library for assistance

Although my library card number is accepted, I still get prompted for a login name and password by the reference resource site.

Try connecting to one or more other reference databases. If you can get to other databases, the problem may be a temporary issue at the first site you tried to access.

Do you have a FIREWALL or ROUTER installed?

There are reported problems with Norton Internet Security including Norton Personal Firewall & ZoneAlarm Pro. If you use these programs, you will need to disable them or set restrictions to low during the duration of your access to the Reference Databases. We are not aware of appropriate configurations to keep your security programs running while they access our resources.

Many firewalls also automatically block cookies. If your browser accepts cookies and you are still getting prompted for a user name and password, you may need to change the firewall configuration to accept cookies both from the St. Johns County Public Library System and from the database vendor.

Do you use a PROXY SERVER? Do you have software installed that "makes your Internet connection faster" (ACCELERATOR) ?

These tools (both free and pay versions) often cache your library card number or embedded usernames and password URLs. These actions result in access failures when you try to connect to other databases. It is often best to disable or uninstall this software before accessing our databases (or the online catalog) to avoid such problems. The library has taken the appropriate steps to limit the problems software like this can cause, but ultimately some access issues will be beyond our control as the software affecting access resides on your PC.

Is your browser set up to accept session COOKIES?

In order to get remote access to St. Johns County Public Library System's reference databases, your browser must accept cookies.

If you are using IE 5.5 or later, you may need to adjust your browser Privacy settings to accept cookies from St. Johns County Public Library System and the database vendors.

Privacy settings are under Tools, Internet Options, Privacy.

Are you using a school or office NETWORK?

There may be a single firewall protecting the whole organization. Your technical support staff will need to configure the firewall to allow third party cookies from the St. Johns County Public Library System and the reference database vendors in order to get access to many of the Reference Databases. Port 81 must be open to access these database and you may need to have your organization specifically open this port to gain access.

Are you using a MACINTOSH?

Safari usually works better than IE on Macs.
Trying clearing your browser cache.

 

If you have comments, questions or information to add to our FAQ about your experience with remote access to our reference databases, browsers, and error messages please email us at sjcwebmast@neflin.org.

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