I've used online databases extensively while researching for university assignments. For some I found information within, for others using the database was the assignment.
While working here I've had the wonderful opportunity to participate in and lead webinar training offered by the State Library of Queensland where we have explored NoveList, Library PressDisplay and Oxford Reference Online from the comfort of our own Learning Space with Smartboard.
Hooking into alerts from various databases is invaluable for professional development - select some from SLQ (or other state/national libraries), your local public library, and ALIA if you're a member.
I really like recommending database use to school students, and their parents, because it opens up a whole new world of information access. And some databases generate citations for each article, making a student's work easier.
I used the visual search feature on History Reference Centre and found this article in full text, with citation examples (this one APA style). Chosen because the MTQ is an amazing place for exploration, and they offer free entry to locals.
Menghetti, D. (2002). Museum of Tropical Queensland. Australian Historical Studies, 33(119), 194. Retrieved from History Reference Center database.
If you're a school student you should check out Your Tutor, but through your public library site.
I've just logged in to ProQuest through SLQ using my e-services card and searched on 'townsville'. Quite a few articles came up, including these:
Ocean Research; Research on ocean research published by scientists at James Cook UniversityAnonymous. Ecology, Environment & Conservation. Atlanta: Nov 27, 2009. p. 198
Biodiversity; Scientists at James Cook University target biodiversityAnonymous. Ecology, Environment & Conservation Business. Atlanta: Nov 21, 2009. p. 392
I used the 'create a web page' feature and emailed the selections to myself and James (what will he be thinking tomorrow morning?)
http://tinyurl.com/66awf2 - Visit Townsville CityLibraries online databases page to find some information for your needs.
Or SLQ: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/find/articles
Or NLA: http://www.nla.gov.au/app/eresources/
A secondary school loving databases: http://www.jerichoschools.org/hs/Library/esources.html
and our favourite alma mater, CSU: http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/find-info/databases/
Join ALIA and receive access to the ProQuest journal package: http://www.alia.org.au/LISjournals/.
Don't let online databases hide - show them to your community!
Why all this gathering of information and correct citing? To learn from others, to form your own understanding, and to create new information and knowledge. And producing a perfect reference list will get you good marks in university (and should be highlighted through intensive information literacy education in schools) - today's Courier Mail had an article about plagiarism in Queensland universities (see citation below).
The article stated that 'plagiarism was rife and most cases were a result of students not understanding attribution and referencing conventions'. (Wenham, 2009, p.3).
Wenham, M. Cheats on the rise at our unis: checks detect 2000. The Courier Mail. 23 November, 2009. p. 3.
A classic post on a discussion list earlier in the year reported a conversation between a parent and a TL where a senior student had obviously used a large chunk of someone's else's work without attribution. I've seen it happen in school myself where the teacher merely googled the student's phrases and found the ripped articles right at the top of the results list. Anyway, the indignant parent said to the TL that (paraphrasing) 'everyone knows that you're allowed to plagiarise up to 25% at university'. ??
There are so many things wrong with that statement that it really is not so amusing. As the article reports, plagiarism cases can be dealt with by marking down, 'receiving a zero mark, being stripped of all credit, or being suspended' (Wenham, 2009, p.3). You only have to visit any university's website to see warnings about plagiarism, and visit the library websites to see helpful articles on how to write essays, critical reviews, etc and compile reference lists according to whichever style, and many will also allow access to EndNote or ProCite to make the student's job easier.
So gather information, process it, acknowledge sources, create your own understandings and get your information out there. And then find yourself out there on Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text..
Lee, Robin. "Why you need an MBA." inCite 28, no. 1/2 (January 2007): 14. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed November 23, 2009).
Uthmann, Sharon. "Libraries are for everyone." inCite 29, no. 11 (November 2008): 13. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed November 23, 2009).