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Wish Me Luck: Tackling One of the Least User Friendly Databases We Have

Tomorrow I have to teach a WilsonWeb database for the first time. I’ve recommended databases we get through Wilson to students but never had to concentrate on one before.

It’s just a simple class… 8 students, two databases, simple assignment. We’ll be meeting in the reference area and working on our big SmartBoard together, and then we’ll move to individual computers in the reference area. Even so, I’m feeling the need to dig into WilsonWeb tutorials (which, by the way, if you click “help” and then “tutorial” when you’re in a database, it asks you if you’re using a Bibliographic Database, Full Text Database, Biography Database, Image Database, Standard Catalog Collection Development Database, Multiple Databases, or a Facts Database… What the… Even I had to back out, go figure out what kind of database I was in, and then come back before being able to access the stupid tutorial! Shouldn’t “help” know what kind of database I’m in?!? Yeesh.)

So, to help me should I ever have to teach this stuff again, here are the more-or-less helpful things I’ve found so far.

Maybe one of these will explain why I can never navigate these databases without hurting my brain, why when you think you’re opening a single citation you’re actually just switching to the “full” display of the result list, and why the thesaurus is so clunky to navigate. And it’s a good thing we’re not working on a full text database. The HTML full text option from those is incredibly bad. All formatting in those full text articles appears as multiple question marks.

Don’t get me wrong. The interface is better than it was last year. But still… (Oh, and the page that announced the enhancements listed in the link above included the URL as text, not a link. Seriously.)

Sorry… I’m more than usually grumpy at the moment. It just seems like the vendor of our library-related databases should be more usable. As it is, it’s a sad irony.

Published inTools and Technology