Statewide Electronic Resources Blog

Term Clusters – New Gale Searching tool

Term clusters, or visual search results, allow users to discover the context of their search term and uncover hidden connections.  The Term Clusters tool generates a visual representation of your results by topic and subtopic based on an analysis of frequently occurring and related terms. This allows users to hone in on targeted topics, envision connections between topics, and create new paths of inquiry.

Term Clusters analyzes key aspects of results like the first 250 words of a full-text article, article titles, and subject headings. Citation only results are also evaluated.

Why Use Term Clusters?

Viewing a term cluster allows users to visualize research connections they may not have considered.  For example, after running a term cluster, a user may uncover multiple topics on the inner and outer rings that can be compared to one another.

To begin a search: When users have a broad idea of a topic they want to investigate or are having trouble coming up with a research topic, they can click the term clusters search from the gold toolbar. After entering a general term,users will be presented with a term cluster that provides a wealth of potential topics.

After getting results back from a search: When a search provides a large number of results, users can click the link from the left hand sidebar into term clusters. Then users can use the inner and outer rings to hone in on more specific sets of results.

See also: Term Clusters Tip Sheet

Watch an archived Massachusetts Webinar on Term Clusters.


This post was written by mheroux on June 3, 2014

Enhancements to Using Bookmarked and Citations links in Gale Cengage

This updates the Instructions for Opening Citation and Bookmark Links in Statewide Electronic Resources blog entry section on Gale Cengage resources.  It’s now easier than ever to use Gale content from bookmarked or citations links from the Gale Cengage statewide licensed products.  Users can simply click on a bookmarked linked and see the article without authenticating! Also, when using Gale’s streamlined citation service (which includes EasyBib citation export capability), the URL below the citation can also be used to access the article it references without authenticating.


What is a Gale Bookmark?

A “Bookmark” is the “Web address” (or URL, which stands for “universal resource locator”) of the specific page of the Gale collection you are viewing. What is special about this Web address is that you can come back directly to this same page — with its dynamic database content — even when your current search session is over. This allows you to easily refer back to and share with others the information you found in a Gale collection.

How to Copy and Paste a Bookmark

Navigate to the page you wish to Bookmark then click the Bookmark tool. In the Bookmark window that appears, you’ll see the actual Bookmark URL, beginning with http://. Simply copy the URL and paste it where needed into an electronic application (word processing editor, e-mail message, HTML editor, etc.).  When the user comes across the Bookmark URL in an electronic application, they can simply click on that URL and see the article, no authentication needed!


Another great way to share information is using the “Share” feature on Gale.  Simply click on the Share service that you are registered with (hundreds of choices, e.g. Delicious, Facebook, Google, MySpace, Twitter, etc.).  and your service opens up with the link already embedded.

Citation Tools

Simply click on “Citation Tools” and the citation(s) will be highlighted (selected), ready for you to copy and paste it into another application. The Document URL created through this tool, will take the user to the article, no authentication needed!

When Authentication Is Required

Please note that users will be required to authenticate  if they try to initiate new searches from the article or clicking around from the link (meaning doing anything other than just retrieving the article using the link).  For libraries using geolocation, the easiest thing to do is to direct the students to log into any of the Gale databases from your library’s database web page where you have established the geolocation URL’s for your library (i.e or where “xxxx” is your unique Gale location ID).


This post was written by mheroux on March 21, 2014

Britannica Public Library Edition Redesigned

In mid-February 2014, the Britannica Online Library Edition (also known as the Public Library Edition) was renamed Britannica Library and redesigned as Britannica Library with 3 levels: “Children’s” (formerly Kids; 3rd-4th grades), “Young Adult” (new; 6th-8th grades) and “Reference Center” (9th grade and up), each searchable from the  Britannica Library home page. The results are divided into tabs for the 3 levels.  The Britannica Library platform tuses “responsive design,”  which maximizes the display to take advantage of whatever device the patron is using, whether it be a pc, smartphone, tablet, etc., as also introduced to the Britannica School Edition fall 2013.

Linking to all of the Britannica resources is now easier than ever.  Britannica has added a link, “Your Britannica Resources∇”,  to the Britannica Library homepage that provides direct access to all of the statewide licensed Britannica products. It is located on the right-hand side of the black bar just below the attribution statements:

your britannica resources hyperlink large

Clicking on on the yellow arrow brings up a list of the other Britannica products that are licensed statewide, in addition to Britannica Library.

your britannica resources graphic

Although Escolar Online (ages 6-12) and Enciclopedia Moderna (high school +) are listed separately, clicking on Spanish Reference Center will take users to both levels.

Access to these resources from the Britannica Library home page makes it much easier for your patrons to find and use all of the Britannica products.  When the user clicks on the name of any of these products, that product will open in a new window, making it easy to move from one product to the other. Users can even click on each product and create a row of tabs with all of the products.

Britannica Links Summary:

If a library already links to their MBLC created  library’s unique “Galesites” page, the Britannica links and database names have already been updated.

Libraries that create their own web pages and database links will want to change the names of the former Britannica Online Library Edition and Britannica Kids, but  do not need to make any changes to the underlying URL’s, as they have not changed.  The former URL’s point to the new products.  However, since the Young Adult module is new, while it is accessible from Britannica Library, we have added it to our MBLC Link Generator  should a library wish to set up a direct link to it.

A library may also choose to link to all of the Britannica products with one link. The URL would look like this: locID (see our link generator).



This post was written by mheroux on February 21, 2014

Training Resources from Statewide Database Vendors

The statewide database vendors, Cengage (Gale), Britannica and ProQuest  all have excellent training resources geared to library staff.  We do have links to all of the statewide vendors and their tutorials on our sign up and training web page.

Cengage  has numerous training resources for  for library staff, as well as resources geared to end users of all ages , including live and archived webinars, tip sheets, short 2-6 minute videos,  as well as scavenger hunt games and lesson plans.

For instance for Kids InfoBits they have short tutorials for (parenthetical information, minutes:seconds).

for Librarians, Teachers & Parents (4:05)

for Young Researchers (3:37)

Using Gale Resources to Create Games (3:36)

and for the Junior and Student edition of InfoTrac:

Infotrac Junior Edition (8:44)

Infotrac Student Edition (3:20)

Britannica offers a variety of resources:

Lesson plans

Public Library/Kids Edition includes webinars and guided tours

Britannica Schools covers all levels of school products and Pre-K to grade 2 Learning Zone; links to webinars, up-to 5-minute training videos,and printable training materials (including curriculum standards).

Spanish Reference Center Learning Materials

Annals of American History Guided Tour

World Data Analyst Guided Tour

ProQuest offers training materials for searching their newspaper databases, including platform guides for users, which are applicable to searching the Boston Globe database licensed statewide, as well as videos.


This post was written by mheroux on January 22, 2014

Britannica Lesson Plans

The new Britannica School Edition provides access to additional educator resources including the new Lesson Plan Builder.  To use these additional educator resources, librarians and teachers first need to register for a “My Britannica”  account.  A single school code has been set up for librarians and teachers whose  libraries are  Massachusetts Library System members. The School Code is JWAM (note: those who have been using 8C98 and find that it works for them may still use that code), for library staff and teachers only, not to be shared with students.  When educators use this code to register for their ‘My Britannica’ account  they will have access to the Lesson Plan Builder and the ability to view other educators’ lesson plans.

Once the librarian or teacher is logged into any of the editions of  Britannica School (elementary, middle or high school) they will see a “My Britannica” link to right side of the screen in the turquoise bar beneath the black Britannica School bar.

Clicking on that link will take the educator to a login screen and should click on sign up now. Fill out the required fields and enter the school code, JWAM.  A message with your sign up information will be sent to your email account if provided. My britannica link finderMy Britannica login

My Britannica new account

Information about these features can also be found in these video tutorials below:

My Britannica for Educators
My Content: Educator Favorites
Lesson Plan Builder


This post was written by mheroux on August 30, 2013

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