Database Spotlight: Freegal

Many of our library patrons don't know about the range of online information services we offer.

I imagine that this is because the phrase 'online information service' sounds like a robot sitting behind a desk offering monotone advice about where to find the nearest Kmart.

And it's true- a whole bunch of links stacked on the library website doesn't exactly speak volumes about the treasure trove of excellent stuff available to our members. When you walk into your local library, the visuals speak for themselves; books piled into shelves, glinting signs with each section clearly labelled, catalogue searching points - the library itself is designed to orientate you and show you where to go. Typing some words into a search box on a database can almost feel like cheating. After all, isn't that what's Google's for?

The collections you see at Camden and Narellan libraries are designed to fulfil the needs of our community. The books, files, Dvds, Cds and other resources there represent the things that our community will need most- which is why you'll find over fifty books on dinosaurs for primary school students, and every HSC excel guide available, and ten books on diabetes, and entire rooms devoted to local studies resources you can't get anywhere else.

But that might not help you when you want to source an article on the impact of self-talk on performance in aerobic exercise trials, or you really want to get some Swedish folk music. This kind of need is harder to judge for librarians, and even more difficult to supply consistently.

This is why the library has databases.

Databases are large online collections of books, articles, pictures, music, and more. Basically they are huge bundles of goodies and stuff dedicated to a particular subject or format. Some are provided by the State Library (a lot of the research ones), others are purchased directly by the library (such as audiobooks and TumbleBooks for children). They are available in online format to download- all patrons need are their card number and sometimes a password. They cover a massive amount of ground and are very convenient- available from your own home!

Over the next few weeks we'll be spotlighting a number of our databases that you might not have known about before and to get into them. Today is *drumroll please*.......FREEGAL!

Freegal is a music download database that works in tandem with Sony Music Australia. Library patrons can download three songs a week from Sony music to their computers, iPods, mp3 players etc. These songs are yours forever: they don't go away after three weeks! All you need is your library password and barcode number to hop straight on and go for it.

To access Freegal- go to out library website and click the extremely modest button the the right hand side that says Freegal music.

Next time - Audiobooks!