InfoTrac: Environmental Studies and Policy: A “Solid” and “Viable” Collection

Searching for a “solid” resource of “considerable substance” to answer inquiries about environmental concerns? Your search ends here with the InfoTrac: Environmental Studies and Policy Collection, featuring over 5.4 million articles and “more searching flexibility than that of most platforms.” Engage and support students with an easily searchable, mobile-responsive design and integrated Google Apps for Education tools.

Read a review from Library Journal, April, 2016

With Environmental Studies and Policy Collection (ESP), Gale provides environmentalists, policymakers, academic and corporate researchers, educators, and students a resource of considerable substance. The database includes indexing for 976 titles, as of early 2016, providing full-text access to 407 volumes. . . .  Another way to supplement the reference component of ESP might be to acquire the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) environmental eBook collection, either as a whole or on a title-by-title basis. Besides the journals, magazines, newsletters, and textbooks, ESP provides subscribers access to a smattering of newswires and reports.

The homepage supplies a brief description of the database content and a list of the types of researchers who will benefit from its use. Clicking the More button at the top of the screen gives access to help, a dictionary, a list of titles, search history, personal highlights and notes for registered users, and a folder for saved results. Users familiar with the InfoTrac platform will feel right at home here. There is a list of five popular articles with links to the full text along with a Topic Finder, which invites researchers “to discover the context of your search term and uncover the hidden connections.” There, users will encounter a single search box and a preview of the expected results, which are presented graphically as concentric wheels or arranged as tiles. Entering the search term “climate denial” set the wheel into action, retrieving and analyzing data. Selecting “skeptics” on the outer rim of the Science segment of the wheel generated six results. Alternatively, clicking on “climate denial” in the U.S. section of the wheel yielded seven hits. . . . Additional facets permit for imposing a number of limits: full text, articles containing images, publication dates (past week, month, or year and custom), subjects, document type, publication title, and Lexile score. Users can also search within the results. The basic query offers a pull-down menu for searching subject, publication, or the entire document, which provides more searching flexibility than that of most platforms. In the advanced mode, a search for (“water conservation” OR drought) AND (tree mortality) AND (California), resulted in seven magazine articles, five news items, and 254 items from academic journals, all of which may be further refined using limiters. InfoTrac puts Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT), proximity operators (Near and Within), phrase searching using quotation marks, and wildcards and truncation at the disposal of its users. Results may be saved, emailed, and exported in MLA or APA format to a number of bibliographic software management applications.

This collection provides students and faculty a solid resource for researching the full range of environmental science subjects and policy issues. Popular as well as scholarly sources make it a viable option for broader audiences, as well, and the InfoTrac platform should be familiar to users even if they are new to the resource.

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