A library is a place that contains a collection of books, films, recorded music and periodicals where people can refer, read or borrow materials in search of knowledge. Today, with the advancement in the ICT sector in different parts of the world, the use of online libraries has been widely adopted for use in academic and personal research. Some of the online libraries that people can use for information include online dictionaries and research databases. This essay is a comprehensive evaluation of four types of dictionaries and two research databases.
Types of Online Dictionaries
This study will feature three types of online dictionaries and one print dictionary. They include the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary and Google search engine as an online dictionary. The print dictionary I used the Websters New Explorer Large Print Dictionary. To check the similarities and differences in the definition of a similar word in all the four dictionaries, I used the word define as an example. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the word define was described as a way to explain the denotation of a word or phrase (Define, 2016).
The Oxford English Dictionary offered the definition of the word define as the act of describing the exact meaning, scope or nature of something (Define, 2016). Google offered the definition of the terminology as the aspect of marking boundaries or limits. Ultimately, the Websters New Explorer Large Print Dictionary described the meaning of the word define as offering an explanation of the meaning of something (Merriam-Webster, 2012).
Comparison, Contrast and Critique of the Dictionaries
Despite offering the same meaning of the word define, there are significant differences that can be observed in all the dictionaries. First, the length of explanation of the term was very short in Google and Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. This is in contrast to the definition offered in the other two dictionaries as it appeared slightly longer and clearer. In addition, the latter two dictionaries offered examples of the word in a sentence for a clearer understanding by the audience.
In addition, the Oxford English Dictionary offered an online voice narrator application, to speak the pronunciation of the word to the audience. I did not like Google because the explanation of the word was remarkably brief and the meaning of the word could offer a slightly different meaning to a person unfamiliar with the term from other sources. Nevertheless, the explanation offered by the Websters New Explorer Large Print Dictionary is comprehensive, and it offers a person different contexts in which the word could be used.
Ease of Use, Evaluation Criteria, when to Use, and Strength and Weaknesses of the Dictionaries
The three online dictionaries are remarkably easy to use. This is because only two steps are involved. The first step is to open the online page. The second stage is to search the desired term for a meaning. Nevertheless, the Websters New Explorer Large Print Dictionary proves a little challenging to locate the meaning of the term. Unlike the online dictionaries, it is slightly time consuming as a person must manually search for his/her desired word from all the words arranged alphabetically.
The print dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary should be used for academic purposes. This is because the explanation of the words is comprehensive unlike the other two dictionaries, which should be used for a light search of the meaning of words. The strengths of the print dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary is their ability to offer a comprehensive definition of words. For this reason, I trust them for all my academic use. The weakness of the latter two dictionaries is their shallow explanation of terminologies featured in them.
Online databases can also be used for research. In most cases, such databases are used for academic purposes, especially in research. As such, they feature multiple selections of subjects through which users can look for information on various fields. Two of the online databases that are widely used in the United States include Academic OneFile and Academic Search Complete. Academic OneFile is a database of periodicals, full-text publications and abstracts among others (Academic OneFile (Gale), 2016). Academic Search Complete is also an online database that features reports, periodicals, books and journals among other publications (EBSCO Host, 2016).
Both databases appear to be almost similar in respect to the contents featured on the home screen. Such include categories of selection, which feature books, periodicals, peer-reviewed articles, journals and reports. The only difference between the two periodicals is the formatting in respect to the position where different user icons are used. In addition, both databases have search limiters that aid in refining the selections during a search. This saves time in searching and locating the required publications.
Summary of the Experience
I enjoyed trying to locate various publications using both databases. By using the search limiters, locating the desired publications was easy. In addition, the databases were multidisciplinary, and this meant that I could search and locate a publication from any field of learning from the databases. Ultimately, their platforms were easy friendly, and the search icons were arranged in a strategic position where they could easily be located.
In summary, dictionaries and online databases are excellent sources of information for academic or personal purposes. Dictionaries offer the definition of various terms whereas online database offer users access to multidisciplinary publications for their desired use. Nevertheless, although dictionaries have a close resemblance in their definition of words, they at times slightly differ in terms of the complexity of explanation offered for every word.
Academic OneFile (Gale). (2016). Retrieved October 03, 2016, from New York Public Library: https://www.nypl.org/collections/articles-databases/academic-one-file
Define. (2016). Retrieved October 2, 2016, from Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/define
Define. (2016). Retrieved October 2, 2016, from Oxford English Dictionary: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/define
EBSCO Host. (2016). Academic Search Complete. Retrieved October 3, 2016, from EBSCO Host Research Databases: https://www.ebscohost.com/academic/academic-search-complete
Merriam-Webster. (2012). Webster's New Explorer Large Print Dictionary. (I. Merriam-Webster, Ed.) Springfield: Federal Street Press.
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