New Quick Reference Resource – Try it!

The library has a trial subscription to the Credo Reference database which includes access to 275 online reference titles.  Get quick answers and facts from a variety of dictionaries and encyclopedias on:

art biography business
food geography history
language law literature
medicine music philosophy
psychology religion science
social sciences technology

Many articles also include images as well as audio & video files.  Try it out and let us know what you think!  From the Credo Reference login screen type the following:

  • username: user@reynolds.edu
  • password: trial

2 thoughts on “New Quick Reference Resource – Try it!”

  1. I gave the site a spin this afternoon and I am a bit puzzled. What does this site have to offer that other online resources do not? While it does provide a certain pedigree of content providers, the search engine was a bit dodgy and the results were a little on the brief side. For instance, I searched their Literature section for “Austin, Jane” (looking for the English novelist) and was only provided a single reference to the American novelist. I did luck into the actual Jane Austin entries after searching for “Emma”, so I suppose that I could simply not be using the search properly.

    As for the results, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the entries — though they come from well-known publishers, I found them to be brief and somewhat lacking in references for further research. Comparing a search for “RSS” in the “Technology” section of Credo or a search for Da Vinci in the art section with similar results from (dare I mention it in at an academic institution) Wikipedia resulted in a no-contest hands-down win for Wikipedia both in amount of content and in references for further research.

    All in all, the site is a decent online dictionary and rudimentary encyclopedia, but I was unable to get more than a very cursory overview from any of my searches. Certainly, any information gleaned from this site would be good in as much as it could be confidently referenced in papers, but I’d personally rather see more accurate search results and more thorough entries.

    That said, I acknowledge that Credo may very well be a fantastic reference tool that either I was misusing or approaching with inaccurate or unreasonable expectations. Did anyone have a better experience with Credo? Can someone contextualize the usefulness of the site (compared with other readily available online reference tools and other digital reference materials already provided by the JSR library) in an academic environment? What features of Credo do you like? Why does credo lump Philosophy and Psychology together in the same section?

    Like

  2. Jay,
    Thanks for your feedback. You are right in that most entries only provide a brief overview – but that is the purpose behind this reference resource.

    It would be nice if entries provided references for further research but most of the encyclopedias and dictionaries included in this database do not have this added feature even in their print version. I did a search on Martin Luther King Jr., and did find some references for further research but they not obvious. For example:

    >>World of Sociology (http://www.credoreference.com/entry/4785522) – Some of King’s works are mentioned in the last paragraph.
    >>Chambers Biographical Dictionary (http://www.credoreference.com/entry/5670758) – Some reference listed at the end.
    >>The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia (http://www.credoreference.com/entry/6439469) – Links to some web sites towards the end under the Weblinks heading.

    You could do a search on your topic or person and include the term, “weblinks” in your search but that would not be obvious to most users.

    I believe the reason that Credo lumps Philosophy and Psychology together is that there are only a few reference titles available for each subject area – it doesn’t make sense to me either.

    The biggest plusses I see with this resource are:
    -being able to search for a topic/person across multiple subject areas/dictionaries/encyclopedias
    -it includes many images and audio files and is starting to add video files

    You may be able to get more accurate or relevant results if you choose the “Advanced Search” option – but again, this is not obvious to most users. I believe there is room for improvement with their search interface.

    Would anyone else like to chime in?

    Like

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