Posts Tagged ‘Databases’


Celebrating anniversaries with help from ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 24th, 2019

I recently bought my husband a new grill to celebrate our anniversary. After 20 years, I think I have this marriage thing figured out, as the grill is a present for him, but also me! Isn’t sharing what marriage is all about?

We set a gift budget, made a pact not to go over that budget, then made another pact to ensure that the first pact wasn’t a lie, like when you tell someone not to get you something for your birthday but they do anyway. This time, we really meant STICK TO THE BUDGET!

In order to get the most bang for my buck, and find a grill that would do more than cook burgers, I turned to the Library’s Consumer Reports database. Did you know what you can log on to Consumer Reports FOR FREE any time you are in the Library to check out their reviews on everything from grills to carpet cleaning services? Consumer Reports does not accept advertising dollars and pays for all the products it test, so you know they’re telling the truth when they recommend specific products.

I did my research, bought the grill and we have enjoyed several nights of great meals in the lovely spring air. My husband bought me a bike, in case you were curious. I used Consumer Reports for that, too, and showed him exactly what I wanted.

We’ll definitely make it to 21 years of marriage. 🙂

Learn more about the Library’s great collection of online databases here.

Eating up some history

by Candice Smith on July 16th, 2018

Some years ago I was vacationing with my friend Carrie in Krakow, Poland, and we found ourselves having dinner in a restaurant called Wierzynek. It has been around since 1364. I honestly don’t remember the food being anything spectacular, but that has more to do with being a vegetarian choosing from a traditional Polish menu. What I do remember is being amazed by the idea of sitting in a place where people from all walks of life had come to eat for hundreds of years. Touching the same walls, going through the same doors, seeing the same city square and market hall that they saw–it’s some weird sort of time-travel. I’m still enthralled by moments like that, and get the same feeling when I’m at a place like Clinton St. Social Club, where you climb the steep, narrow stairs that people have used for over a hundred years, see the worn, geometric tile floors, the old brick walls and huge wooden beams. We still have a fair amount of old structures in downtown Iowa City, and I always enjoy being in them, wondering what they used to be, how they were used, what happened in them (did you know the Yacht Club was a mortuary? Same for just about every building in the pedmall block of E. College St, north side, at one time or another). I was having pizza at Flight the other night, looking out of their windows at the view of the old Jefferson Hotel and the tops of the other buildings on the street, wondering what had gone on in the space I was in.

Turns out, I work in one of the best places to find out that kind of information. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have a historic archive for the Cedar Rapids Gazette? (Part 2)

by Melody Dworak on July 19th, 2017

Boy, do we ever! In my last post, I directed you to how you can get to the same archives The Gazette website uses, but for free. But that’s just a text-based archive, what if you want to see what the actual newspaper pages look like? Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have a historic archive for the Cedar Rapids Gazette? (Part 1)

by Melody Dworak on July 19th, 2017

Yes! The Iowa City Public Library has a database of Cedar Rapids Gazette articles, covering 1992 to the present. The years match what the newspaper’s archive page on its website says it has. The articles in NewsBank will be text articles (i.e., no images and smaller download sizes). If you have an active ICPL library card and live in our service area, you can research historic Gazette articles for free.

How do you do that? Head over to our Online Resources page and find NewsBank on the list of resources. (If you are starting from icpl.org, Online Resources is under “Books + More.”) Here are some screenshots of what you will look for. Read the rest of this entry »

Inauguration history

by Melody Dworak on January 20th, 2017

inauguration-quarrelWhen major historical events happen before our eyes, it can be fun to turn to the wayback machine and explore what it was like in the past. Thanks to the Historical New York Times database, I can take this trip down the collective memory lane. Read the rest of this entry »

Finding a Family, part 2: From Missouri to Iowa

by Candice Smith on September 17th, 2016

In my last post, I’d found my grandfather Carl in the 1925 census. I also found out that his father and his grandfather were born in Missouri, which came as a surprise to me. For as long as I’d known them, my father’s family of aunts, uncles, and cousins were all in Oelwein, Iowa, and I’d never thought to ask if they’d moved there from somewhere else. Oelwein can kind of seem like a place where, the people who live there, they’ve always just been there and nowhere else. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, just that it’s a small town and community, everyone knows everyone and all their family members, all of their stories, and the stories of their parents and grandparents. They know where everyone works, who built what, who lives where, who everyone’s children got married to, etc. Oelwein is familiar and self-contained.

So, just who were these Missourians that came to Oelwein? Read the rest of this entry »

Finding a family

by Candice Smith on August 12th, 2016
Finding a family Cover Image

I, like many people I work with and see here at the Library, am interested in genealogy. I’ve done a little bit of research here and there, mainly on my mother’s side of the family. Her maiden name is Klein, her father’s first name was Henderikus, and this ended up being a good name to start with. Aside from the fact that it was often misspelled, it is a somewhat unique name which made it a little easier to trace, and I was able to find him in the census records, as well as documentation of his family’s immigration from the Netherlands. Working backwards, I eventually hit a genealogy jackpot, when I found someone from the Netherlands who had done the research for the same relatives I was looking at, all the way back to the 1600s.

My father’s last name is Smith. I have resisted doing any research on that side of the family out of fear that I would be lost in a morass of Smiths in the midwest, unable to go much further than a couple generations. However, I recently decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »

Get access to Consumer Reports online!

by Candice Smith on July 15th, 2015

CRThe Library has recently subscribed to what I think is one of the most useful online resources out there–Consumer Reports. We’ve had the actual magazine for years, as well as access to the print articles in digital format through our magazine database EbscoHost (if you actually jumped through the hoops required to do that, you’ll love this!).  Consumer Reports online has all of the ratings and reviews that you see in the magazine, plus video content. It’s easy to use, very up-to-date, and looks great.

You can get access to it from the Library’s Online Resources page; scroll down the list until you find Consumer Reports, then enter your library card number and password (if you need help with your password, contact the Information Desk). Once you’ve accessed the site, you can use the search bar to search for items, or you can browse categories in the grey ‘Find Ratings’ box on the left side of the page.

Note: to access this resource from outside the Library, you must be a library card holder who lives in Iowa City, rural Johnson county, Hills, or University Heights. If you live outside these areas, contact your local public library to see if they subscribe to the site.

Anyone can access Consumer Reports online if you’re actually at the Iowa City Public Library; we have four database computers on the second floor that do not require signing in and have no time-limit, so you can read product reviews to your heart’s content!

Making Cents of Your Investments (with Databases!)

by Jennifer Eilers on May 20th, 2015

Investing on your own can seem like a daunting task. Creating a portfolio or picking stocks may not be for everyone, but for those that do take an active role in their asset management the library has tools to help you. With the library’s subscription to Value Line and Morningstar*, two of the leading investment tools on the market, you can make informed choices on your investments.

With Value Line you have access to analysis and ratings for over 1,700 widely-followed companies and 1,800 small and mid-cap companies. It provides specialized ratings that help investors know how to evaluate a stock’s performance in relationship to industry indicators. For newer investors, the subscription also offers sample portfolios that can help point you in the right direction presenting a variety of investment strategies.

Morningstar provides access to over 21,000 stocks, 29,000 funds, and 1,758 ETFs, and like Value Line, provides its own set of criteria for analyzing investments. One of the best tools available in Morningstar is the “Xray a Portfolio” tool. Here you can input an actual or hypothetical portfolio and find out how risky it is, in what areas of the market your profolio is exposed, and much more!

Both Value Line and Morningstar offer screener tools. A screener is a stock comparison tool which allows you to choose from a long list of customizable criteria to compare stocks. While each database has its own system for rating investments,  you can check up on your current investments  and get a printable report with current information on the company’s sales, earnings, and other industry indicators.

To learn how to use the Morningstar or Value Line database, click here.

If you would like more information about Morningstar, Value Line or the other databases the library subscribes to, please go to www.icpl.org/resources call the library at 356-5200 or speak with a librarian.

* Access to Morningstar is limited. Only  one person can access the database at a time.

**** Please note that only residents of Iowa City or rural Johnson County and the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights can access databases from home.

 

Learn more with databases at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 10th, 2015

With subscriptions to nearly 50 databases, the Iowa City Public Library has the resources patrons need to learn a new language, research or check stocks, or find information about an ancestor or loved one.

The Library’s databases can be accessed at www.icpl.org under the Reference and Research tab on the left side of the web site. Click Online Resources and watch the instructional video on the screen to learn more about the information at your fingertips.

The Library’s databases are organized by category and alphabetically.

Every database can be accessed from the Library, but some can be accessed at home. This option is available to Iowa City residents, as well as those who live in rural Johnson County, or the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights. Patrons wishing to access a database at home must have a Library Card.

Databases that can’t be accessed at home are noted in the description.

“Databases are another great resource for Library patrons,” Library Assistant Jen Eilers says. “They have the capability to learn so much with just the click of a button.”

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.