November 17, 2017

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Style and Substance: Cavendish Square Digital | Reference Online

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Featuring new updates to existing databases and a brand-new addition (It’s My State), Cavendish Square Digital provides useful material in a clean, clear format.

Cavendish Square Digital

Grade level Cavendish Square Digital (CSD) targets a wide range of users, depending on the database.

Cost Each collection is priced individually, with prices ranging from $477 to $1,749 per year. The databases within each collection can be purchased separately for $159 per year.

Overview Malleable, intuitive, and well organized, CSD provides substantive content. Since CSD’s acquisition of Marshall Cavendish in 2013, the old Marshall Cavendish databases have migrated over to the new Cavendish platform. All of the old databases have been updated in the new environment, and many of the old databases have article updates as well.

Content Think of CSD as a treasure chest. In the treasure chest are eight smaller chests called resources: biographies, science (animal and plants), science (general), science (health), social studies (American history), social studies (communities and cultures), social studies (general), and social studies (world history). In each smaller chest, or resource, a shining trove of databases awaits. For instance, the science (health) collection has several databases, including Diseases and Disorders, Family Health, Food and Nutrition, and a health encyclopedia.

All articles are based on the well-reviewed CSD print resources and are written accessibly and authoritatively. Now there are 55-plus databases, featuring content that students can make use of with ease. Teens can email, print, and share articles via dozens of social media platforms. Remote access is available, and there is no limit to the number of patrons who can use CSD at any given time.

An extensive collection of well-curated, beautifully presented photos, charts, diagrams, and time lines enhance the text. Clicking on the “Media Gallery” allows students to view all of the related images at once, minus the text.

“Research Tools,” which includes a bibliography, recommended reading, related websites, and, in some cases, a list of relevant “Places to Go,” is ideal for those looking to pursue a topic further.

Students and teachers will also appreciate that each article is accompanied by full citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style.

Ease of use Students with a variety of learning styles will be able to access CSD effortlessly. On the home page, users begin by choosing between a visual and a list browse. For the visual browse, students select from a variety of images, each representing a different database. Under the list browse, students choose from databases accompanied by images and one-to-two sentence descriptions.

The articles are integrated to allow for searching throughout all of the resources with one search. The Google Translate feature lets students translate text into 80 languages, including Spanish and Russian. In addition, the articles contain a text-to-speech feature, allowing a male or female narrator to read the text aloud as the corresponding words are highlighted automatically. CSD is designed for use with tablets and smartphones.

New Features The full-color images and clean layout make the new interface not only attractive but accessible. It’s My State is a brand-new database, and the following resources were updated within the last year:

• Animal and Plant Anatomy
• Earth & Physical Science
• Life Sciences
• Exploring the Middle Ages
• Exploring American History
• How It Works
• Growing Up with Science
• Explorers and Exploration
• Facts About Drugs
• Renaissance and Reformation
• Ancient and Medieval World
• Exploring Ancient Civilizations
• Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology
• International Wildlife
• Inventors and Inventions

Verdict CSD is the standard by which other encyclopedia-style databases should be judged. CSD has style and substance: Steve Jobs and Tim Gunn would be proud.

Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Kristie says:

    What age group would CSD be for?