February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Gale Databases Integrate Google Apps for Education 


Most kids don’t exactly leap at the chance to use a reference database. But now Gale is leveraging students’ penchant for Google to quell their common objection that databases are hard to use. The company recently announced a new integration with Google products, including Google Drive and Google Classroom, that are intended to streamline work for both students and teachers.

Gale + Google

In many Gale databases, a feature is now embedded that allows students to save articles to Google Drive and teachers to do the same with Google Classroom. When students are logged in to Drive, a button at the top of a database article allows them to click and save the article into a database folder in their Drive account. Instead of having to email or print articles, they can save them all in one place. Once the article is in Drive, students can highlight it, add comments, and share it, just as they would with any Google Doc. “The students I work with struggle with paraphrasing and summarizing,” reports Richelle O’Neil, Garland (TX) ISD library media services coordinator. “But because the article is saved as a doc, students are able to type their paraphrase or summary directly underneath the section of text.”

Dhaivyd Hilgendorf, library media specialist at Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, MN, reports that her daughter has been using the Gale interface for a project on the double helical structure of DNA. Whenever she downloaded an article into Docs, all the notes and highlights moved with it. “She really liked that both the citation and the URL were included in the doc versions of the articles. Also, once it’s in the student’s drive, it functions like any other Google Doc, so they can edit it seamlessly in an interface with which they are already familiar,” said Hilgendorf.

O’Neil finds that this integration is appealing to her students. “Students now expect most databases to integrate with Google. It’s actually proving to be more and more difficult to get them to use databases that do not have this integration.” Hilgendorf concurs. “I’m encouraging and teaching the use of Gale databases much more now that they’ve integrated.”

The Google integration is available in most Gale products, including Contemporary Authors Online, Gale in Context Suite, Gale ebooks, InfoTrac, and Kids infoBits. To see the tools in action, watch Gale’s videos on Google Classroom or Google Drive.

What about plagiarism?

One concern teachers may have is plagiarism. O’Neil points out that there will always be concerns about this issue, no matter what format of the student’s research resources, whether it is a PDF file, an online article, or a Google Doc. “Ultimately, it’s up to all of the professionals on a campus to educate and inform students on plagiarism,” she says, adding that tools such as turnitin.com, a service which assesses student work for originality, might be helpful.

On the educator side

Gale’s new feature allows teachers to save an article directly into Google Classroom that can be shared with students. O’Neil, along with her fellow teachers, have been impressed with this feature. “A first-year science teacher was stunned that Science in Context not only had articles but labs. He immediately started posting labs to his Classroom.”

A second partnership

Gale has also integrated their In Context Suite product with EasyBib. “The partnering of Gale-Cengage with Google Apps, EasyBib, and other citation tool companies represents a landmark shift from thinking of other companies as competitors to thinking of them as collaborators, which can help bring a superior product to customers. I hope that this type of product-mashing becomes the norm among vendors of quality information resources,” remarked Hilgendorf.



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Carolyn Foote About Carolyn Foote

Carolyn Foote is a “technolibrarian” at Westlake High School in Austin, TX.
She blogs at Not So Distant Future.

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