Databases to Delight You: A Purely Whimsical Romp Through the Recreational/Non-Scholarly Use of Library Databases
It's Saturday night. Choices, choices... Get all decked out and party the night away at Gypsy Bar or slog through your NSF proposal? There's got to be a happy medium. I say, hit the databases!
True, our 500+ subscription databases from Academic OneFile to Zentralblatt Math are provided primarily for serious academic research. They will indeed give you access to scholarly works in almost all possible areas of study. They provide full text, and data and more. For your pleasure and delight, however, I present here several of our library databases which may afford you many hours of amusement and entertainment.
Want to take in a show? Sit back and relax to the rollicking fun of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic light opera, The Pirates of Penzance, available via Theatre in Video. Is listening to some good music more your speed? Many choices from folk to classic are available on Smithsonian Global Sound. I suggest this lovely Irish planxty, or perhaps you would prefer to explore the music available from a particular country, like Uzbekistan. Or maybe you're more partial to the Cajun genre?
Time for a little salsa dancing? Grab your partner, clear a space in the living room, and crank up "Sabroso como el guarapo" on Naxos Music Library.
Are you a genealogy buff? Maybe this is the night you find out that Grandma Zelda is really 97 and not 89 as she claims, and that you have a whole branch of previously unknown cousins in Poughkeepsie. Delve into your past on Ancestry.com's Library Edition. This database can keep you enthralled all night following cryptic leads.
Or maybe it's the kind of night to curl up with a good eBook. Try HathiTrust for full text of many of your old favorites (generally pre-1923, with other public domain works also available). You can even create your own collections for yourself and for others. Some ideas: 18th Century Cookbooks or Works of the Alcotts. Need something a little more contemporary? OverDrive has popular fiction and non-fiction to download to your eBook reader.
The Boston College Libraries have many other possible databases you can enjoy - discover them all at http://databases.bc.edu/V.