The college subscribes to Britannica Academic, which is an ‘encyclopedic’ collection of information sources of diverse format, and a research centre. The collection includes
- articles (i.e. encyclopedia entries) and dictionary definitions published by Britannica
- primary sources (i.e. digitised books and e-books)
- articles published by periodicals
- images and videos
- website lists and links
Britannica Academic has three research tools:
- an annotated and interactive atlas of the world
- a generator of statistical and source-based comparisons between countries
- an analyst of world data which quantifies countries in further detail
Britannica allows its subscribers (e.g. SGS students and members of SGS staff) to open personal accounts, in which they can save, organise and share copies of sources. This facility is called My Research. It is offered in an intention to benefit teaching and research.
Scholars write the articles which Britannica publishes. In addition, those articles are fact-checked, peer-reviewed and professionally edited. Consequently they are reliable sources of information; in particular, they are more trustworthy than articles published by Wikipedia.
Professional editors manage the collection holistically, consulting education professionals to ensure that the sources correspond to educational needs.
SGS students and staff can gain access to Britannica Academic from the Databases page of the SGS LRC website. In order to do this, please click either on the word “Britannica” or on the image-icon immediately below it.
Then follow the instructions given on the Britannica Academic page. (Members of college staff must enter their first names, a dot and their surnames in the “username” box, e.g. firstname.surname.)
On the Britannica Academic homepage, check one of the source types below the search box. (Britannica “articles” has been automatically selected.)
This helps to decide the focus of your basic search. Start to enter a search term in the search box. The search engine suggests sources (articles, images, videos, etc.). In many cases, you have to enter the full search term in order to provoke a relevant suggestion. You may select one of the sources suggested. This gives you access to the source immediately. Alternatively, you may press the ‘enter’ key when you have finished typing your search term. You then see a list or grid of sources of the type you have specified, e.g. a list of periodical articles.
On the left-hand side of the window there is a range of tabs, each one of which attaches to a list or grid of sources of a particular type, e.g. a grid of images tagged to the search term “Bristol”.
Click on the tabs to explore different groups of sources. (The “YEAR IN REVIEW” tab attaches to a list of Britannica articles which historically relate to specific years, e.g. an article on performing arts events in 2016.)
You may want to increase the precision or expand the scope of your search. In either of those cases, click on an “Advanced Search” button.
You then see five search boxes. Enter search terms in the box prefaced “with all the words” and/or the box prefaced “with any of these words”, in order to expand the scope of your search.
Enter terms in any one, two or three of the other boxes to increase the precision of your search.
On the Britannica Academic homepage, click either on the “ARTICLE BROWSE” icon or on the “MEDIA BROWSE” icon. (The former allows you to browse Britannica articles, and the latter, images and videos.)
On either the Article Browse homepage or the Media Browse homepage, click on one of the subject area icons. You then see icons indicating subject fields on the left-hand side of the window, and a list or grid of sources on the right-hand side. (The list or grid continues on subsequent pages, which you can view by clicking on the number and arrow icons at the bottom of the window.)
You may click on the subject field icons, limiting the range of your browse. Alternatively, you may miss this step, browsing the whole list of articles or grid of images or videos provided in a subject area, e.g. technology.
On any one of the Browse pages (i.e. “articles”, “media” and “biography”), you can click on the tabs to open any other one.
When you limit a Media Browse page to a subject area or field, you can also limit the range by media type: click on the “Images” or “Videos” tabs to filter sources of the other type.
On the Britannica Academic homepage, click on the “BIOGRAPHIES” icon, which is near the top right-hand corner of the window.
You are instructed to click in the boxes to limit the range of your browse.
Doing so in the box prefaced “KNOWN FOR”, you open a menu of subjects, which have been categorised and grouped according to their area, e.g. “poetry” has been categorised as “literature” and grouped with other subjects which have been similarly categorised.
You may specify the gender of the people whose biographies you want to find. In this case, check the boxes headed “GENDER”.
A list of search results appears instantly.
Follow this link and click on the “Research Tools” icon to watch the Britannica help video on research tools: http://corporate.britannica.com/bps/preview.html#videoplayer (It is very short.) The video gives you an overview of the research tools provided by Britannica. However, it refers to a ‘timeline’ tool which is no longer available.
On the Britannica Academic homepage, click on the Research Tools icons to gain access to the research tools.
Follow this link and click on the “Atlas” icon to watch the Britannica help video on the World Atlas tool: http://corporate.britannica.com/bps/preview.html#videoplayer. The video introduces you to the functions of the tool. Unfortunately it is slightly outdated – embedded links now give you access to relevant sources, and less detail is provided on the atlas page.
In order to use the World Atlas tool, follow the instructions given on the page. When you select a place, click on the three icons to access further information.
The Summary annotation includes the image of a national flag and a button which links the page to the Britannica article on the relevant country.
The Profile annotation provides general information about the country; the Related window lists the three Britannica articles retrieved as the most strongly related to the country. (In most cases those articles are biographical in nature.)
Follow the instruction given on the page. You can click on the tabs to choose the terms of your comparison.
World Data Analyst
This tool has three facilities, which are described below the headings “Country Snapshots”, “Country Comparisons” and “Ranked Statistics”. In order to use the country snapshot facility, click inside the box prefaced “Select a country”, choose a country and click on the “Go” icon.
Click on the hyperlinks and follow the on-screen instructions to use the other tools.
On the Britannica Academic homepage, click on the “Login/Register” icon either to log into your My Research account or to register for an account.
In order to register, click on the “Sign up” link.
Follow the on-screen instructions and click on the “OK” icon. You see a list of sources named “favourites”. Follow the instructions given near the bottom of the window. (These apply to sources accessed within Britannica Academic only.) The favourites list becomes your general collection of sources. In order to remove sources from the favourites list, click on the cross icons opposite to the titles of each one of the sources you wish to delete.
On the left-hand side of the window, click on the icon labelled “Create a new resource pack!”
Enter a name in the box that appears and click on the Add icon. Then follow the on-screen instructions. Near the bottom of your window you see your favourites list, from which you may want to add sources to your resource pack. In order to do so, click on the “+ add” icons.
Additionally or alternatively, you can add sources directly from the Britannica collection – click on the phrase “browse all Britannica Academic content” and follow the on-screen instructions. You can also add documents you have stored on hardware – near the bottom of the window, click on the icon labelled “Upload your document” and select the file you wish to upload to your resource pack.
When there are sources in your resource pack, click on the orange icon labelled “Save Changes to this Pack” at the bottom of the window.
You see a list of the sources you have added to your resource pack. You can annotate the list by clicking and typing inside the text boxes adjacent to the titles of each one of the sources. Your notes are saved automatically.
Near the top right-hand corner, there are four function buttons.
You can email your research pack via any email address – click on the “Email Pack” icon and complete the form. You can also acquire a web address for your resource pack – click on the “Share Pack” icon.
Click on the orange icon to edit and/or add sources to your resource pack.
Whenever you are logged into My Research, you can add sources either to your favourites list or to one of your research packs. In order to do this, click on the star icons above and on the right-hand side of each one of the sources you want to collect.
You can also return to the My Research page at any time – at the right-hand corner of the window, click on the words “My Content”.