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Picture database recognized as "Best Site"

12/20/2006

The International Society for Technology in Education has named a Miami database as one of "101 Best Web Sites for Elementary Teachers."

Valerie A. Ubbes (physical education, health and sport studies) created the Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University in 1995 in partnership with the Miami University libraries.

The project now provides abstracts for more than 5,000 children's picture books and can be searched by topics, concepts and skills from eight academic disciplines. The key feature of the database is that books are organized by 10-15 key words, not only the few words provided by the Library of Congress. This gives users access to a broader collection of books for specialized purposes, in new patterns for interdisciplinary study.

The site's usefulness can be judged by the fact that thousands of users from the United States and seven foreign countries log into it weekly. "Googling" Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University, 25,000 links come up, including resource lists maintained by universities, schools, libraries, teacher groups, national literacy organizations and businesses catering to parents.

"Databases and books give learners access to a rich background knowledge of information through words, pictures, patterns, kinesthetic expression and environmental cues," Ubbes said. "People construct integrative life experiences through story and text, especially teachers who design literature-rich thematic units for children and youth."

The database has also been used to support literacy programs like Reach Out and Read, adult literacy in local libraries and health literacy.

Librarians who have given technical support to the project include Rob Casson and John Millard. Such partnerships that combine the expertise of faculty with the information presentation knowledge of library staff provide taxpayers with access to services "of the highest quality," said Judith Sessions, dean of Miami University libraries.

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