Have you ever been to a home or appliance store and looked at about a million can openers and thought “Which one should I buy?” Me too. In this particular case, it was humidifiers. There’s a bunch out there on the market and I was a little overwhelmed. So I did as all librarians tend to do — I did a little research.
The first place I went was Consumer Reports. I’ve been using Consumer Reports for years to help me buy anything that I want to last for more than a couple of years or that will cost more than a few hundred dollars. CR, for short, is a nonprofit, independent agency that helps us poor befuddled consumers navigate the world of stuff.
I was at home and didn’t want to wait until the next morning to go to work, so I powered up my old computer. I could have gone to the Consumer Reports website. But you can’t get the entire article without logging in as a member. So I went to our “Reference Databases,” clicked on “Databases A to Z,” and then selected “MasterFILE Premier at EBSCOhost.” This took me to a search page for “MasterFILE Premier”. I did a rather complicated search. But, it turns out I could have just typed in “Consumer Reports and humidifier”, and I would have gotten the same results. I tried it just to be sure, and got the same results with less typing. Silly me. I got the information that I wanted and so armed, I ventured out into the World Wide Web to buy a humidifier.
Now if I was the patient sort, I could have waited until I got to work the next day and looked at the actual magazine in the Library. It has the exact same information as on the database.