10 Interesting Things I Learned From Databases at WPL

Winnipeg Public Library pays for databases that everyone with a library card can access for free.  These databases are intended for anyone with an information need (adults and children) and they include a wealth of information  for both research and leisurely information pursuits.  Here are 10 things I learned today by accessing our databases:


1. I was recently wondering about my heritage, and was asking my siblings if they knew what my paternal grandfather did for a living.  No-one knew, and there are very few living relatives left to ask.  I decided to check on Ancestry Plus (available in-library at all locations) and immediately located a voting list that listed my grandfather as being a millworker.  I’m now curious to do much more research on my family tree, and Ancestry Plus is a great place to start!

2. I remember seeing Husker Du at the Royal Albert Arms when I was much younger, and I was curious as to which year this concert wfpoccurred.  I checked out the Winnipeg Free Press Archives (available in-library at all locations) and discovered that they played there for 2 nights in 1984.  This also means that I went to see them at the bar before I turned 18, and this is a fact that I’ll never share with my son as he reaches his teen years!  The review of the Husker Du show was on a page that also included ads for restaurants and other businesses, many of which don’t exist any longer.  One ad is for Mother Tucker’s restaurant, and they’re advertising a sirloin steak dinner for $7.95!

3. Career Cruising is an extremely popular database that provides acareer wealth of information about various careers, educational requirements, resume building and even provides assessments to help point you in the direction of jobs and careers that would be well-suited to you.  I took the assessment out of curiousity and the results indicated that were I not currently a librarian, fields that might be well-suited to me would be lobbyist, criminologist or proofreader- interesting!  Many job counselors use Career Cruising with their clients and it’s definitely a database that’s worth checking out, whether you’re a high school student looking for career options or you’re looking to change careers.

4. We have several streaming music sites, including Naxos Music.  


I was interested in seeing whether Naxos Music had any bellydance music, as this can be difficult to locate.  A search on Naxos Music revealed many CDs of bellydance music that could be streamed for free, and this is a database that can be accessed from home as well!

5. My son loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and I was curious about what other authors he might be interested in.  Using Novelist jacketPlus, I was able to search for these books and then click on ‘author readalikes’ and ‘series readalikes’ to discover other items he might be interested in.  Results included Gordon Korman, Tom Angleberger , Jordan Sonnenblick, Knights of the Lunch Table, Big Nate and Zombie Chasers – some good choices for my son to try.  Novelist Plus is a great resource to use for reading recommendations both for children and adults.

6. A colleague of mine is moving to Peru for a year, and I was curious to csimagelearn more about Peru.  Our database Lands and Peoples contained an article about Peru, and I learned a few things I didn’t previously know (all food-related, which means it’s close to lunchtime and I’m getting hungry!).  I discovered that most stores and businesses in the large cities close at noon and reopen at 3:00, as the mid-day meal is the largest.  The potato is a staple food in Peru and other popular dishes include anticuchos (main ingredient is beef heart) and seviche (raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juice).  Cuy (guinea pig) is also eaten in Peru, often barbecued on skewers.  As an owner of three guinea pigs named Max, Arthur and Felix, I quite hope that my colleague will not partake of cuy!

7. The Mango Languages database is an awesome resource for learning languages, and it includes a multitude of language choices.  In addition to mangoFrench, Spanish, Italian, Polish (and many others) Mango also includes Pirate.  I discovered that ‘buddy’ in Pirate is ‘me matey’ so I just might annoy everyone I know by calling them ‘me matey’ from now on.  Judging by how often Pirate is accessed on Mango, I won’t be the only one!

8. When using Consumer Health Complete, I discovered that there is untitledan actual disease called Rabbit Fever (or tularemia).  This is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by small animals such as rabbits and mice, and can be transferred by the animal or by a tick or fly bite.  If eating wild game, it should be cooked thoroughly so as not to transmit disease – so, if you’re eating rabbit, make sure you cook it thoroughly.  However, as a bunny lover who has been known to feed carrots to backyard rabbits , don’t tell me if you’re cooking up some rabbit stew!

9. In the database Columbia Granger’s Poetry database I searched for popoetry about Winnipeg, and located an absolutely lovely poem entitled Winnipeg – At Sunset, written by Emily Pauline Johnson (or Tekahionwake).  You can even listen to audio of the poem being read aloud.  My favorite stanza of this poem is:

Twilight is lingering over the rim
Of prairie and sky,
Its purple and amethyst, born in the dim
Horizon, to die.

tita10. I was curious about the Manitoba connection to the sinking of the      Titanic, and did a search on the Canadian Reference Centre database to locate articles about this.  I found an article entitled Titanic – The Manitoba Story from a journal entitled Manitoba History.  Very interesting article about local people who died in the tragedy.

Spend some time exploring Winnipeg Public Library’s databases, and you just might be surprised at the interesting things you discover!


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