Library Vocab 102: What are datasets and databases?

As a McGill student working at the library, I understand that navigating the vast world of information can be challenging, especially when encountering terms like “dataset” and “database.” In this short blog post, I try to simplify these concepts for fellow students, providing a clearer understanding of what they entail.

Let’s start with Datasets:

A dataset is essentially a collection of organized information or data. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with rows and columns or as complex as a massive compilation of data points related to a specific topic. Datasets serve as raw materials for research and analysis, allowing researchers to draw meaningful conclusions based on patterns, trends, and relationships within the data.

For example, a dataset on climate change might include information on temperature variations, greenhouse gas emissions, and sea level rise over a specific time period. McGill’s library provides access to various datasets through platforms like ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research), where you can explore datasets related to social sciences.

Now let’s try understanding Databases:

On the other hand, a database is a structured collection of data organized for efficient retrieval and management. Databases store and organize information in a way that allows users to search, retrieve, and manipulate data easily. Think of it as a digital filing cabinet where information is stored in a systematic manner.

McGill’s library offers access to numerous databases, including academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, and ProQuest. These databases cover a wide range of disciplines, providing students with scholarly articles, research papers, and other academic resources to support their studies.

To rephrase here are the key differences:

   – Datasets: Raw, unprocessed information.

   – Databases: Organized and processed information.

   – Datasets: Used for analysis, research, and drawing conclusions.

   – Databases: Used for efficient storage, retrieval, and management of information.

As a McGill student, you have access to a wealth of datasets and databases through the library, empowering you to explore, learn, and excel in your academic journey.

Remember to leverage resources like lib guides and platforms recommended by the McGill library to make the most of these valuable tools in your studies. Happy exploring!

Gifts of Knowledge: McGill University Library’s 12 Days to the Holidays Book Display Recap

As the winter season unfolds, the McGill University Library welcomed the festive spirit with a delightful book display featuring twelve carefully selected reads. Each book was handpicked by different members of our diverse and passionate library team, creating a unique and thoughtful collection for our readers. Let’s take a journey through the 12 Days to the Holidays book display and explore the literary gifts our staff shared with the McGill community.

Day 1: “A Murder of Quality” by John le Carré

Gifter: Lonnie Weatherby

Kicking off the display, Lonnie Weatherby introduced us to the gripping world of espionage with “A Murder of Quality” by John le Carré. This classic spy novel set the tone for an exciting literary adventure.

Day 2: “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers

Gifter: Emily Jaeger-McEnroe

Emily Jaeger-McEnroe added a touch of speculative fiction to the mix with “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers. This thought-provoking novella explores the intersection of humanity and nature, offering readers a unique and imaginative experience.

Day 3: “The Psychology of Time Travel” by Kate Mascarenhas

Gifter: Kristen Howard

Kristen Howard took us on a journey through time with “The Psychology of Time Travel” by Kate Mascarenhas. This novel delves into the complexities of time travel and its psychological implications, making it a fascinating addition to the display.

Day 4: “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner

Gifter: Veronica Bergsten

Veronica Bergsten shared the deeply personal and moving memoir, “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner. This exploration of identity, grief, and Korean-American culture resonated with readers seeking a powerful and emotional narrative.

Day 5: “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Gifter: Dawn McKinnon

Dawn McKinnon engaged readers in thought-provoking conversations with “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. This insightful book challenges our understanding of human interactions, shedding light on the complexities of communication.

Day 6: “Study for Obedience” by Sarah Bernstein

Gifter: Sharon Rankin

Sharon Rankin introduced us to the world of contemporary art and obedience with “Study for Obedience” by Sarah Bernstein. This thoughtfully crafted novel explores the intersection of art, power, and control.

Day 7: “A Place Called No Homeland” by Kai Cheng Thom

Gifter: Hye-Jin Juhn

Hye-Jin Juhn brought attention to the marginalized voices with “A Place Called No Homeland” by Kai Cheng Thom. This collection of poetry and prose offers a powerful exploration of identity, displacement, and resilience.

Day 8: “We Hunt the Flame” by Hafsah Faizal

Gifter: Amanda Wheatley

Amanda Wheatley gifted readers an epic fantasy adventure with “We Hunt the Flame” by Hafsah Faizal. This young adult novel takes readers on a thrilling quest in a richly imagined world.

Day 9: “Man’s Searching for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

Gifter: Geneieve Gosselin

Geneieve Gosselin shared the timeless wisdom of Viktor E. Frankl in “Man’s Searching for Meaning.” This philosophical work continues to inspire readers to find purpose and meaning in their lives.

Day 10: “The Book of Form and Emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki

Gifter: Jane McAslan

Jane McAslan led readers into a world of literary magic with “The Book of Form and Emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki. This novel weaves a captivating tale about the power of books and the human experience.

Day 11: “The Colony” by Audrey Magee

Gifter: Lauren Goldman

Lauren Goldman transported us to a different time and place with “The Colony” by Audrey Magee. This historical novel provided a glimpse into the lives of individuals caught in the midst of World War II.

Day 12: “The Son of the House” by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

Gifter: Deborah Ahenkorah

Deborah Ahenkorah concluded our 12 Days to the Holidays display with “The Son of the House” by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia. This novel explores themes of family, societal expectations, and resilience in post-colonial Nigeria.

2nd Annual CSSA Self-Care Event at McGill University Library

The McGill Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) is hosting the 2nd annual self-care event at the Redpath Library Bridge from November 27th to December 1st, 12-4pm. This event aims to provide students with various activities to promote self-care and well-being.

Event Schedule

  • Monday: Origami Animal Market – Attendees can create and take home cute cutouts of puppies.
  • Tuesday: Deep Breath Zone – A moment for self-care to take a deep breath and center oneself.
  • Wednesday: Collaborative Drawing – Join other McGill students in contributing to a drawing to create one large masterpiece.
  • Thursday: Study Break in the Innovation Commons – More details available on Olivia’s post.
  • Friday: More self-care activities – Keep an eye out on the Redpath bridge for additional activities.

The McGill Library is committed to promoting health and wellness, offering various resources and events to support students, faculty, and staff in their well-being[4]. Additionally, the library provides access to online resources for health and wellness, making it a go-to destination for those seeking reliable information in this area.

For more information about the event, you can visit the McGill Library website.