Featured Database: Opposing Viewpoints


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Library Databases are collections of articles where the library buys the rights for you to access, read, link to, and print the articles. Although EBSCOhost is the best known provider of databases in Iowa, there are many others. Today we highlight another library database Kirkwood provides. All of our databases can be accessed both directly on any Kirkwood computer or by logging in with your k number and password from anywhere off campus.


Opposing Viewpoints – What it Is, Why to use it

Opposing Viewpoints in Context is from the same company that makes the paper Opposing Viewpoint books that you can access in paper. The paper versions are housed in our Debate Section.

Opposing Viewpoints is a great resource for persuasive research papers or speeches. Not only is it helpful for finding opinions, it’s also a great source for helping students find unusual topics rather than the same worn out topics over and over and over again. Its main feature is editorial essays arguing one side or the other of a controversial subject. They call these essays viewpoints in the database and they are the same thing as the chapters in the book version. In addition, for many subjects they have a summary page to get you started on your research and all searches will additionally turn up results in sections like statistics and news.

Search Opposing Viewpoints in Context by clicking here.

You can also find the link directly by clicking on the All Kirkwood Databases link on the Kirkwood Library Services home page and scroll to O for Opposing Viewpoints in Context. If you are accessing it from off campus you will have to log in with your K number and password at this point.

How to Use It

The main screen of Opposing Viewpoints  opens with a selection of possible subjects under a range of broad topics including Business and Economics, Energy and Environmentalism, Health and Medicine, Law and Politics, National Debate Topic (chosen by the National Forensic League every year as a theme for competitive debates around the country), Science Technology and Ethics, Society and Culture, and War and Diplomacy. Click on one of View Alls in the box with the heading or on the individual sample subjects below each one.

A second way to access the articles is to put your subject in the search box at the top. It will bring up results with the viewpoints on top and other categorized links (Academic Journals, News, etc.) showing up in the results list below them.

There is NOT an easy way to search for the chapters of an entire book by title or editor, etc. The search will bring up viewpoints from various titles and different editions of any one title. The best way to find a viewpoint online that you found in a book is to search for the individual chapter title. When you open the page with the individual viewpoint a box will appear on the right called Table of Contents, but this will only take you to individual sections within the article, not to other essays within that book.

If you go in through one of the subject links on the front page, not only are there links to the viewpoints, but there are links to Academic Journals, Statistics, Primary Sources, News, Videos (very few), Reference (really just the prefaces to the books), Biographies, Magazines, Audio (mostly radio news stories), and Recommended Websites. Except for the websites these link sections allow you to read full text items in Opposing Viewpoints that they have purchased the rights to and loaded on their system as html files (meaning the words, but not the formatting are from the original source).

Tech Tips

All the html articles are set up to be read alone by a mechanical voice. Unlike Ebsco you can’t choose the accent, but by clicking on listen and then the gear wheel that shows up in the toolbar that opens up you can adjust reading speed, whether you have highlights, what color the highlighting is, etc. You can also use the downwards pointing arrow to download the recording as an MP3 file which you can take with you.

If you’re really impressed by an article and want to share, you can click on share and it will send you a link that will have the link to the full text on your favorite social media format even if your friends don’t have a license they’ll be able to read that article.

Rather than have their own log-in system to keep track of articles you might want to save and find again, Gale has integrated Google into their system. Learn more at the Google links on this page.

Research tips

While all the viewpoints and anything published by Gale in paper (the company that produces Opposing Viewpoints) is clickable full text within the database, other things (Academic Journal papers, Magazine articles, etc.) may or may not be full text. For articles that aren’t full text, clicking on the title will bring up a page with the Title, the full Citation, an unclickable permalink to the page, and a Gale document number. There is also a Listen button on all of these citation pages, but it only reads what’s on the page, not the full article. See an example of a citation page here.

If you really want the full text of an article that is only cited, look in the lower right hand side for the box headed Library Links and click on Request InterLibrary Loan for us to get the article from another library. This process is not instantaneous and may take several days.

Articles are available in html and so each is able to be read aloud by a computer generated voice, highlighting each word as it is read. If you want to listen on the go you can download the articles as standard MP3s which you can play anywhere. To get it to start click on the right facing arrow by Listen This will open a short toolbar with options like another right facing arrow for play and a symbol for download. There may be a delay after opening the toolbar for the article to download and the play arrow to reappear.

Printing and Permalinks

How to print and download

On the right hand side of the screen of an article find a box with options titled Tools. Click on the print icon to print. This will print an html version of the article. A box will pop previewing the print job and a print box will show up over it. To get a better look at the preview you can close the print box and still see the preview. Hit control-p if you decide you want to print what’s previewed after all and close the preview box if you don’t.

Also in the right hand side box is an icon for download. This gives you three options to save it directly to your Google drive, to save it as a PDF, or to save it as an html file. Saving it as a PDF changes the format which gives a much more printer friendly and easier to read form. I’d suggest printing from the PDF rather than straight from print.

How to permalink

On the page displaying the full text of the article you want to link to, click on the bookmark icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Copy the link that shows up in the box.

More Information

Clicking on the citation tools icon in the Tools box, will bring up a box with their example in both MLA and APA. While there are definitely things wrong with their citations (as their disclaimer and correction samples for comparison suggest), Opposing Viewpoints can be a very strange and complex thing to cite from all the different types of information they include from a variety of sources and formats. So in this case you are probably better off starting with their version and updating it to correct formatting errors (not double spaced, no hanging indent, etc.) rather than starting from scratch.

Their version of a MLA citation will automatically appear on the bottom of each article both on screen and when you print. Remember you can find the APA version using the citation tools explained above.

Another option will let you export the citation into several different systems and to your Google docs. No mater what system you use, be sure to double check the formatting on the citations before you hand them in.
Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

About Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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