The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham databases running normally after government reopens

By: Kayla Copes

On Oct. 1, the United States government was shut down because a spending bill to fund the government wasn’t passed on time. While House Republicans insisted on a spending bill that included provisions to defund or derail Obamacare, Senate Democrats refused to accept a bill with those provisions.

President Obama signed a deal that reopened the government early October 17. According to Time Magazine, “The Senate voted 81-18 in favor of the measure, while the House voted 285-144 in favor.” The government has since reopened and things are getting back to normal up on Capitol Hill.  The government shutdown had an impact on a lot of people, from government workers to park rangers; even the panda cam at the National Zoo was a victim of the shutdown. The shutdown had a trickle down effect to Chatham University.

During the shutdown, some of the Jennie King Mellon Library’s databases that Chatham students use could not be accessed. According to an e-mail sent out by Library Director Jill Ausel, the databases that were affected were Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) and Medline.

Education majors primarily use ERIC.  Reference and Web Librarian Dana Mastroianni described ERIC as a government source. “Students could still search it but they couldn’t get any full text articles.” Mastroianni said.

Medline, according to the library’s website, is developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine. The database covers all areas of medicine. Mastoianni said that with Medline students could still search the site, but that new content was not being updated daily during the shutdown.

Since full-text articles on ERIC couldn’t be accessed during the shutdown senior Rebecca Burris, an education major couldn’t work on her tutorial. Since she couldn’t access full articles, she had difficulty using the articles that she had previously selected for her tutorial. Worried that she wouldn’t be able to finish her tutorial in time, Burris began trying to petition for a tutorial extension just in case.

While some of the databases at Chatham had certain parts of their sites that were down, other sites were completely shut down. Those sites include NASA, National Park Service, and anything dealing with census information. “The big one that’s shocking to us was the Library of Congress, because there was a lot of digital initiatives that people used that weren’t accessible.” Mastroianni also mentioned the American Memory Project that she said that a lot of people use for history.

“There was a graduate student I was helping who was a landscape architecture major and she was looking for resources. She was looking for information on cultural landscapes. I told her that the National Park Service would be a good resource, but it wasn’t available,” Mastroianni said when asked if she had any encounters with students having issues with access to information during the shutdown.

Reference Librarian Kate Wenger also had an encounter with a student having issues during the shutdown. “I know I did warn one student who was working on an education research assignment that she might encounter trouble accessing full text in ERIC. I suggested she use Academic Search Premier as well, if she didn’t find enough articles.”

Although the government shutdown didn’t last long it sure had its effects on the Chatham community, but now students can fully access the databases that were affected.

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