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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Fall 2010
DOI: 10.5062/F42N506V

Database Reviews and Reports

GREENR (Global Reference on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources)

Nasser Saleh
Integrated Learning Librarian
Engineering & Science Library
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario

Copyright 2010, Nasser Saleh. Used with permission.


GREENR is a new database from Gale that is designed as a portal to online resources in sustainability and the environment. The database was launched in early 2010 and has been reviewed during the period of a free trial subscription at Queen's University in October 2010.

Content and Scope

GREENR provides different types of content that spans across Academic Journals, Reference Materials, News, Case Studies, Government Reports, Technical Reports, Associations, Country Profiles, and Industry Reports. The content is available in many different formats that include contextual multimedia and interactive maps.

The scope of the database covers topics that are related to Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources which makes this database of interest not only to the field of science and engineering but to those who are interested in emerging green technologies such as environmental sciences, policy studies, law, education, healthcare, food and others.

As of November 1, 2010 the GREENR database includes 924 indexed journals (874 of them are in full text), 364 images, 54 references (primary sources), and 3,035 videos. The database also links to content that is available freely on the web, for example, among the indexed video galleys are videos from NBC, PBS,, and some lectures from the US Geological Survey. The title list of the database is available at

Searching and Functionality

The database homepage provides different tools for browsing and searching the content. The default setting of the homepage has five main sections: Browse Issues and Topics, World Map, Case Studies, Videos, and Academic Journals and News. Some sections have a searching box to search the content of a particular section. The database homepage is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. GREENR Homepage.

Browse Issues and Topics is an option to start browsing with a specified topic. The home page provides links to 10 major issues and each issue has its corresponding topic. The existing issues are:

The topics are also listed alphabetically to allow users the ability to browse the content based on a specified topic as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. GREENR Topics

The database has an advanced search functionality that can be easily accessed in all the database pages to allow using different searching criteria with Boolean operators as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. GREENR Advanced Search

The advanced search pages also features optional limiting of the search results to limit the search based on different citeria such as peer reviewed only, full text only, document type, content type (news, web sites, magazines, conference papers, etc.), subject, publication date(s), publication format, and document number as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. GREENR Advanced Search Limiting Options

The interactive worldmap is a dicovery tool that uses Google Maps with Mashup Technologies to browse with different options such as topics (default), countries, and regions. For example, browsing by the topic of E-waste in Canada resulted in a number of related articles as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Browsing by E-Waste in Canada

The results can be viewed in a detailed format that categorizes the results based on the content type. The results are linked to the full text of the article if it is included in the database or to a web page. The results can be further filtered and limited by document type or publication name as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Related Articles to E-Waste in Canada

Each record in the database provides different tools to help the user manage the results of the search. In addition to print, e-mail, download, citation download to different bilbiographic management software, the database allows one to share the results using different social media tools such as delicious and Facebook.

Figure 7. A record format

The database allows users to create an account to have some personalized features such as saved search alerts, search history, search lists, and RSS feeds. Users can easily access a "My Account" page to view and manage user account activity. Registered users can access their "Dashboard" to view and modify the settings of the search alerts and view the search lists as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. My account page in GREENR

Evaluation of the Product

The product was evaluated in the free trial period; many positive feedback replies from undergraduate students were received regarding the searching functions and the use of many of the resources as general reference materials. There was also feedback from other users regarding the relatively low number of related articles to Canadian environmental issues. An overlap analysis has been performed using Ulrich's Serials Analysis System to compare the database title list against our existing library-subscribed databases. There were very few unique periodical titles (54 titles) that are not listed in our collection. After reviewing many of these titles, it was not noticed that they are freely available on the web or in open access journals.

The scope of the database can be more appropriate to public libraries, high schools, community colleges, and junior undergraduate students in science and engineering. The database can be used as a starting point for information literacy sessions for first-year students by giving examples of different types of information resources and how to use customized features. A careful decision and evaluation of the content is needed before a decision is made to subscribe to the collection.

Pricing and Licensing

Pricing for GREENR is possible via a custom quote from your local GALE representative, who can be found at To sign up a free trial or to learn more about the product, please visit

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