Parent Library Skills Workshop Offered

The Library will be offering a Parent Library Skills Workshop this Thursday, 25 September, 8:00-8:45 a.m. Please come if you would like to learn more about the rich array of resources available to everyone in the IST community. The Librarians will teach you how to access databases and look at our collection online. If you are interested, please register below and let us know if you would like a return bus to Ao Cheng or Lake Park. (You may take the student bus in the morning).  Please check off more than one box if the form will not work.

We look forward to seeing you then!

Our workshops are meant to be short, focused sessions to help you use our library tools and be able to help your child/ren with their homework or their independent inquiries.

LibGuides are being used in the Secondary School!

14 Guides were created this fall by IST Secondary Teacher-Librarian Virginia Morgan for a variety of student research projects. LibGuides are subject guides to help students find credible resources. These subject guides are springboards into detailed information that is academic and authoritative. In these guides, librarians recommend specific databases for specific subjects. Widgets are built into the guides so students can access the databases immediately. Also included are other online sources, ebooks, and books from the IST library collections.

Where are they located? Find them at

Statistics Showing Increase In When & How Often LibGuides Are Being Accessed

Month & Views

2013-04    9
2013-05    17
2013-06    10
2013-07    1
2013-08    362
2013-09    500
2013-10    791

Inquiring into Heroes and Inventions

This week has seen grades 3 and 4 inquiring into heroes and inventions, their current units of inquiry. For both units, we have shown students to use Encyclopedia Britannica Online (EBO), which has a new layout this year.

To log in to Britannica School Online, you will need to first log in to the library OPAC. You can use your personal account information or the Quick Login, which can be found in the homework logs and the library brochures. After logging in to the OPAC, you get to the Home tab where you can scroll down to view all of our subscription databases. Britannica School Online is one of these. Click on the link and use the username and password given to log in.

Once you have logged in to EBO, you will see three levels of difficulty: elementary, middle and high.

Landing page for Britannica School Online


Elementary is for up to grade 4. Middle is from grade 5 to 8, and high is for grades 9 and up.

The elementary level has two levels of reading difficulty. The middle and high have three levels. All have a read aloud tool which will read the article. Starting from the elementary reading level 2, there is a translate tool which will translate the article into any language. Please note that it is a machine translation and so will not be perfect.

Speaker and translate tool on Britannica School Online


Britannica School Edition is just one of the many databases that the IST library subscribes to for our community. The grade 4 students are also using World Book Discoveries and Inventions Digital Collection to help with their unit on inventions.

We will offer two sessions for parents to “show off” our databases and other resources. Please join us. Register online via the sidebar. A bus will be provided for

  • Library Resources for Parents – Elementary on 17 September
  • Library Resources for Parents – Secondary on 24 September

Citation-Ready Sources for Elementary Students

Last Tuesday, we had a parent session for grades 2 to 5 titled: Principled Inquirers in grades 2 to 5. One of the skills that principled inquirers use is giving credit to the sources that help them arrive at their answers. We call this “citing our sources” and each instance of that is a “citation.” Our school uses the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format.

MLA citations are slightly different depending on the source consulted, i.e., a citation for a book is slightly different to that of a personal interview or a website article, but they all try to answer the following questions:

  • Who – is the creator/originator of the information?
  • What – is the title of the source?
  • Where – was the information published?
  • When – was the information published?

One additional “When” question asks, “When was the information accessed” if the source is online.

On Tuesday, we spoke about the progression of citation skills we expect from our students in grades 2 to 5. We also spoke about citation-ready databases.

Databases are online collections of articles that are accessed through a portal. Databases are sources of authoritative, accurate and reliable information. One of the benefits of using databases for research is that they often supply citations ready to be copied and included in student’s bibliographies.

The following subscription databases are “citation-ready” meaning that they will provide citations for students. We subscribe to these databases on behalf of our community. Students are taught by the librarians and their classroom teachers to access them via the library OPAC. Please let us know if you are a member of the IST community and you need help accessing our databases.

Citation-Ready Databases

PebbleGo – A database for students in preK to grade 2. We have two collections: Animals and Earth & Space. The database is arranged via a graphic interface that makes it easy for our younger students to find the topic of their choice. See the screenshot below with the citation button on a sample article.

Citation button on PebbleGo

Britannica Online School Edition – The school edition of the famous Encyclopedia Britannica offers three different levels of reading ability. All three levels provide citations for their articles. Students can copy and paste directly into their bibliographies. Students from grade 4 are expected to copy the full citation.

Citation on Britannica

Britannica Image Quest
– a collection of searchable, high quality images. Each image has a full citation that can be copied and pasted. For many school projects in the elementary school, students are allowed to write the phrase “Images from Britannica Image Quest.” More formal projects require students in grade 5 to include the full citation for each image.

Citation on Britannica Image Quest

WorldBook Online
– Like Britannica School Edition, WorldBook Online offers three levels of reading difficulty and citations for each article.

Citation on WorldBook

BrainPop – This is a very popular database with our students. It has short videos on a variety of school topics. Although BrainPop does not include ready citations, there is a FAQ page that explains how to cite a BrainPop movie. Note that you need to add the word “Web.” to the citation.

Secondary Parent session highlights

We had an excellent turn-out for yesterday’s parent session. Our objective was to highlight the importance of academic honesty, define plagiarism, and walk parents through the how-to for accessing the Library OPAC and our subscription databases.

Parents at the “Homework Help” session on Tuesday, 20 November, 2012.

Parents were shown how to

  1. use the Secondary Homework Log as a resource;
  2. use the Library OPAC as a starting point by logging on and viewing the homepage;
  3. begin research with Britannica Online or World Book;
  4. cite sources in MLA format—copying and pasting the citations given in most database entries or using EasyBib or NoodleTools to manage their project;
  5. make use of The Writing Center.
The next Secondary Parent session is planned for 30 January and will go into more detail on using project managers such as EasyBib or NoodleTools. Stay tuned to this blog for more details early in 2013.
In the meantime, there are two short sessions planned for next week. One is for elementary parents and the other is for all of our parent community.
28 November parent sessions

New databases to trial–Biographies, Human Body and Writing Reference

We are trialling three new databases from Infobase Learning (username: istianjin password: welcome) for the next month. They are:

  • Chelsea House Biographies Online—Features full-length biographies of contemporary and historical personalities from around the world along with useful resources for writing reports
  • The Human Body: How it Works Online—Investigates the systems and process of the human body, from the organ systems to cells, through engaging text and original videos.
  • Writer’s Reference Center—Provides the essential one-stop online reference for writers, with all the tools necessary to write and research effectively.
Make lots of use of these while we have the chance to check them out free of charge. We’d love to hear what you think about them. Add a comment below or send us an email. If these resources are very useful, we will look to add them to the great list of database resources that we currently subscribe to.

Want e-Books for Summer Reading?

You’ll find lots of online reading options through our library OPAC. 

TumbleBooks and TumbleReadables – new ebook collection in June 2012

To access our newest eBook collection, you will need to log in to the library OPAC. Use your own personal account credentials or the quick login (included on our bookmarks and in the student homework logs.)

Remember to log in where you see the IST logo.

Skitch of library OPAC

You will be taken to the Home tab. This lists all of our databases and their login information.

Select Tumblebooks for readers from preK to grade 3, and TumbleReadables for readers from grade 3 and up. Login is automatic from school, but when accessing from home, be sure to notice the username and password listed next to the link.

OPAC homepage

TumbleBooks and TumbleReadables are ebook collections. Most books include narration and a comprehension quiz. When browsing through TumbleBooks, clicking on Readables will give you more reading genres: Early Readers, Chapter Books, Graphic Novels, Classics and Audiobooks.

TumbleBooks full page

Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage for a TumbleBooks TumbleTour.

Please let us know what you think of our new ebook collection. If you have any questions, or would like a personalized tour from an IST librarian, please let us know.

The Goldilocks of All Databases – Just Right for pK-2

Students in grades 3 and up at IST learn to use different databases for their research. Many of these databases are for advanced studies in different disciplines and they can be hard to read for the younger elementary students.

One happy exception to this is Pebble Go, a database geared specifically to students from kindergarten to grade 2. PebbleGo has three collections: Social Studies, Earth & Space, and Animals. All collections are designed to support our young inquirers from preK to grade 3.

On Monday during their library session, kindergarten students saw a demonstration of PebbleGo to go with their new unit on the ocean. They are excited about visiting the database at home because it has language at their level, an easy-to-navigate interface and lots of interesting information about animals of all kinds.

To access PebbleGo, follow these steps.

1. Go to the library OPAC, and click on IST Library. (If at home, the link to the OPAC is

2. Log in with your personal account credentials or using our quick log in. You can find the quick login in your homework logs for grades 3 and up and on library bookmarks.

4. Scroll down the list of databases to PebbleGo. Make sure you take note of the username and password.

5. Click on the blue PebbleGo link. After you log in, select the Animals or the Earth & Space collections, then enjoy learning.

Need help? Come see us at the library.




Register for December 7 library database workshops

We are offering three short workshops on Wednesday, December 7 from 8:05 – 8:25 in the library. Please complete the form below if you would like to participate.

PowerSpeak Languages: We will have a basic introduction to this language-learning database which supports students of Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. We will learn to log in through the library OPAC, create a personal account and take a brief look at the Chinese-learning options.

Elementary Databases: We will look at 2 databases available for the elementary students through the library OPAC: Britannica Online Encyclopedia and Pebble Go. Come to see how you can support your child/ren’s inquiry with these two authoritative and accurate resources.

Secondary Databases: We will learn to access the library OPAC and 2 of the databases we subscribe to: ABC-CLIO and Facts-on-File. Come and familiarize yourself with the resources your child/ren are using for class work and research assignments.

Are there any other sessions you would like the library to offer? Please let us know.