Natural curation by educators & librarians ensures only appropriate content is included for each audience; EBSCO enabling features to give more content control to libraries
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) creates and offers nearly 400 databases, each designed to support research and learning for a specific audience or in specific areas of study. Users range from school age to advanced degree professionals and researchers. We play a significant role in ensuring that the databases used offer the best materials to support the intended audience. The basic criteria governing content inclusion decisions for schools is the assurance that the materials are educational, age appropriate (in reading level and context), support curriculum requirements, and are applicable to the subjects taught at specific grade levels.
Our Content Selection Process
In selecting content for specific databases, we utilize publication subscription information, various sources of title level reviews, notable rankings, Lexile® measurement of text and staff review of each publication. We discuss content needs and inclusion with those directly teaching and assisting students, customer focus groups and advisory boards and we engage in broad market research. The amount of available information from these reviewed publications is vast. We find it important to employ various filters, human curation and technology such as algorithms. This helps further inform decisions for inclusion of content within our databases appropriate for use by children. This is a continual process with increasingly-elevated scrutiny.
EBSCO is very considerate of issues pertaining to censorship and always remains neutral on topics; the content provided in our databases does not reflect EBSCO positions or opinions.
What Our Customers Need to Know & the Controls You Have
We consistently ensure content in our K-12 products is age appropriate. However, we understand that opinions may differ on specific topics, such that a given article or magazine may be perfectly acceptable and appropriate content for one school, but may not be for another. With this in mind, EBSCO databases have built-in controls that allow each school/library to make content inclusion decisions independently — above and beyond the level of curation done by EBSCO. The following is information that each school/library should know related to content configuration and control:
At the Database level – In many cases, a K-8 school, for example, may be part of a larger group (a district, consortium or statewide scenario) that has gained access to a number of different databases designed for the different audiences comprising the group (universities, public libraries, schools, etc.). While the K-8 school is entitled to access/use the databases intended for the other entities, there may be content within those other databases that is designed for a more mature audience. Schools must be mindful to ensure that only the appropriate databases are included in the profiles that students are directed to use. This tends to be the most common reason that a school may find content that it could deem inappropriate for its students. EBSCO can help you to navigate these decisions.
At the Publication Level – For decades, EBSCO has provided the control for each customer to exclude any publication completely from a given database. Again, while we believe that our curation/selection process is very strong, we provide the mechanisms for each library to remove any given title as it sees fit. Using the publication exclusion feature will ensure that all articles from the selected publications never appear.
At the Issue Level – As part of our increased effort to support customer choice, we are currently working on a feature that will allow each library to determine if a given issue from a publication is appropriate. Schools can choose to exclude the issue while the remainder of articles from other issues of the same publication continue to be available to users. We will inform customers when this feature becomes available in the coming months.
At the Article Level – To provide the most detailed level of content control to each customer, we are working to enable a feature that will allow for the removal of content at the article level. This means that a school/library can decide to keep any/all issues from a given publication, but exclude a specific article or articles from appearing to users. We will inform customers when this feature becomes available in the coming months.
Ultimately, we seek to provide the best, most appropriate, educational materials to our customers and their students, while providing controls that allow customers to make the final decisions as to what is right for their school community. EBSCO’s intention is to do what is right for our customers, and in particular, the young students who use our databases. We hope that you find this helpful and supportive to your specific needs.