PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
The Ohio Public Library Information Network will be 13 years old this year.
Commonly called OPLIN, the network was established to connect Ohio's 251 public library districts with the Ohio Telecommunications Network.
OPLIN also provides shared databases of information to public libraries, as well as the citizens of Ohio.
On July 1, OPLIN opened its new database operations product, called "Ohio Web Library."
It manages the databases that our library system has purchased for public use, as well as the many databases that are available to the public online.
To access OPLIN's Ohio Web Library, go to our library web site at www.steubenville.lib.oh.us
If it is easier to remember, you can also go to www.steubenvillelibrary.com or www.steubenvillelibrary.org to access the same web site.
Ohio Web Library is on the right-hand side of the page.
Before you leave our web site's homepage, notice that our card catalog online remains front-and-center ready for you to access the 5.8 million items in 73 libraries in the system.
Various services offered online are also displayed on the homepage.
The first click on Ohio Web Library access the databases offered by our library system.
Those include various literature databases and "Price It!" an online search database for prices of antiques and collectibles.
The drop-down box in Ohio Web Library contains a complete list of the OPLIN Databases.
From that list, you can select a specific database, or proceed to the general searching box and let the system look at all databases for the desired information.
OPLIN's award-winning databases about tree identification, snake identification, and Exploring Ohio are contained on this page.
Many Ohio students have relied on these databases over the past decade to do homework assignments.
The often-reprinted "Tree Identification Guide" by Zim, copyrighted in 1956, has given way to the OPLIN Database to identify those trees for the fall leaf projects.
Ohio Web Library also links to a variety of excellent e-resources offered by a variety of government agencies.
The various OPLIN Databases provide simple and advanced searching of millions and millions of articles of information from newspapers, journals, speeches, and documents around the world.
Many are full-text and can be downloaded, e-mailed, or sent to electronic systems at home and work for personal use.
To use these resources, all that is needed is a little library card from your local library.
OPLIN knows that you are part of the larger Ohio public library network.
The advantage of all of this information is that it is online and available anyplace, it has been sorted, compiled, and edited to be quality information for you.
And all you need is that library card.