Another round of analogies came up in a recent listserv discussion. I really liked this idea to visually demonstrate the differences among databases.
"This is not an analogy for the entire process, but I use the "M&M" analogy to explain to undergraduates why they need to use multiple databases. I have three containers (glass jar, plastic container, and a ziplock bag). They all have brown M&Ms, but each also has another color. I explain that all our business (or whatever) disciplines have some of the same articles (eg: brown M&Ms), and you'll see those same results in each database. But! Each database also has unique results that aren't in other databases, so you have to check each one. Also, notice that each container is different? This one is easier to open, this one to store, etc. Likewise, you'll notice that each database has different tool and features that you might like better than the others. Then, we all eat the candy. -Nom. :)" -Tammy Ivins, Francis Marion University
I think I might use this with English II's to start talking about subject specific databases. Especially since brown is a great color to symbolize all the disciplines smooshed together (like if you smoosh all the colors together, it usually makes brown...too deep??).