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InfoBits: Databases

What You'll Learn

InfoBits - Build your research skills

  • The benefits of using databases over searching the web
  • Database search features

Important Terms

Off-Campus Access

When prompted to login, use your YC username and password.

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Save Time

noteKeep track of your resources right from the start. If you don't, it may be challenging to refer back for more information or for citing and creating your bibliography.

For each resource, record the:

  • Article title
  • Publication or book title
  • Database or website name
  • Date, page numbers, etc. 

Beyond Google--Why Use Library Databases?

Databases - Beyond Google - why use library databases?.

Searching the Internet is so easy, but:

  • The results aren't organized in the most helpful manner
  • Finding quality information is a challenge
    • anyone can put up a website
  • It's difficult to find peer-reviewed articles
  • Not all websites are updated regularly
  • Websites change or disappear
    • retrieving the content later may be impossible
  • Some websites cost money to access

Library databases are a better way to search to:

  • Find quality information
  • Locate articles by subject, author, title, publication, or date
  • Limit results to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles
  • Combine search terms for better results
  • Discover terms to search with
  • Find updated information
  • Retrieve articles later
    • most material remains in the database
  • Cite your sources
    • many contain a citation tool to assist you
  • Save time
  • Save money--they're free for students, staff & faculty!

What Are Library Databases?

A library database is an organized, online collection of searchable information.  It can contain citations, articles, text, books, images, etc.  We're focusing on article databases.  

Articles are selected by the database company to meet certain criteria. Some databases cover a wide variety of topics while others are subject specific. Most contain a high number of full-text articles available for printing, emailing, or saving.

Watch the What Are Databases and Why You Need Them video on this page to learn more about the benefits of using databases over searching the web.

Search Techniques

Articles are found by entering search terms in a search box.  Some databases give you alternate search terms to use or subjects to explore. All of them give a variety of search techniques to use to improve your results:

  • Broadening or narrowing your terms
  • Keyword vs. subject searching
  • Basic search vs. advanced search
  • Combining terms
  • Using quotation marks around an exact phrase
  • Searching by a date range, for a specific publication, and for scholarly/peer-reviewed articles
  • Find full-text articles only

The Searching Databases video explains different ways databases can be explored to find better resources.

What Are Databases and Why You Need Them

Searching Databases

Specific Types of Documents

Several of the library's databases offer the ability to search for:

  • Case Studies 
  • Editorial cartoons  
  • Images
  • Interviews
  • Peer-reviewed articles
  • Reports
  • Reviews (film and product)

Look on the Advanced Search screen in a database to see if it allows these types of searches.