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Access and Use Library Databases

What are databases?

Bibliographic databases are online tools similar to internet search engines such as Google or Bing. Only instead of web pages, databases index journal articles, conference papers, book reviews, and other scholarly information. Some databases also index popular journals and news sources.

Why do I need to use them?

Databases provide access to scholarly material that can’t be found elsewhere. Journal articles are not usually freely available on the Internet, nor are they searchable in the Library Catalog.

There are so many databases, which one should I use?

Different databases contain information about different subjects. You should choose a database based on the subject of your research topic. You can find your subject databases from Research by Subject on the library website.

How do I search for articles?

The following steps will help you form effective searches:

  1. Identify Keywords: Brainstorm a list of words related to your topic. Think of as many synonyms for these words as you can. If the database has one, locate the thesaurus (sometimes called subject terms) link, and search the thesaurus for the standardized terms used in the database for your topic.
  2. Use the Boolean Search Operator (AND/OR) to connect your keywords. When used in search boxes, AND, OR and NOT will broaden or narrow your search. This is how it works.