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What is a database?

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2015  |  10001 Views

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A database is a searchable collection of information. In library research, a database is where you find journal articles. Each database contains thousands of articles which you can search for simultaneously and quickly to find articles with higher relevancy than searching in individual journals. Go to Databases A-Z, or Databases by subject.

Databases...

  • Can include journals, newspapers, magazines, reports, newsletters and more
  • Sometimes include books, but if you want books specifically, use the library catalogue
  • Can focus on one subject or be multidisciplinary
  • Often give you full text; others show only the abstract and citation
  • You can print, save, or email citations and, if available, the full-text article (in pdf format)
  • Might look different but have similar functions, like limiting to only peer-reviewed journals or searching by date. Check a database's help page for tips
  • May only contain a certain date range (you might miss some content)
  • Sometimes leave out article images; if you need to see an important photo or diagram, you will need to find the article in print
  • Can be used off campus, if you login with your netlink ID and password
  • Are also called subscription databases, online databases, article databases, and electronic resources

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