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English 101 Fall 2017: Library Databases

Tips for Searching

database meme

• Jot down good search terms or “keywords” before you search

• Use library databases, not search engines, to locate journal and newspaper articles

• Use search engines to locate “up to the minute” information or “breaking news”

• Search with multiple terms (though not more than three or four) rather than a single word

• Remind yourself from time to time: Where am I? How did I get here? What am I looking for?

• Use the Find command or Ctrl + F to locate a term within a website

Keyword Searching

Video: What Are Databases and Why You Need Them

Why Use Library Databases?

What is a Database?
 

The Albright College Library offers access to subscription databases. These databases generally give you easy access to magazine, newspaper, and journal articles. Most of these will be "full text" which means you get the complete article. They are called subscription databases because the Library subscribes, or pays money, in order to access them. 

Why use a database?
 

There are advantages to using library research databases compared to the web.   Databases are more focused and tailored to meet student's needs.   The information tends to be:  

  • Stable--if you found it once you can find it again. 
     
  • Reliable-most information in databases is based on a print resource and has gone through a review process.  Anyone can publish to the web.
     
  • Precise--you can refine your search to get close to the material you need.  Compare searching 50 articles relevant to your search to 50 million from the Web.

    In short, you should use library databases in order to quickly find relevant scholarly information that you can use in research papers or other course projects. We also have several library databases that include music, videos, and art!  Take a look and you're sure to find something that relates to you!

Library databases:

Websites:

  • get their information from professionals or experts in the field.
  • can be written by anyone regardless of expertise.
  • contain published works where facts are checked.
  • content is not necessarily checked by an expert.
  • are easy to cite in a bibliography and may create the citation for you.
  • often don't provide the information necessary to create a complete citation.
  • can help you narrow your topic or suggest related subjects.
  • often aren't organized to support student research needs.
  • are updated frequently and include the date of publication.
  • may not indicate when a page is updated.