Databases are simply specialized search engines. Instead of searching the web, like Google, the Library’s databases search carefully selected collections of scholarly journals, newspapers, popular magazines, image libraries, and film collections.
To access the Library’s databases, click on the “Articles & More” icon on the Library’s home page:
This will take you to an alphabetical list of all of the Library’s databases. Now what?
Choosing a Database
Academic Search Premier is almost always a good starting point. It covers nearly every subject imaginable and has full-text content from about 6,000 journals. (To put that into context, the Library has “only” about 200 print journals on its shelves!).
CQ Researcher or Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Both of these databases focus on current issues facing American society. Both provide in-depth analysis of the issues with many links to additional resources, like newspaper and magazine articles, websites, and even some academic journals. They are good resources if your topic deals with a current issue, like the impact of technology on reading.
Searching a Database
Because databases are more sophisticated search engines than Google, they reward more sophisticated search techniques. Use these search tips to craft searches that will help you find relevant, useful results.
After you search a database, you get back a list of results. What, exactly, are you looking at?
Take a look at the example below, from Academic Search Premier.
#1, highlighted in green, is the title of the article.
#2, highlighted in yellow, are the article’s authors.
#3, highlighted in pink, is the information about the journal – the journal title, the date of publication, and the number of pages and graphics present in the article.
To get the full-text of this article, you’d just click on the “HTML Full Text” or “PDF Full Text” links at the bottom of the citation.
Sometimes in a database, you will see this icon at the bottom of a result citation:
This means that the full-text of this particular article is not available in the database you’re using. The database is telling you that this article exists but that you’ll have to get it somewhere else. If you click on this “Link to Full Text” button, it will search all of the Library’s other online databases to see if we have an online copy of the article. If not, it will direct you to request the article through Interlibrary Loan, a service where we will borrow the article from another library for you. It can take anywhere from 12 hours – 5 days to get an article through Interlibrary Loan, so plan accordingly if you need to request materials.
Most databases link to the full text of the article with an icon like the one below (this example is from Academic Search Premier). Simply click on the link to access and print the full text of an article:
If you see the icon below, it means that the full-text of that article isn’t available via the database you’re in. When you click on this icon, it will check other library databases to see if we have the content online.
If we don’t have it online, you will have the option of making an Interlibrary Loan request (see image below), which means we will try to get the article from another library for you. However, it may take 2-7 days for the article to come in.
If you don’t have much time and only want to see items that are immediately available, you can limit your search to only full text articles to exclude items that aren’t immediately available. This example shows the full text check box in Academic Search Premier. Most of the Library’s databases have a similar search feature.