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Intro to Databases: Home

What is a Database?

A database is a collection of information. In the case of a library subscription database, that information is usually in the form of articles.

Articles are usually originally published someplace else such as a

  • magazine
  • newspaper
  • scholarly journal

although sometimes they are written specifically for a database

Articles that appear in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journal all go through a review process before they are published. This is called an editorial process.

Articles are usually fact-checked

Editors also check the overall content and make recommendations for additions and other changes as well as considering the content of the entire publication and how stories are being covered.

Scholarly journals have an additional review process called peer-review.


Difference between Google and a Database

  Google Database
# of sources  As many as it can find  Limited to selected publications
Cost  Mostly paid for by advertising, often by collecting your personal information; some pay by article  Subscription – paid for by state, community college system, or Valencia
Searching  Natural language, i.e. can enter a phrase or question  Keyword, controlled vocabulary, and limiters – make take longer to learn
Intent  Connect you with information quickly  Give you a wide range of information on a topic
Critical Thinking Required  None in searching; a lot in evaluating which sources to use Some in both searching and evaluating which sources to use
Review process  Highly variable  Sources are reviewed


Why Use a Database?

  • To find credible information on a topic
  • To get access to articles that are not free online
  • To do research using a tool that is specific to your topic
  • To do research using a tool that is specially designed for student research
  • Because professors frequently require it

Interdisciplinary Databases

These databases cover a wide variety of subjects (or disciplines) and are a good place to start research. Examples are:


Login with Atlas username and password when prompted.

Search databases using keywords that describe the concepts, e.g. video games, children, violence

Searches can be limited to Full Text, meaning that all of the article descriptions you read will have a corresponding article available.

Limit by date or type of publication, such as magazine

West Campus Librarian

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.