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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

Logging in

The databases listed on this page require a login. For access:

  1. Go to your Atlas account and log in.
  2. Click on the Search the Library link, under the "Courses" tab.
  3. On the page that follows, click Databases A-Z or Databases by Subject.
  4. Click on the name of the database, e.g. Academic Search Complete.

Note: If you do not access this guide through Atlas, you will be prompted for a Borrower ID and PIN when you click on the links to the databases

  • Your Borrower ID is the number is your VID card, including the 'V'
  • Your PIN is the last four digits of your VID

 

Interdisciplinary Databases

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

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

Beth King's picture
Beth King
Contact:
West Campus 6-326J
407-582-1854