Search Databases?

Use Communication & Mass Media Complete?

Use EBSCOhost?

Use EJournal? 

Use Emerald?

 Use IEEE?


Use SpringerLink?

 What are databases?


The most reliable and comprehensive place to look for academic, quality journal articles is a bibliographic database. Some also include conference papers, technical reports, book chapters, standards, etc. Most databases restrict themselves to particular subject areas or particular types of publication (e.g. theses). Different databases will cover a different range of journals, so for a thorough search you may well have to use more than one database.
You can search databases by keywords, authors and subjects. The database will provide you with a list of results that match your search terms.  Each result will include an abstract (summary) and full details of where the article has been published.  Some databases offer a link out to the full-text if the Library has a subscription to the journal.
Once you have found the details of some relevant publications, you need to check the library catalogue to see if we have a copy. The catalogue contains both print and online material. If not, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan. They will find a library that stocks that item and borrow it or photocopy it for you.

Type of Databases

Databases can be organized by the scope of the information they contain. Being aware of what this scope is can be helpful in selecting a database to begin your information search.
  • General interest databases include information from several different subject areas and disciplines.
  • Discipline-specific databases include information for several related subject areas.
  • Subject-specific databases focus on providing information for one particular subject.

General Interest Databases

General interest databases are a great place to begin research or for a general topic. These databases contain the broadest range of materials and include many different subjects and disciplines. Examples of general interest databases include:
  • ProQuest Central - Identifies magazine and journals articles in most subject areas including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.
  • Infortrac - This multi-disciplinary database provides access to over 200 journals, with links to full text for over half of the journals.

Discipline-Specific Databases

Discipline-based databases are more focused then general interest databases. These databases include materials in several related subject areas. Materials are usually only from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. If you are having trouble finding information on your topic in general interest databases, try a discipline-based database.
  • ProQuest Central - ProQuest Central is the largest multidisciplinary database with over 12,665 titles, with over 9,745 titles in full-text
ScienceDirect''''s extensive and unique full text database covers authoritative titles from the core scientific literature, including high-impact factor titles such as THE LANCET, Cell and Tetrahedron.
Subject-Specific Databases
If you are doing in-depth research on a topic, you will want to use subject-specific databases. These databases usually only contain materials from professional/trade publications and scholarly/academic journals. Below are some examples, but a list of all available subjects can be viewed on the Online Research Resources page.
  • ABI/Complete - Identifies articles on business, finance, and management topics from regional, U.S. and international publications.
  •  Accounting & Tax Comprehensive coverage of accounting and tax topics appearing in key industry publications and newspapers.
How Databases and Search Engines Differ

  • Purchased by the library.
  • Content is reviewed and recommended by librarians.
  • Information is organized.
  • Information is stable.
Search Engines
  • Free to anyone with computer access.
  • No review standards with regard to content.
  • Information is not organized.
  • Information is not stable; locations and content continually change.


· What is a database?

A database is a collection of information in electronic format that is organized in a manner that allows a user to easily retrieve information about its individual entries. Databases are usually collections of journal and magazine articles, dissertations, reviews, and abstracts.
A database consists of individual records. Each record contains all of the information in the database for an individual item, which provides a brief description of that item.
Each record is composed of fields. A field defines the individual elements of each record.

· Why use a database?

Using a database allows users to search for information in an organized collection. The user benefits from this organization because it provides more relevant results, through the use of subject headings and descriptors. Users can also search for keywords in specific fields, such as author and title, and limit their results using various criteria. Databases also provide information in known sources, for example, printed magazines and journals. The content of databases has undergone a review process and the information is more reliable than information found on the Internet. Often databases provide access to full-text magazine and journal articles.

· What are some examples of databases?

Samples of databases include ProQuest, American Society of Civil Engineers.  ScienceDirect,  and Emerald A more comprehensive list of databases can be found on the Library homepage under Articles & Databases. ,

Search engines

· What is a search engine?

A search engine is a service that utilizes a computer program to search the Internet and identify items that match the characters and keywords entered by a user.

· Why use a search engine?

Search engines are useful for finding information on organizations, groups, and personal web pages related to a topic. They can also be used for finding articles, but it can be difficult to narrow down results, find relevant material, and assess the legitimacy of information found on the Internet. It is especially important to be wary when using Internet sources, as there is are no quality control mechanisms that varify the validity of information on individual web pages.

· What are some examples of a search engine?

Examples of search engines include Google , Yahoo , and Dogpile .
See our Subject Guides for recommended research databases in different topic areas.