Database Basics Lake-Sumter Community College Libraries Leesburg Clermont Sumterville
Library research databases provide you with a wealth of information, like: <ul><li>Magazine and journal articles </li></ul><ul><li>Parts of or the entire text of books </li></ul><ul><li>Encyclopedia and dictionary entries </li></ul><ul><li>Audio and video files </li></ul>While the search screens for different databases may vary, they basically all function the same. This tutorial will show you features common to most databases. Once you have finished watching, you should be a more savvy database user!
Searching All databases have a place for you to enter words describing the kind of information you need. Look for a box where you can type in the keywords of your topic. The box could be labeled either Search or Find . Let’s take a look at three different databases to see where this is located.
This is Academic OneFile. It’s Find box is located here.
Here is Academic Search Complete. It’s Find box is located near the top of the screen as well.
Here is Academic Search Complete. It’s search box is near the top of the screen as well. Here is OmniFile Full Text Mega. Notice that it has more than one Find box.
Here is Academic Search Complete. It’s search box is near the top of the screen as well. That’s because we are looking at this database in the Advanced search mode where you have more options.
Limiting Most databases provide you with ways to limit the results of a search. Limiting makes going through your results a bit more manageable because you are filtering things out that may not be helpful to you. This tutorial will describe two ways to limit searches common to many databases: Limiting to full text and limiting to peer-reviewed journals. Let’s talk more about these two limiters and then we will look for them in our databases.
Limiting to Full Text Most databases will give you information in full text , meaning all of the original article, book, or item is in the database for you to use. However, many databases contain a mix of full text items and ones with just basic information, like where and when the item was published and an abstract (or summary) of it.
Limiting to Full Text Look for a check box or button for full text on the database screen. Marking it will return only full text items in your search results. Then you will be able to read and use anything in that list!
Limiting to Peer Reviewed Journals Peer review is a process where an author’s work is evaluated by a group of experts for accuracy and quality before it is published. Peer reviewed articles are published in journals, which are periodicals aimed at an academic audience. You are probably more familiar with magazines, which are general interest periodicals aimed at a broad audience. Examples are Time, Newsweek, and People. Magazine articles do not go through a peer review process. Many databases contain both types of articles.
Limiting to Peer Reviewed Journals Sometimes your instructor may ask you to find a peer-reviewed article, or you many have an assignment where you need more technical information. Most databases will allow you to limit to peer-reviewed material. Look for a check box or button to do this. Now, lets look for both of these limiters in our databases.
In Academic OneFile, our two limiters are right below the Find box.
In Academic Search Complete, they are in about the same place.
Here’s one hint. Notice how is says Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.
Scholarly is another way of saying peer reviewed.
Some databases may label this limiter only as Scholarly.
Just keep in mind that it does the same thing.
Here is Academic Search Complete. It’s search box is near the top of the screen as well. Finally, here are our two limiters in OmniFile Full Text Mega.