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ENGL 101 English Composition 1 (Chase): Databases

This guide was created to help you with research in Elaine Chase's English 101

Video: What is a Database?

Source: "What are the library databases and which one should I use?" by NEIU Libraries, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Learn how to identify library databases and choose the appropriate database to use for your topic.

Features and uses

What is a database?

A great deal of research you will do in your academic career will be in databases.  

In today's technology-rich world, information is everywhere! While there is a great deal of things we can learn and information that we can access, quite literally at the touch of our fingertips, the truth is that not all (or even most) of our shared knowledge is digitized. And the information that is available electronically isn't always (or even often) freely available online. Because there is just so much information in our world today, databases are one way that people have decided to organize and structure information in a way that makes both finding it and accessing it a lot easier. 

Image source: "Db vs Google"McKillop Library is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Databases, on the other hand, are essential to the researcher (that's you!) because they are designed to deliver intelligently organized results. Databases are part of the "deep web." Information is stored, not just linked to, in databases by the use of subject headings that an author or editor has given to a set of documents. You can search by keywords as well, but tapping into or figuring out the controlled vocabulary or subject terms that the database uses to organize the information it holds can be very helpful. Databases are about access and you can think of them as storehouses of information that colleges and companies subscribe to. 

What are some benefits to using databases?

Databases are also essential because they:

  • Offer powerful search tools designed to help you organize your search results
  • Offer credible content that you can't often get freely (or at all) online
  • Offer more reliable information than many internet websites
  • Can allow the researcher to spend less time searching & evaluating sources
  • Often will create a citation for you