A library database is a searchable online catalog that contains information about published items, including articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers as well as reference information, books and other documents.
Databases contain premium content that is not freely available on the internet. The library pays for subscriptions to these resources, unless they are open access (see "What is Open Access?" to the right).
Watch this five minute video tutorial to learn more: Researching 101: Databases
General interest databases are a great place to begin your research. They contain the broadest range of materials and include many different subjects and types of publications. Examples of general interest databases include:
These databases contain articles that appear in journals from major scholarly publishers in a particular field. Examples include:
Indexes do not provide full text (but they may link to it), and they contain powerful searching features like the ability to find all the articles an author has cited, and articles that have cited that author. They are useful tools when investigating journal rankings and conducting citation analysis. Examples of indexes include:
These databases contain full text of e-books which you can read online and in some cases download and print sections. Examples include:
Find out more in our E-books Guide.
These databases provide reference information (facts, statistics, equations, background information). They can cover a wide area of subject matter, like encyclopedias, or they can focus on a field like engineering. Examples include:
Databases provide citation information about the items they index. A citation typically consists of:
Some databases also provide abstracts of the items they index. An abstract is a brief summary of the article.
Some provide the full text (the entire article or book) for items they index.