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ENGL 057 - Critical Connections in Reading and Writing - Felty: Articles

Why Not Just Google?

What Are Databases and Why You Need Them Transcript

Hello, I’m Bud, and I’m going to show you why you need library databases for research. By now almost everyone is familiar with searching the web. But have you ever stopped to think of what you’re searching? Google, Bing, and Yahoo only give you free access to what companies and people have made available to the public. This is great if you’re shopping or browsing movie trailers; but is limited when you need to find information for research. Unfortunately, unlimited access to reliable information is restricted because many publishers want to be paid. They won’t give free access to their copyrighted content. On the web, anyone can create a website on any subject whether they are an authority or not. No one is policing the web. This makes it hard to find credible information, which is important when you’re doing research. Also, search engines can give you millions of results for each search and only give you a few options to narrow it down. So it’s hard to scan the results and find the exact information you’re looking for. Now, let me tell you about databases. Databases allow you to find information not freely available on the web. They search thousands of articles and books. You can also find images, charts, and primary sources. Some cover a range of topics. Others are more focused on specific subjects such as literature, education, or controversial issues. You’ll want to choose a database based on your research topic. The articles in databases are from popular magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and encyclopedias. You’ll also find scholarly and peer-reviewed articles. They’ve been chosen because they are written by credible authors such as journalists, researchers, and experts in their fields. Just like when you search the web, you’ll still get lots of results. However, databases give you more control over your results with powerful search tools. Some will suggest additional keywords to use to narrow down your topic. You can further refine your results by limiting to a date range, publication type, and full text. Once you find a worthwhile article, a formatted citation is often available to copy and paste into your paper. Library databases are filled with credible content and give you powerful search tools to find relevant results. When you search a database instead of the web, you will spend less time searching and find better information to support your research.

Basic Database Searching

Controversial Topics Database

General Article Databases

These databases are great for finding newspaper, magazine and journal articles, and work well for almost all topics!