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Lancaster County CTC

What is a database?

A database is an organized collection of material that is generally stored and accessed electronically.  In many academic institutions, your tuition allows you access to this information, information that is not readily available to the general public.  As a student at the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, you have access to EBSCOhost, which is a database that is primarily a collection of online periodicals that allows you to search for articles and information relating to your research topic. Click the link below to be taken to the EBSCOhost Login page.

How To Search Our Databases (Video tutorials and quizzes)

Why Not Just Google?

Video Transcript

After watching this video you should have a good understanding of what a library database is, what is inside a library database, and even more importantly when you should use it. What is a database? To put it simply a database as a searchable collection of information. UTC library databases are searchable indexes of published reliable information. Google could be considered a database as well, it's searchable and it gives you a list of results. What's inside a library database? The UTC library subscribes to hundreds of databases and within them you'll see scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines images, and even video in some cases. The library databases are subscription-based which means the information often costs money. What you see in the library databases is often not available online for free. Library databases provide access to the highest quality information and have really excellent features. There's the ability to filter your results easily, and tools to generate citations for you to copy and paste into your works cited lists. Databases can be multi-subject and do a broad sweep of all academic disciplines. If you're just getting started our multi-subject databases would likely be your best bet. Databases can also be subject-specific and geared towards a certain field like education, nursing, or psychology. We purchase databases for large library vendors like ProQuest. Because of this you may notice that a lot of databases look the same even though you're in fact searching a different collection of information. You could think of this as a file cabinet where one drawer is "ProQuest" and each folder inside that drawer is a different database that you could search through. In Google you can easily find current events and news and it's also a great place to get background information on your topic. Google gives you access to government and organizational websites as well which can be crucial for researching on any topic. Of course, Google also gives us lots of results that have to do with shopping, blogs, and social media so it's important to always evaluate the sources you're looking at. The downside of using only Google for research is that what you see in Google results are what the publishers are putting out there for free you miss out on tons of great scholarship, popular news, and magazines that might be behind a paywall. Remember, publishers are always trying to make money. Google also lacks easy filtering tools and citation generators that the databases have. Here at UTC library, we advocate for students to think smart about their research: Do you need high quality peer-reviewed scholarly articles? Well, use the library databases. Do you need government data or current events news or just background information about your topic? Head on out to Google. As always, the librarians are here to help