So what is a database?
It is an organized collection of information that allows a user to search for a particular topic, article, or book. You can search for these in a variety of ways, for example, with keywords, subject, author, or title.
Information found through internet search engines such as Google are free, but the best information is costly. The library pays a fee to database providers for scholarly peer-reviewed articles.
Here's an excellent video created by librarians from North Carolina State University that discusses evaluating resources.
NCSU Libraries video
Shared by North Carolina State University with a Creative Commons license.
|Use Library Databases When:||Use The Internet When:|
|You need peer-reviewed articles||You are willing to evaluate the content of websites. If so, view the Be Your Own Fact Checker guide as a reference.|
|You want to save time searching for your topic, using filters and Boolean searches||You want to access information available on government (.gov) websites|
|You want to save time looking for the citation information of an article, the author etc.||You want to access commercial/business (.com) websites|
|You don't want information in a database to disappear overnight like it can on the internet||You want to find information on associations, organizations, or groups, or personal web pages related to your topic|
|You are looking for encyclopedia overviews of your topic||You don't mind viewing advertisements|
When should I use a database, and when should I use a search engine?
It depends on the type of information you need.
• If you want to know how depression affects self-care in diabetes patients, your best option is to use a library database.
• If you want data from the most recent Census, using a search engine to find the appropriate government website will work.
Created by Marla Turgeon