This guide is based on the Information Literacy Tutorial from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Information Literacy Tutorial by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Based on a guide at guides.library.uwm.edu.
|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.