Discover Databases!

What are databases?

Simply put, library databases are searchable collections of digital information, including e-reference books, encyclopedia articles, images, and especially academic journals and other periodicals.

  • Databases are usually comprised of digitized print materials. This means that the information originally appeared in a book, a newspaper, or academic journal.

  • The information in databases is usually NOT available on the free web (which means you can't use Google to find it).

  • Databases cost money. The SVS Library subscribes to several databases that support our middle school and high school curriculums. Also, the Connecticut Digital Library provides more than 30 databases for use by Connecticut citizens through a service called ResearchIT CT.

Why use databases?

Click on the image to the left to read about the reasons students should use databases when conducting academic research.

What databases are available to you?

The SVS Library subscribes to more than 30 databases. To access our databases, click on the "A-Z Databases" link on the SVS Library home page.

Databases are listed by content area. When doing research, it is important that you choose the most appropriate database for your information need. Sometimes, it makes sense to look at general periodicals; other times you need to use a specific content-area database, such as Salem Literature Library for a Language Arts assignment or Science Reference Center for the latest science news.

What are periodicals?

A periodical is something that comes out... PERIODICALLY.

Periodicals are items that are produced and published every day or week or month or quarter or year and so on. There are three major categories of periodicals: scholarly journals, popular magazines/newspapers, and trade magazines. When conducting research, it is important that you distinguish between these categories. This chart from North Carolina State University explains the differences.

A periodical is something that comes out... PERIODICALLY.

Periodicals are items that are produced and published every day or week or month or quarter or year and so on. There are three major categories of periodicals: scholarly journals, popular magazines/newspapers, and trade magazines. When conducting research, it is important that you distinguish between these categories. This chart from North Carolina State University explains the differences.

What are the differences between magazines and scholarly journals?

What is peer review?

Peer review is the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field. The videoclip to your left provides a quick explanation about how the peer review process works.

How can I use databases to locate the information I need?

The SVS Library subscribes to more than 50 print periodicals, including popular magazines, newspapers, and even some trade journals, but compared to a database, our physical library holds very little. HUNDREDS of journals with THOUSANDS of articles are accessible through our online databases. In order to find the specific information you need in this sea of information provided by databases, you will need to refine your searches by a variety of criteria: date, related subjects, document type, etc.

Watch the following video for more information on how to effectively use databases.

How do I cite a database article?

A citation provides your reader with the information that is necessary to locate that source independently. A citation includes the author's name, the title of the work, the name and location of the publisher, the publication date, the page numbers of the material you are using, the type of media being used, and the date you accessed the information (if found online).

There are many citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). At Shepaug, we use the MLA style for most courses. In AgSTEM, APA style is used.

Note: A web address (URL) is NOT a citation.

One of the advantages of using databases for research is that citations are provided for all articles. Always look for a Cite or Citation button or tab somewhere on the page. When researching your own topic, be sure to choose the MLA citation, then copy and paste it into NoodleTools.

Congratulations! You have completed today's database tutorial. Now, you are ready to start using databases to find information on your topic. Please be sure to ask your librarian for assistance in effectively using databases and for tips and tricks for successful searching.