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CIST-605: Information Sources and Services: Research Guides

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Database descriptions

Database descriptions

Good database descriptions should:

  • Help a user make a decision as far as whether or not to use the resource.
  • Make it succinct and easy to read/scan for the user to make an informed decision.
  • Use active voice, as if you were speaking to the user directly.
  • Be short—one sentence is usually best. It is a fun challenge!

 

Things to include

Include information that will help users decide whether the database fits their needs:

  • Type of material (format), such as articles, books, ebooks, images, streaming content, etc.
  • Date range covered (usually)
  • Anything unique about it; such as:
    • Relationship with a professional association
    • Titles included (probably no more than 5)
    • If it is citations/abstracts only (not full-text)
    • open-access content (partial or full)
       
  • Its strengths and what it’s most useful for, such as:
    • Topics included, such as gender studies, business, life sciences (probably no more than 6, choose top 5 if possible)
    • Types of materials included, such as films, images, newspapers (probably no more than 6)
    • Helpful & unique search features included, such as the ability to search for play scripts by number of speakers or the ability to limit to NAICS code“Complete” for full-text (if it’s unclear)
    • If a database is available on two platforms, include a Tip: on an advantage for each platform that would help a user select one.
      • Example: Tip: On this platform, you may filter your search results by education level (higher education, elementary, secondary) and target audience.
  • Its audience, when distinct (such as medical professional vs. consumer)
     

Things to exclude

Do not include information that is irrelevant to users or that will be out of date before we know it:

  • Number of articles or journal titles included, this may change frequently
  • Format types, if they tend to change frequently
  • Date last updated
  • Date range, if it may change frequently
     

Examples

Dissertations & Theses: Global 

Alternative Name(s) & Keywords: Dissertations & Theses - Full Text (ProQuest)

Find doctoral dissertations and master's theses from universities and institutions all around the world.

 

ERIC (via ProQuest) 

Alternative Name(s) & Keywords: Education Resources Information Center, ERIC via ProQuest

Find full text articles and citations for journals, books, conference and policy papers, curriculum guides, and dissertations in all areas of education. Available on the ProQuest platform.
Tip: On this platform, you may filter your search results by education level (higher education, elementary, secondary) and target audience.

 

Index Chemicus

Offers structures and critical supporting data for novel organic compounds reported in leading international journals. Part of the Web of Science Core Collection.