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Essential Information for Successful Database Searching: Home

Databases and Indexes

Use the Databases page on the University Libraries' website to choose a database.   Or click on the link below.

Database Searching Introduction

Databases are used to find very specific information on your topic.   They index articles, documents, book chapters and other information on specific and general subjects.   Databases can lead you to articles and other information resources that are published.  These resources may or may not be in the University Libraries.  However, if you find an information resource that is not available in the library, you can ask the library to obtain it for you through the interlibrary loan service.   Use a database to efficiently find journal articles on your topic.

Database FAQ

  • You can access databases from the  Databases Link on the University Libraries Website.
  • Databases are made up of records and fields
  • A record contains information about one item.  That item could be a book, a chapter, an article, a document or a web site.
  • A field is the part of a record that contains information about one aspect of the item.  Some common fields are the title field,the author field, the abstract, the publication date field and the subject or descriptor field.
  • The subject field is also known as the subject heading or descriptor field.  This field is made up of controlled vocabulary which are terms or phrases that have been selected to described the concepts covered in an item.
  • Databases usually have unique controlled vocabulary.   Try to use each database's vocabulary to efficiently access all of the available information on your topic.
  • Some databases will allow you to search their controlled vocabulary in a thesaurus.
  • If the database that you are using does not have a thesaurus, examine the subject or descriptor field to determine the specific terms used by the database to cover your topic.
  • Boolean Operators are used when you want to narrow or broaden the results of your search

And, Or and NOT (Boolean Operators)

The Boolean Operators, And, Or and Not, are used to communicate your results preferences to the database.   There are many guides on using Boolean Operators available online.  Here are some links:

Subject Guide