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How to Search Madigan Library Databases: What is a library database?

What is a library database

Woman screamingWhen we refer to Library Databases we are mostly talking about an online collection of articles, statistics, law cases or other kinds of information. The majority of the content in our Library Databases is not freely available to the public.

Libraries pay for them so students can have access to full text of articles, images, maps, etc. that are good quality information. Articles can be printed, downloaded or emailed.

You can find all the Madigan Library's databases either in an alphabetical list, which is good if you know the database you want to use, or in a subject list, which helps you find all the databases we have in one particular subject area.

Google vs. Databases

Kirk and Picard

Or "Why can't I just search Google?"

The Internet is a good place for a lot of searches, for example, if you want to find out when the next full moon occurs. However, for college level research, a library database is better . Not only will it save you time, but you will get better quality information. Here's why:

  • The information or articles you find in databases have generally appeared in print in a reputable journal or book or have been created by experts in the field. These resources are not considered the same as regular websites or wikipedia entries that anyone can put on the internet.

  • Not everything is freely available on the net. You may find a citation for an article that is just what you are looking for, but Google can't provide you with the full text of the article. The majority of our databases are filled with full text articles that the library pays to provide.

  • The library has access to over 16,000 journals, magazines and periodicals in our databases, with many features to help you find what you need fast. Most of these features, such as providing citations and linking to "more like this" are not available on websites.

Using databases to help find a topic

Some of the library databases can help you find and choose a topic.

These databases will often present articles, videos and other information all in one place under 1 subject.

Rather than knowing a topic and then searching for information about it, these databases present the topics to you and then give you all the information about that topic.