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English 201

Selecting a Database

Research Database

A "research database" is an electronic resource that is designed to help you find information by providing citations for articles, books, etc. It may provide abstracts (summaries) and  may provide access to the full item (full-text of article, book, etc.).   

Publishers of these databases attempt to select the most useful items to be included -- based on the intended users and their purposes.

  • A periodical index or database is a database that provides access to articles in periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers).  The publisher indexes a group of periodicals that are appropriate for the target audience of the index.

  •  A library catalog is a database that provides access to books, videos, software and other materials that are owned by (or accessible from) a library or group of libraries.  The items in the library are selected to meet typical needs of the library's users.

The library subscribes to a large number of databases each with different materials. When choosing a database to use, you must consider if it has resources related to your:

  • Topic (general/specialized)
  • Level of material (popular/scholarly)
  • Kind of material (article/conference)
  • Time period covered

To help you choose the best database to use, try the Database by Subject Link.

Karl E. Mundt Library, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota 57042
605-256-5203