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Workshop: Beyond Google--Intro to Library Database Searching

What is in a database?

Databases give you the information needed to find the article

  • Citation – although the index may not contain the article itself, the citation will provide information that you need to find the article.
  • Abstract – It may also include an abstract or summary of the article’s content.
  • Full text – sometimes an index will link to the complete text of an article.

Why do you use a database?

A database will show you which periodicals have articles that match your search terms. Otherwise, you would have to look through each issue of each periodical for articles on your topic. Some databases also include books, or references to books, conference proceedings, and other types of reports. Sometimes the databases include the full text of the source referenced.

Which database should I use?

Is your topic general, cross-disciplinary, or currently in the news?

Then use General Article Indexes like Academic Search Premier and Lexis Nexis. These cover a wide variety of subjects and include a mixture of newspapers, popular magazines, and scholarly journals.

Is your topic in a particular subject area? 

Then use a subject index which specialize in a particular subject, the articles are generally from scholarly peer reviewed sources.Examples are IEEE (Engineering), Avery Index (Architecture), and Business Source Premier (Business & Management).  See the NJIT Library Database page, and click on a subject for recommendations.

What are periodicals?

Periodicals are publications issued at regular intervals, such as newspapers, magazines, and journals.

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