Library 101: Library Databases

Posted on: Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 by Janet Kirby

Dates on the calendar are closer than you think!  Thanksgiving break is just around the corner and when we come back, there are only eight more days of regular classes.  Panic mode might be starting to set in about those final research papers and projects.  Here is a quick review of some of the Library’s online databases to help get you started on the awesome paper you know you have lurking inside.

For a basic overview of your subject try one of our reference databases such as Credo Reference, Gale Virtual Reference Library, or Oxford Reference Online.  These all offer cross-searching in hundreds of reference books covering a broad range of subjects.  For more subject specific reference materials try Oxford Art Online or Oxford Music Online.  Don’t forget to look at the bibliography or further readings at the end of the entries for more resources.

Biographical material can be found in Biography in Context.  You’ll get biographical information and facts, as well as more detailed materials broken down by material type (reference, news, magazines, academic journals, primary sources, or websites).  You can search for individuals by occupation, nationality, birth place, and place of death.  This database is useful for checking the credentials of your author when working on annotated bibliographies.

If you need full-text book reviews try JSTOR (for books older than 3-5 years) or Project Muse (for newer books).  Both databases have the option to limit your search results to just reviews.  These two databases work in tandem as Project Muse contains current issues of some of the JSTOR journals. Other databases that allow the user to limit by the document type “book review” include Academic Search Complete, General OneFile, and MasterFILE Premier.  And of course, these databases are also excellent resources for articles on your research topics.

Newspaper articles are available in America’s Newspapers, LexisNexis Academic, Factiva, or Newspaper Source Plus.  These databases provide access to hundreds of papers worldwide.  In America’s Newspapers you can also search for articles in specific states. If you know the newspaper, or journal, you want to search (but don’t know which database might have it) try the E-Journals by Title link on the main page of the library website.  Older newspaper articles can be found in America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1900 (Series 1 & Series 2)

If you are looking for the perfect image to enhance your research paper try ARTstor.  There are thousands of digitized images for topics including architecture, painting, photography, sculpture, decorative arts and design, as well as archeological and anthropological objects.

For help with deciding which of our electronic databases would be most useful for topics in specific subject areas look under Subject Resources on the Library webpage.  Electronic databases are listed as well as some of our print materials in the Reference Collection and selected internet resources.   We also have link on the library webpage Ask-A-Librarian where you can email for research help.

All of the databases mentioned in this article can be accessed through the A-Z Databases link on the Kelly Library website


And don’t forget the most important resource of all, your friendly reference librarian.  Librarians are here seven days a week and until 9PM Monday through Thursday. Call x6208, email .i8aEDWMgxG'ZL{z\/qof]#[j]~C.*6@Ik-dIcac@8WT\, or stop by the Circulation Desk to make an appointment for great personalized help.

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