The Original Database:
(Photograph from Cornell University Library)
Did you know that the East Lansing Public Library has many different databases to help you with your research?
This blog series will outline the types of databases that we offer, what they are used for, and basic techniques for searching the databases.
Databases are essentially collections of electronic documents that are all centered on a series of subjects. These subjects can range from fiction books to job opportunities and can also include medical databases, as well as other areas of scholarly inquiry.
If you want to go to the database section of our website right away, please click here.
(These databases are also accessible through elpl.org. Just click on the "Research" tab at the top of the page, and then click on the "Alphabetical list of all databases.")
Why Should We Use Databases?
Quality of Information
Many people use databases because they generally contain more accurate information than the results of a simple Google search. Search engines (like Google) that search the web generally return both high and low quality information sources, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. Databases, on the other hand, have their information checked by professionals and have access to higher quality material than Google. After all, not everything is on Google, and oftentimes the highest quality information isn't available through either Google or Google Scholar.
When searching for information, it is a good idea to check as wide a variety of sources as possible. Databases are useful collections of high-quality sources, and using databases when conducting your research means that you will be more likely to find accurate information. (Of course, another way to distinguish between sources is to use source-criticism techniques, but that is a subject for a future blog.)