Why Use Library Databases

Why use databases instead of the Internet?

While there are newspapers and other services, like Google Scholar, available free online, the library databases are services to which we pay to have access. Most of the articles contained in the library databases cannot be found through a search engine.

What is a library database?

A library database is an organized collection of electronic information that allows a user to search for a particular topic, article, or book in a variety of ways (e.g., keyword, subject, author, title). Library databases contain thousands to millions of records or articles. Some databases contain the full-text of articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers as well as books while other databases contain only citations - or - citations & abstracts. A database can be multidisciplinary (cover a variety of topics) or subject specific (e.g., business, health). Library databases can be accessed from off-campus by logging in with your MyReynolds account and are available 24/7.

What's wrong with just Googling it?

There's nothing wrong with using Google or another search engine to find information on the web. Just keep in mind that most of the information retrieved from the open web hasn't been evaluated. It could be inaccurate, biased, or it might not be current. Also, the authors of web sites might not have the same credentials as the authors of articles found in the library databases. You will need to more carefully evaluate information retrieved on the open web. All of the articles found in the library databases have already been evaluated for accuracy and credibility by discipline-specific experts and publishers.

How do I access and use the library databases?

The library databases can be accessed from the library's home page by clicking on Databases A-Z or Databases by Subject under the Find Information section. If you are accessing the databases from off-campus, you will be prompted to login with your MyReynolds username and password. If you need help in using the databases, schedule a one-on-one research consultation with a librarian or sign up for a free library workshop.

My instructor told our class we can?t use any (or only a few) Internet sources. Can I still use the library databases?

Yes. Library databases use the Internet as a delivery system but they are not considered the Internet. In most cases, your instructor means that they don't want you using web sites or web pages found on the open web through Internet search engines such as Google. Most of the published resources found in the library databases are not available on the open web. Always clarify with your instructors what they actually mean when the class is told no (or few) Internet sources.