Need to do Research? Use a Database!
A database is a collection of information, which you normally can’t get on the Internet. Sometimes the information is an electronic version of a book. Sometimes it’s information that you can’t get any other way.
A database might be
- A multimedia encyclopedia
- A collection of magazine articles
- Company information
- Articles from scholarly journals
- Maps and geographic information
- Biographies of famous people
- Genealogical information
- Information about your favorite author
- Or almost anything else!
Use the databases in the library or you can login with your library card number, and PIN from outside the library. Click on “description” next to each title, to learn more about that database, or click on the title to go to that database.
K-5th grade students may want to try the Library’s Resources for Elementary Grades (go to Search by Topic and scroll down to near the bottom of the page) to make doing homework fast and fun! These databases are design just for this age group!
For middle and high school students here are the top five library databases for homework help:
- Power Search – General OneFile (Gale) Audience: Everyone – Description: A huge collection of articles on all topics.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library Audience: Middle school through adult – Description: Biographies of people from ancient history to now. The information is drawn from 130 books published by Gale Group, from 265 magazines, and from Marquis’ Who’s Who. Find out about people by name, or by occupation, ethnicity or nationality. This is an electronic version of print resources, so this counts as a “book” for your bibliography.
- Opposing Viewpoints in Context Audience: Middle school to adult – Description: Find out about social issues, such as capital punishment and terrorism. The perfect tool for a homework assignment, or if you need to “one up” your brother-in-law at dinner next week. This information is drawn from the “Opposing Viewpoint” books, and from magazine articles, so this counts as a “print” source for your bibliography.
- Master File Premier – Audience: Middle school through adult – Description: Search for full-text articles from magazines and reference books on general, business, consumer health and general science topics.
- Science in Context Audience: Middle school through adult – Description: Provides information on all aspects of the scientific world and full text coverage for more than 60 of the most popular science publications. Includes Great Scientific Achievements of the 20th Century.
Quick Start Guides for Databases
Report and Research Guides For Students
- Fair Use Checklist
- How to Create a Debate Outline
- How to Write a Research Paper
- Writing a Mini Research Paper
- Understanding Basic Knowledge
- Problem Solving
- Analyzing Graphs & Chart
- Map Skills (last one in the list under Educator’s Resources)
- Creating a PowerPoint Presentation
- How to Cite Resources
- CultureGrams Learning Activity Model
How do I get the full-text of the article?
You successful find a citation for a magazine or newspaper article in one of the library’s databases and you’ve got to have the full text. What do you do?
Many of the databases index the same magazines. Some provide full-text of the articles and others do not. Here are some tips & tricks to find them:
- Check the Library’s Magazine List- this lists which libraries in LVCCLD have the print version of the magazine or journal.
- Check the Library’s Newspapers Subscriptions - this index lists which libraries in LVCCLD have the print version of the newspapers.
- The article maybe in another database. UNLV’s Journal Titles page may help location it in another LVCCLD database. Search for the Journal title, compare the databases listed with our Databases A-Z list.
- If all else fails do an InterLibrary Loan Request (ILL – Journal/Newspaper article request).
Help! My Teacher says I can’t use the Internet for my report.
Databases use the “Internet” as a way to get to the information, they are not the same as a Website. If your teacher states that you can only use one Internet source, the Library’s databases do not count as that Internet source. Here’s a letter that you can take to your teacher – Homework Help Letter to Your Teacher
The Library databases are made up of digitalized copies of books, magazines and newspaper. They have the exact same content as the paper copy so they are considered a print resource. You will need to cite any articles used out of them as an online. Look for citation help in the database, most of them provide it for you.
Google vs. Library Databases
Why should I use the Library’s databases instead of information found via an Internet search?
|Free Web||Library Databases|
|Shallow information on many topics||In-depth research on many subjects|
|Long, unorganized lists of links||Well-organized by topics|
|Often biased, unreliable, or inaccurate||Authoritative, accurate, checked by experts|
|Best information is proprietary and often fee-based to patrons||All database information free|
|Do-it-yourself searches only||Professional librarian assistance|