Skip to Main Content

Library Exploration 2023: 4. Library Databases

Why Databases?

What are Library Databases, and Why should you use them?

Library Databases are subscription collections  (i.e. things that we pay money to access) of research sources including: Periodical (Magazine, Newspaper, Trade Journal, Scholarly Journal) articles, electronic Reference Books,  Images, Videos, Primary Documents and more.

So why do we pay for them when Google and the Web exist?

  1. The vast majority of their content is NOT freely available elsewhere.  You can't find it on the web (legally) for free, or just by web search engines (like Google).
  2. All of the content comes from known, reputable, sources.  While you still need to evaluate what you read based on currency, bias, audience, purpose, type, etc.  You will always be able to identify the original source.  None of it is Fake, or intentionally misleading for economic or political gain. All of it has been through some sort of editorial process or oversight.
  3. They offer additional features  that add value to the information including citation help, intentional selection and grouping of sources by topic, links to more related resources, easy google-drive access, powerful advanced search filtering, etc.

Why So Many?

Gale? Ebsco? ProQuest? Huh?

Databases are like streaming video services:  Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, etc. all are services that let you stream and watch movies and TV shows. They don't all have the same content though, and some have exclusive programming.   Databases are the same way:  they cover different books and magazines.   

Gale, Ebsco, and ProQuest are three different database companies. We have multiple databases from each.