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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 6
LIBRARY DATABASES
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image of a computer   Library Databases are online indexes that can be searched to locate article citations (publication information), article abstracts, and full text articles. Other types of documents (e.g. book reviews, government documents, reports, research studies, etc.) are also available through databases.

Some databases are general and cover many subjects (for example, Academic Search Premier), while others are subject-specific (for example, Business and Company Research Center). Tarleton libraries' Guide to Online Databases page offers brief descriptions of the available databases to help researchers determine which databases are best suited to their research topics.


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WHEN TO USE DATABASES
Databases are most useful for finding recently published articles or article citations. Due to their electronic format, databases can be updated more rapidly than print materials. Therefore, researchers often prefer using databases rather than print periodical indexes and periodical abstracts.

Only a few databases, however, contain information prior to the mid-1980s or early 1990s. For example, JSTOR offers articles from as early as the 1600s, and PsycINFO offers articles and citations beginning in the 1800's.

Also, many databases do not offer online full text articles from the most recent issues of some periodicals due to restrictions (called embargoes) placed by the publishers. In addition, articles may be missing due to copyright decisions, vendor error, or inclusion policies. Still, the databases will offer article citations, which can be used to locate the full articles, as explained later in this unit.

If you're looking for material from time periods that are not covered by the libraries' databases, do not give up. The libraries' periodical indexes and periodical abstracts should provide adequate coverage for most time periods and subjects.

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HOW TO USE DATABASES
The libraries' databases can be accessed from the Online Databases page, which alphabetically lists the databases and provides links to them.

Most databases let researchers use keyword, subject, title, and author searches. Also, some databases offer more sophisticated searching capabilities such as letting users restrict results to scholarly journals and limit searches by date, type, and language. These search limits are discussed in Unit 4 "Searching Effectively" along with information about other ways to refine searches. Detailed information about using databases and understanding search results is offered in Unit 7 "Using Databases," as well as in the databases' online tutorials and help files.

Note that if Tarleton is not your Internet Service Provider, accessing the libraries' databases requires the EZProxy or VPN connection, along with your Tarleton network username and password, as explained in Unit 2 "Accessing Resources."


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Library Orientation Site Index
Updated 7/2004