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How To Do Research: What Is a Database?

A guide on how to conduct academic research.

What Is a Database?

A database is a collection of organized and stored information designed for search and retrieval. Databases come in various forms and can be used for different applications. 

Libraries typically subscribe to research databases. Research databases are electronic platforms that contain a collection of electronic information that is searchable and, in most cases, retrievable in full-text format. Specifically, they encompass articles from periodicals like academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and trade publications. You can find an alphabetical list of all of the library's databases and their descriptions here.

Databases: General vs. Specialized

In most cases, databases can be categorized in two ways: general or specialized.

General databases cover a wide range of academic disciplines by means of indexing many source types, including articles from academic/scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, trade publications, and reports. 

Specialized databases usually contain various types of information that deal with a specific field of study.

General Databases Specialized Databases
Academic OneFile ABI/INFORM Collection
Academic Search Ultimate Agriculture
General OneFile America:  History and Life with Full Text
Opposing Viewpoints Archival Films and Newsreels Collection
High School Biography
Global Issues Book Review Index 
eBook Academic Collection Business
  Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Reference Center
  Business Insights:  Global
  Business Source Ultimate
  Chilton Library
  Communications and Mass Media
  Computer Science
  Criminal Justice
  Criminal Justice (ProQuest)
  Culinary Arts
  Dissertations & Theses Global:  The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection
  Diversity Studies
  Economics & Theory
  Educators Reference Complete
  Entrepreneurial Studies Source
  Environmental Studies
  Environmental Studies and Policy
  Films on Demand
  Fine Arts 
  Gardening and Horticulture
  Gender Studies
  Health and Medical Collection
  Health and Medicine
  Health and Wellness
  Hospitality and Tourism
  Human Anatomy
  Information Science and Library Issues Collection
  Informe Academico
  International Security and Counter Terrorism Reference Center
  Literature Resource Center
  Mergent Online
  Military and Government Collection
  Military and Intelligence
  Nexis Uni
  Nursing and Allied Health
  Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
  Political Science
  Pop Culture
  Public Health
  Regional Business News
  Religion and Philosophy
  SAGE Research Methods
  Security Issues Online
  U. S. History (GALE in Context)
  U. S. History (GALE OneFile)
  Vocations and Careers
  War and Terrorism
  World History (GALE in Context)
  World History (GALE OneFile)
  World Scholar:  Latin America & the Caribbean