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Database Searching

Learn how to select a library database for your research topic and how to use the databases to find sources on your topic.

What Databases Do We Have Access To?

The Library subscribes to about 140 databases. That's a lot! We have databases that contain encyclopedia entries, newspaper articles, magazine articles, scholarly articles, book reviews and more. Because each database contains specific information, we have organized the databases by subject. We have databases that are multidisciplinary meaning it contains information on a lot of subjects and we have subject specific databases that only contain information about one discipline like History databases, Engineering databases, English databases, Art databases and more! 

Check out our databases list. You can view them in alphabetical order by title or use the "All Subjects" drop down menu to select a specific subject. 


A-Z Databases list with a black arrow pointing to the "All Subjects" drop down menu and accompanying text stating "search for databases by subject."

How Do I Select a Database To Use?

Because we have about 140 databases, you will have to select which database you want to search in. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. What type of information are you looking for - Do you need to find background information like a biography or an encyclopedia entry? Do you need to find a newspaper or magazine article? Do you need to find a scholarly article or book? 
  2. What subject does your topic fall under - What class is your assignment for? Is your topic multidisciplinary? 

Once you determine what type of information you are looking for and your subject's topic, you can look for a database that fits your information need. 

  • If you need to find a biography of Toni Morrison then you can look in one of the Reference databases.
  • If you need to find a scholarly article on how illness is perceived in Victorian literature then you can look in one of our English databases.

Not all databases are the same! Always read the database's description before you search in it. The description will tell you what subject and type of information can be found in that database. 

  • For example, the database PsycINFO's description is "The American Psychological Association's PsycINFO database, with over 2,000,000 records, is the most comprehensive international database of psychology. It covers the academic research and practice literature in psychology from over 45 countries in more than 25 languages."

How Many Databases Should I Search In?

Because each database is made up of specific publications which determine what sort of information can be found in that database, you may need to search in multiple databases. Additionally, your research question may fall under more than one subject area. The more databases you search in, the more likely you are to find sources on your topic.

Need Help?

Need help selecting a database to search in? No worries! Ask a librarian for help by sending us a question, stopping by the library's research desk or contacting a librarian directly.