Databases tutorial covers searching in specialized databases, of which
article databases are a subset. See this tutorial for more specific
details about specialized databases. A few specific points about article
databases will be covered here.
Libraries (public, school, or company) may provide access to databases via a
paid subscription. The OSU Libraries provides access to hundreds of
databases via its
Research Databases List. You can search for a title or view a list of
databases by subject.
Article databases will search for articles from different sources. Some
are general, while others are subject-specific. Many cover items besides
articles (primarily books and conference papers). Key things to look for in
most article databases:
The author, article title and source (the periodical in
which the item was published) as well as other detailed information
(volume, date of issue, pages, etc.) needed to locate article from the
citation. Two examples of citation information:
Brief summaries of articles. These are one of the best
things to use to determine if an article is on topic. Examples:
Article databases often use subject terms. These terms are
assigned to articles based upon their topic. Many databases have a
strict controlled vocabulary used to
make all articles addressing a topic findable. This enables users
to find items no matter what terms the author may have used. Some
databases have a stricter set of subject terms than others. Two
examples of subject terms (notice the second example has more subject
terms than the first - some databases are much more thorough than others
Links to text
Look for the button in many of
OSU's databases and simply click on it to check for access.
Some databases will contain full-text within the database -
usually in PDF or HTML format. Examples:
Highlighting search terms
You may have noticed in previous images that some terms are in bold or
colored. Many article databases will highlight search terms in
some way to indicate where the terms you searched are in the record.
These may be in the abstract, title, subject terms, or in other places.
Most databases will provide a Help
area for assistance with searching. Not all databases work the
same way. Visit the help section for assistance or ask a librarian
for help with searching.
Note: Examples from databases in the above table are for the same article
in two different article databases. - the general Academic Search Complete
(outlined in blue) and the subject-specific engineering database Compendex
(outline in red).