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3. Specialized Databases: Can you use all specialized databases?

While there are databases that are freely available online, others charge money. Many libraries pay subscription fees so that their clients can use important databases. These fee-based databases are sometimes referred to as library databases or research databases. Most libraries maintain a list of available databases, such as OSU's list:



Your affiliation with a library (thus the ability to access its databases) might be through a:

Some databases are available both in a free version and in a fee-based version. In most cases, the data available in each version is the same, but the method of searching or outputting the data may vary. Generally, the fee-based version provides some sort of added value or enhancement.

Note: Some databases used throughout this tutorial will be noted as available only to OSU users - these may ask you to authenticate with your name.# and password (the same you use for email).


The most respected types of scholarly articles are called peer-reviewed articles.  While some scholarly journals have editors that approve articles before they are published, peer-reviewed articles are reviewed carefully by experts (often by more than one) in that academic field before they are accepted for publication. Peer-review (also called refereeing) helps to assure the quality of information found in the article.

Compare Them!

Compare the free version of ERIC (an education database) to OSU's library subscription version.   What differences do you see?

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