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6. Specialized Databases: Will you find what you need?

Scope is a term sometimes used to describe the type of information in a database.

The database's scope will help you understand what type of material is available for retrieval ?in other words, is the database is applicable to your topic?

Some common types of scope in bibliographic databases are:

Look for links such as About or Scope (or even Help) while in a database if you have questions about what you can expect to find. If you're using one of OSU Libraries' research databases, information will be available about the item.  Example:

Database Records

Most databases contain records for the items that match its scope. The record will describe the item so you can know more about it. The descriptions are often broken down into fields which describe different types of information about an item.   A database may have many fields possible, but not ever field will be used for every item.


A bibliographic database describes items such as articles, books, conference papers, etc. Common fields found in bibliographic database records are:


In contrast, a product database record might contain the following fields:


Compare Them!

Compare database records for the book Anthology of Statistics in Sports in the OhioLINK Catalog (a bibliographic database) and Barnes and Noble (a store's product database). Note that while they contain similar information, there is also different information available in each record.


Game Time!

Practice finding database scope information with the Scope Out the Scope game.

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