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Basic Library Research & Writing: 4. Using Databases


Keywords & Synonyms Video

If your instructor has asked you to watch library videos and take quizzes, you need to do that through the Information Literacy course in Blackboard. The course should be listed under your Blackboard list of "My Courses" in the left navigation menu.

Using Databases

Britannica Academic defines a database as, "any collection of data or information that is specially organized for rapid search and retrieval by a computer...Using keywords and various sorting commands, users can rapidly search, rearrange, group, and select the fields in many records to retrieve or create reports..." [Database. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from]

First you must identify those databases that will help you in finding information on your topic. You can start with getting background information from general databases, and then move on to search RamCat, individual article databases, or U-Search, which searches many databases at once. 

Once you start searching databases for your research needs, you will need to use the keywords that you have previously identified. You will also need to be open to finding additional keywords that may help you locate additional information. You need to know how to read the results you retrieve in order to better identify and locate information, cite resources, and search specific fields to find needed information. (More on this later.) Watch the videos to the left for lots of useful information on these topics.


-Mark Allan