Answered By: Former Employee
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019     Views: 6

Hello Joanna!

Databases are a vital tool in academia, but can be daunting the first few times you use them.  One of the reasons is that there are many of them, and each is different.  Different in purpose, scope, and design.  If 2 databases are operated by the same parent company, then they may have similar interfaces; but if not, the look and navigation structures will be very different. 

We do have a libguide that will point you toward some database tutorials here: 

In addition, most databases themselves should include a tutorial embedded within the website. 

Some databases are more general purpose, and some narrower in focus; so your first task is to select the right one.  As with anything else, this may take some trial and error, but there are brief descriptions of our databases here:

Once you find the right database for your purpose, the next challenge is navigating it.  Much like a library catalog (or most any kind of advanced search), there are 'limiters' to help narrow your results.  Typically, results may be limited by year of publication; type of material; author; title; subject; etc.  Use these when you want to reduce or expand the number of results your search receives.  For example, if you search 'global warming' and receive 150,000 results (articles), you might narrow the publication dates to only articles published between 2011-2013.  That could, conceivably, reduce the number of articles to 200, making it easier for you to find the ones you need.

If you have any questions, please stop by the library for clarification.

Good luck!
-Rob Wilson


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