For this section I am going to focus on one type of resource where you can find professional and scholarly sources. These resources are specialized databases. A specialized database—often called a research or library database—allows targeted searching on one or more specific subject areas (i.e., engineering, medicine, Latin American history, etc.), for a specific format (i.e., books, articles, conference proceedings, video, images), or for a specific date range during which the information was published. Most of what specialized databases contain can not be found by Google or Bing.
There are several types of specialized databases, including:
- Bibliographic – details about published works
- Full-text – details plus the complete text of the items
- Multimedia – various types of media, such as images, audio clips, or video excerpts
- Directory – brief, factual information
- Numeric – data sources
- Product – model numbers, descriptions, etc.
- Mixed – a combination of other types, such as multimedia and full-text
When to Use Specialized Databases
Search specialized databases to uncover scholarly and professional information that is not available through a regular web search. Specialized databases are especially helpful if you require a specific format or up-to-date, scholarly information on a specific topic.
Many databases are available both in a free version and in a subscription version. Your affiliation with a subscribing library grants you access to member-based services at no cost to you.
TIP: Free vs. Subscription?
In some cases, the data available in free and subscription versions are the same, but the subscription version provides some sort of added value or enhancement for searching or viewing items.