Databases vs. Search Engines: What's the Difference?
Databases (Library databases are available 24/7 from the HCC Library web page: A-Z Databases)
What: A database is an organized collection of electronic, digitized information that can be searched in a variety of ways. Databases typically include information from magazines, journals, newspapers, and electronic books. Since most of the information found in a database has previously appeared in print form, it has gone through the editorial process. As a result, there is the expectation that the information included in a database is credible and reliable.
How: Databases are provided to the library by vendors as part of a subscription service - no different than the library subscribing to an individual magazine, journal or newspaper. These are not free services available to anyone on the web. However, they are available for free to registered HCC students (your tuition dollars pay for access). Databases are selected by the library to support courses and programs offered at HCC.
Why Use a Database:
• Information is organized: Articles and other types of information are collected, organized and made available by the database provider. You may search for information by keyword, subject heading, author, title, and more. Results can be very relevant.
• Reliability: Most of the information included in a database has gone through the editorial process - it has been checked for accuracy and reliability.
• Ease of access: Databases provided by the library are available 24/7. You have access to thousands of high quality, full text magazines, journals, newspapers, and more.
• Bottom line: If you are looking for credible, scholarly information that is carefully organized and easily accessible, use an appropriate database.
Types of Databases: Essentially, there are two basic types of databases made available by the library:
• Multi-Subject/General Databases: These are large databases that provide full text access to thousands of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles on virtually all subjects.
• Examples of Multi-Subject Databases
o Academic Search Premier
o Academic OneFile
o ProQuest Research Library
• Subject Databases: Subject databases typically collect and organize information based on specific subjects or disciplines such as business, health, geography, history, literature, etc.
• Examples of Subject Databases
o Business Source Complete
o Health Source: Consumer Edition
o Global Road Warrior
o Literary Reference Center
o Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection