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ENGL 100 Enrique's Journey: Databases VS Internet Search Engines

Immigration unit based on the book "Enrique's Journey."

Library Databases vs. Internet Search Engine

Databases - What are they?

Databases are primarily collections of online journals where you can search for articles.

Databases are often subject-specific. Example: PsycINFO database specializes in psychology/counseling.

Many contain the entire text of articles, but some only contain abstracts, which you can use to find the article elsewhere (check the Journal Finder to see which, if any, of our databases contain that journal or request the article through InterLibrary Loan).




Library Databases

  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Popular magazine articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Reference book articles (e.g., directories, encyclopedias)
  • Books
  • No sponsors or ads

Internet Search Engines

  • Few free scholarly journal articles, popular magazine articles, and books.
  • Popular web sites (e.g., Wikipedia, Facebook)
  • Commercial web sites (e.g., eBay, Amazon)
  • Government, educational, and organizational web sites (e.g., Library of Congress, JSRCC)
  • Current news & information (e.g., CNN)
  • Email, chat (Gmail, AIM)
  • Many sponsors and ads.

When to Use

  • Best for college level research.
  • When you need to find credible information quickly.
  • Best for personal information needs including shopping and entertainment.
  • When you have time to more carefully evaluate information found on the open web.

Creditability / Review Process

  • Articles and books written by journalists or experts in a professional field.
  • All material in database is evaluated for accuracy and credibility by subject experts and publishers.
  • Reviewed and updated regularly.
  •  Lack of control allows anybody to publish their opinions and ideas on the Internet.
  • Not evaluated (for the most part). Need to more carefully evaluate web sites for bias, accuracy, and completeness.
  • Many sites are not updated regularly and can become outdated.
Will it be there next week?  Will it look the same?
  • Most material remains in the database for a signicant length of time and can easily be retrieved again.
  • Published content from journals, magazines, newspapers and books does not change.
  • Website content can often change.
  • Web pages and sites may disappear for a number of reasons.  You may not be able to retrieve the same content later.