A Comprehensive Guide to Online Library Databases

A library database can be made up of many different components such as a reference database, an article database, and even the library’s online catalog. An online resource that contains a wealth of information and articles in the form of print sources like newspapers, magazines, journals and reference materials can also be called a library database. In addition, any given library may also subscribe to this online resource.

Every library typically has three different types of online databases. An article database allows a person to search a list of thousands, sometimes even millions, of various newspapers, journals and magazines to locate an article on any given subject. Some of the various articles that one may find in such an article database are full text articles while some searches may abstracts of articles. Other times, a search may simply yield a citation instead of a full text article or an article abstract.

Searching an article database will yield three different types of results. At times, one will encounter full text articles, which are articles that one can either print out or read online in their entirety. Sometimes one will find article abstracts. Abstracts are typically one paragraph summaries of the entire article. Occasionally, the article database may only produce a citation as a search result. A citation is information that communicates where one can find the print version of any article located in the library by using either the journal title and volume number, article title or author name.

Another type of library database is a reference database. A reference database offers information of a reference nature from a host of various print sources. This reference material can be from anything like background information, stats or facts. The difference between an article database and a reference database is that a reference database is more subject-specific than an article database. For instance, a reference database allows people to search for such specific search criteria like literature, law, music, art or science and technology.

Online library catalogs have significantly increased the usability of traditional library catalogs, paper index cards filed in call number order called “card catalogs.” A library catalog allows a user to search by keyword, author name or title, previously impossible with card catalogs. An online library catalog also allows a user to search for any keyword in the title, which is particularly helpful to patrons who are unable to recall the exact book title, but have a general idea of what the title may be. Finally, an online library catalog allows those with disabilities to have an easier time accessing the information than they would with a traditional library catalog, as computers are often equipped with accessibility software.

People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that a library database is the same as a website, when, in fact, this is not true at all. A library database is accessed from the Internet, yet the information found therein is actually reprinted from physical print sources. Another important difference between a library database and a website is that many of the texts that one finds on the library database are not available on the Internet. Because of this important difference, it follows that much of the information contained in a library database is composed by professionals or experts in their field, while websites simply contain information from both expert as well as non-expert sources.

Online library databases provide people with a well-sourced, efficient and exhaustive well of information that can be used for research, curiosity or just for reading pleasure. Such online library databases are highly organized and classified into different database types in order to streamline search efforts. Library databases also contain more reliable information than what people find on some websites, primarily because the information library databases contain is sourced from experts and professional

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