Databases are collections of data, organized in ways that help people find the data that they need. The Mirlyn catalog is a kind of a database. Old fashioned library card catalogs could be considered databases, and Wikipedia is a database of encyclopedic information. The type of databases that we will talk about today emphasize the collection and organization of scholarly articles, and are sometimes referred to as "article indexes".
Databases can be loosely divided into two types: generalist and subject-specific.
Generalist databases cover a broad range of subjects, so are terrific places to find materials for interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research questions. They are not the best resource for every information need, but they usually offer at least some information on any subject.
Subject-specific (or discipline-specific) databases pull together data for specific fields or disciplines. Subject-specific databases have less breadth, but are valuable because they offer greater depth of information on a given subject. PsycINFO is an example of a subject-specific database devoted to psychology and related fields. Subject-specific databases may also use controlled vocabularies appropriate to a discipline that allow users to construct searches with more precise results.
The databases that we will demo index and abstract scholarly articles. Many of them also index other types of information, including news articles, dissertations and theses, conference proceedings, books, and more.
Who or what organizes information in databases?
What is an abstracter? What is an indexer?
What is an article index?
When is it a good idea to use generalist databases?
When are subject-specific databases preferrable?
What level of information do article indexes provide?
Should I limit my search results to full-text when I am looking for the best scholarly articles?
Why or why not?