Databases are organized collections of related information. Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information and can have these characteristics:
database (da·ta·base), n.: a large collection of data organized for rapid search and retrieval [organized by records and fields].
Record: These are the building blocks of a database - the articles or lists of articles that you find when you search the database.
Fields: Each record is divided into smaller sets of information called fields. A field is a single piece of information.
A familiar printed database is the telephone directory. It contains records of people and businesses, and contains fields for name, address, and telephone number. Since the telephone directory is arranged alphabetically by name, it is also an index. Telephone books also have indexes to look up different calling areas or types of businesses, such as the yellow pages.
Libraries have numerous databases - some are in print, like the telephone book, but most are electronic and available on a computer. The library databases you will use in this course include the SUU Library Catalog, ProQuest Newsstand, and Academic Search Premier.
These databases allow you to search the author, title, subject, and other fields. For example, a search of the Academic Search Premier database for utah and politics, found these records:
1. Which We, Whose Wisdom, Whither the Mountain West?; By: Norgaard, Richard B., Bioscience, Mar2003, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p278, 4p 2. Politics 2003.; By: Gizzi, John., Human Events, 2/24/2003, Vol. 59 Issue 7, p18, 1p, 3bw 3. Hatch: Shaped by Humble Roots.; CQ Weekly, 1/11/2003, Vol. 61 Issue 2, p60, 1/4p
The record for the second item shows fields of information (field names are shown in blue, keywords in red):
The library pays for over 100 online databases used to find information and articles for your research. These include several databases of different types.
Databases are categorized by the type of information available:
Depending on the amount of information available in the database records, databases are also categorized as:
The following Access Research Databases video (1:00 min) shows you how to access all the SUU research databases.