How to use library databases

How to use library databases


Start at the Library website. You’ll see that OneSearch is the first option,
but in this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the other databases you can use. If you’re new to library research, you’re
thinking, which database do I choose? It’s helpful to start by choosing databases
by subject. Most academic departments at John Jay are
listed on this page, and each of them has a list of recommended databases, along with
a short description of what kinds of articles or information the database gives you access
to. You’ll also see that we’ve selected some multi-subject
databases. These are good places to begin your research. Let’s try Academic Search Complete, one of
our most popular databases. If you’re off-campus, log in with the same
username and password as your John Jay email. Now we’re on the search page within Academic
Search Complete. These three search boxes are a hint that you
need to use keywords. Let’s say that your research question is… “How have comic books influenced mainstream
media?” Here, our main keywords are comic books, influence,
and media. So we’ll put comic books, influence, and media
into these search boxes. You don’t need to have three keywords, but
in this case, we do. Let’s hit search. On the results page, you’ll see… Search results, each them is an article; a
column on the left where you can refine your results; the main search boxes, where you
can change your keywords; and on the right, “Ask a John Jay Librarian.” If you get stuck in your research, get in
touch, and we’ll be happy to help out. Each search result contains the title of the
article; the type of article it is; the magazine, journal, or newspaper where it came from;
the date it was published; and the abstract, or brief summary of the article; and a link
to read the whole article. Scan at least the whole first page of results. An article that you might love might not be
at the top of the results. Here, let’s say that number 16 looks interesting
to us. We’ll click the Full Text link to read the
article right there on the screen. Most databases will give you the option to
print, email, save or download, and generate a citation or a permalink to the article. Let’s go back to our search results. Some of these don’t seem relevant to our topic. There are a few ways to refine your search
so you can find a variety of relevant articles. For instance, if your professor says she only
wants you to use peer-reviewed articles, narrow down your results to just those by clicking
here. You can also browse the article subjects to
drill down even more, if it’s useful. For instance, let’s open up Subject and select
“influence on mass media.” Now we’re down to just 4 very relevant results. Try changing up your keywords to see if you
can find articles that are in the same general area but have different focuses. This will make your own research much richer. Most library databases will have the features
& functionality seen in this tutorial, but will have different search results. So try your search in multiple databases. Happy searching!

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