You're almost certainly going to have to search a database at some point. Most of these databases are paid for by the Library. The majority will index articles from specific journals within a given subject-area, but some take in a broader multidisciplinary selection.
Here's a quick overview of the types available:
Some databases are searching the full text of the indexed documents, and may even make those full texts available to you. JSTOR is a multidisciplinary example of such an archive.
Most databases do not hold, or even search, the full text of a document. Rather they are just an index of catalogue records, usually consisting of:
When searching this sort of database, most of your 'hits' are going to come from the title, abstract, and subject headings. This is a much smaller target than if you're able to search the full text, which means that your searching needs to be more accurate.
Different databases index different journals. You may need to do searches in more than one place. And just because an article is indexed in a database does not mean that we necessarily have access to it.
Lets look at an example:
Let's imagine we're doing a course called Chocolate Studies, and that there are 12 main journals in this discipline. When we're doing our research, we could search each of those journals independently, but that would take a long time. Databases exist to allow us to search several journals at once.
Ten of the major journals are indexed in Web of Sweeties*, which also covers a breadth of material on other subjects. It's an improvement on having to search through 12 separate journals, but we're missing some important titles.
∗ not a real database
Nine of the journals (including the two that weren't in Web of Sweeties) are indexed in ChocBase*, which specialises in our discipline of interest. Neither database holds all the important journals, but we can cover those 12 journals by searching both databases separately.
∗ also not a real database
The Library only subscribes to eight of the 12 journals. The databases are searching four titles we don't own, and the full text will not be directly available in those cases.
Clicking Find It @ York in a database will check YorSearch to see if we have a copy of what you've found.
We can't afford to buy a copy of everything ever. If we don't have what you need, here are some options:
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