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Research tips & tricks

How to use SuperSearch and other library resources. Updated September 2017.

What is a database?

What is a database? 

The CSU-Pueblo Library subscribes to more than 100 databases. "Database" means a searchable collection. Library databases contain articles, books, images, and references—all kinds of reliable information for students to use. 

Access to online resources

All of the library's online resources can be accessed from on- and off-campus. If you are off-campus, you may need to login using your eAccount and password. 

Full text vs. citation only

While some databases contain complete articles (in library terms, the 'full text'), most databases are simply indexes. They contain article citations. It should contain all the information you need to decide whether you need the full text of the article or not. 

If you can't find the full text for a resource, you can: 

  • Check Find It @CSU-Pueblo  for Full Text
    This will search for the article in other library databases
  • Look for it in print
    The library still subscribes to a handful of print journals, which can be found on the 3rd floor
  • Request it through Interlibrary Loan
    Our library will request an electronic copy of the article from another library and email it to you.

Choosing a database

Each library database is unique, and it can be daunting when trying to choose which one to search. Use the library research guides, which list the best databases for each subject. Or, browse the A-Z list of databases. You can limit the list by subject area or resource type. 

Know what's in the database

The key to finding the right database is knowing what's in it. Here are the three things you need to know: 

  1. What subject area(s) does it cover? 
    Most databases specialize in one subject area. Use a research guide, or limit the A-Z list of databases by subject.
  2. What date range does it cover?
    Check to see what the oldest available content is, and the most recent. Some databases may go back decades, some may be lagging two or three years behind the most recent issue. 
  3. What type of material does it cover? 
    Does this database contain scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, book chapters, conference papers, data, images, or personal papers?

What about Ebsco and ProQuest?

Ebsco (or Ebscohost) and ProQuest aren't databases. They're companies. They produce lots (hundreds) of databases. Their logos are very prominent within each database they produce, which can be confusing. If you're trying to retrace your steps, you need to know the name of the database you searched, not just the company. 

 

Using multidisciplinary databases

Most databases are focused on one subject area—PsycINFO has articles about psychology, ArtStor contains art. But what about the databases that cover several different subject areas? Here is a quick breakdown of what they contain: 

Database Contents Pros Cons

Academic OneFile

‚Äč

  • mix of scholarly and popular articles on research topics
  • mix of full text and citation only
  • easy to explore topics
  • easy to find scholarly sources
  • links to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
  • lack of depth

Academic Search Premier

  • mix of scholarly and popular articles on research topics
  • mix of full text and citation only
  • strong on current topics and events
  • easy to find scholarly sources
  • lack of depth

General OneFile

  • mix of scholarly and popular articles on general interest topics
  • mix of full-text and citation only
  • easy to explore topics
  • strong in newspapers and magazines
  • links to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
  • fewer scholarly articles
  • lack of depth

JSTOR

  • small selection of core academic journals
  • full text
  • all journals go back to first issue published
  • strong in humanities
  • poor search interface
  • lacks most recent 3-5 years 
  • weak in sciences

Science Direct

  • scientific, technical, and medical research
  • full text
  • includes most recent research
  • powerful search capabilities
  • weaker in humanities and social sciences

 

Acknowledgments

The content of this guide is adapted from Choosing and Using Library Databases, by the UCLA Library (UC Regents).