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K. McCoskey EG101 - Tools that Changed Society


Why Library Databases?

Although the internet houses great resources, some websites are not appropriate for college-level research, and sometimes professors have concerns over the information that students might encounter online. Unfortunately, you can’t find everything through a Google search, which is one reason why you’d want to use a library database.

Most library databases provide access to resources that you would normally subscribe to or pay for, such as a newspaper. You can access some newspaper articles for free online, but websites often limit the amount of articles you can view freely. For example, if you visit the Los Angeles Times online you might be able to view one or two articles. After that point, you will need to purchase a subscription to read more. But a library database will provide free access for students and professors at your college.

Additional Database Features

Library databases tend to come with additional tools to support your research. These tools can include help with writing citations, easy-to-use filters to limit your search results, and options to save the article for later use.



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Introduction to College Research by Walter D. Butler, Aloha Sargent, and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


The following table will help point you in the right direction. We recommend starting with an Encyclopedia entry about your topic to learn more about it. Remember to use the keywords for your topic in the Topics page if you can't find any good articles. And if one database isn't working for you, try another! 

To find the databases, go to the Library's website ( then click on "Databases" under the Grizzly Search bar.

Resource Type Good for ... Butler Databases

- Historical summaries of a topic

- Quick facts 

- Dates of events

- Britannica Academic

- Credo Reference

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

- Finding people's opinions about your topic

- Reactions to inventions from different time periods

- US Newsstream

- Gale OneFile: News


- Similar to encyclopedias, but more in-depth

- Full books or chapters on topics

Note: When citing, only reference the chapter you used, not the whole book (unless you used multiple chapters).

- Very Short Introductions

- Salem Press Online eBooks

- ProQuest eBook Central

General Research Articles

- Research articles are usually 5-15 pages long

- Written by people who hold advanced degrees in their discipline

- Very in-depth, usually with multiple sections including: Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Conclusions/Discussion

- EBSCO Academic Search Premier

- ProQuest Research Library

Films and Documentaries

- Videos can be anywhere from a few minutes to several hours long

- Often provide historical information and discussions

- Can contain interviews and references to additional sources

- Films on Demand

- The PBS Video Collection


1. Keep it simple

  • Only use 2-4 keywords in your search bar. More than that will decrease the amount of results you get.

2. Link your keywords

  • Use capital AND to link two keywords, for example, telegraph AND impact. This will only show you results that mention both of those keywords. Typing in "telegraph impact" will show you results that include one or the other keyword, not necessarily both.

3. Try more than 1 database

  • Each database has a different set of articles, so if you cannot find something you like in one, go to another database and retry your search.

4. Ask for help!

  • Librarians specialize in finding articles and helping with research. If you've tried the steps above and still can't find an article for your paper, reach out to us and we can help you during any step you might be at. Check out our Help page to find out more about how to speak with a librarian online or in-person.