Tag Archives: databases

Why Would I Use a Database?

Situation: your professor has asked you to find articles on a specific topic. Let’s say you need articles on medication errors in hospitals. You know you need to start on the library home page, and you find some decent results using Quicksearch. So why do you see other databases listed on the website?

Here’s the skinny on databases.

1. Databases are often specialized for specific disciplines and audiences

As we discussed earlier, Quicksearch will give you a lot of results very quickly. However, those results are rarely as targetted as you really need for an intensive search. It’s like when you eat a bowl of Fruity Pebbles; when you pour straight from the box, you’ll get a mix of all the different colors. BUT, if you only want blue and red Fruity Pebbles, it’d be better if someone (hopefully with clean hands) pre-sorted the cereal so you could select your colors as you poured. Databases provide a similar service.

For instance, let’s go back to medication error example. I could go to the Databases page and use the drop-down list on the left to view the Health/Nursing/Medicine databases. That removes my green Fruity Pebbles, or all the results of drug overdoses in pop culture. Next, I could select the Health Source database because it is specifically made for students in the medical field. That removes the yellow Fruity Pebbles, or the articles that are a little too in-depth for my purposes. I don’t need to know the mechanism by which a certain drug works for my particular project. By using a database tailored to my discipline and demographic, I can get to relevant results very quickly.

2. Different databases provide different access

While Quicksearch will provide access to most things it shows you, it’s not the most adept at searching some databases. For example, Westlaw and Medline results are often not as well-represented in the results there. By going right to the database (and logging in for off-campus access!), I can save a lot of time trying to gain access to an article.

TL;DR — More results do NOT equal better results!

Sometimes Quicksearch just gives too many results. There are ways to filter the Quicksearch to be more specific (more on that another time), but sometimes your best bet to break your research down into attainable chunks is just going through a couple databases. The databases have already been programmed to understand your search a little better, and many even suggest helpful keywords when they guess what you’re searching. Save yourself a little work and try using a database for your next project!

How Do I Login at the Library?!

Ah, the sweet smells of dying leaves and pumpkin spice are filling the air and we’re entering the season of increased library use!

Pooh celebrates autumn

As you begin needing to access databases from home or place holds of books, it can be tricky to know what login to use where. This blog post will walk you through the various services you can access with which logins.

To Access Your Library Account

If you need to place a book on hold or renew a book, you’ll want to access your library account. You can do this by going to the library home page and clicking “My Library Account” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You will use your student ID # as the card number. Your PIN is a 4-digit number. If you’ve never changed your PIN, it sets to the last 4 digits of your student ID # by default. Once you log in, you can change your PIN to whatever 4 digit code you prefer.

To Access Databases and Ebooks Off-Campus

We’re all spending more time off-campus, so you may find yourself needing library resources from home. Once again, you’ll start at the library home page. You’ll then click “Off-Campus Access” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (right next to My Library Account.) Your login here is the same as your Blackboard credentials.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to get into all the databases on the library website and open ebooks just like you can when you’re on campus WiFi.

To order materials through Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

If you need an article, Interlibrary Loan is a service that borrows materials from libraries around the world. It allows you to order items not found in the library catalog or in any of the library’s online subscriptions.

Document Delivery is a service that allows you to order items held in the library’s print collection including book chapters and journal and newspaper articles. When you place an order for an article, we will find it in the print collection, scan it, and deliver it to you electronically. It is not used for materials available through an online database.

To use either of these services, you’ll start (you guessed it) from the library home page. From there, click “Interlibrary Loan” under “Services.” You then use your Blackboard credentials to log in. If you’ve never used these services before, you’ll need to register. Once you do that, you’ll only need to log in with those same credentials in the future.

If you have any questions about how to access any of these resources, let us know on the Ask Us page!