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Finding Articles in Databases

For academic research, you will need to locate high quality materials. These are found in books and scholarly and  academic magazines and journals.

The databases on this page are ones that we recommend you use. Why? Unlike a Google search articles in databases:

* have been vetted and selected by experts

* are cataloged and subjects added

* list credentials of authors

* are published in magazines/journals with quality reputations

Isn't the Web the best free database?

Tip of the Iceberg (Flickr)

The Web isn't actually a database because it isn't really organized or consistent.

So, then, what is a database?

A database is a collection of logically related records that can be read by a computer. Computerized address books and online library catalogs are examples of commonly used databases.

Isn't the Web the biggest and best database?

The Web isn't actually a database because it isn't really organized or consistent.

Why do I need databases if everything I need can be found on the Web?

There is a tremendous amount of information that is NOT available on the web. Even if information is delivered via the Web, it may not be free. This is what is known as the "invisible" or "deep" web. As a college student, you need to know that there are thousands of academic databases available through libraries.

Is what I find in a database more reliable than what is found on the Web?

Information in a database has at least been selected by editors. For periodical databases, the articles were printed first in a magazine, journal, or newspaper that had editors. Many databases add value to the content by organizing it and by adding subjects.

In contrast, anyone can put up anything on the Web. Some of it is edited, selected, and monitored, but much of it is not. And the formats can vary widely so it is sometimes hard to know exactly what it is you have found. See also: Fake News

Are there other databases that I can access elsewhere?

Yes, there are hundreds of available databases. Otis subscribes only to a small handful which should serve you well for most assignments. However, if you are eager to do more in-depth research, try going to the Los Angeles Public Library or Loyola Marymount University. See also: Other Los Angeles Libraries

Lastly, please keep in mind that not everything is available online. Books are still important sources for your research needs.

Image used by permission.

The Deep Web

Only 10% of an iceberg can be seen from the surface. You can see the tip, but most of it is submerged. What's underneath is the DEEP or INVISIBLE Web because it can't be searched with standard search engines.

Content in the Deep Web includes:

Subscription databases (on library websites)

Intranets/portals (Company or organization's password-protected websites)

Bank accounts

Social media - depends on the privacy settings

Webpages that are "buried" in very large websites, meaning you have to click on a lot of links to get there, such that web crawlers may not reach them - Government websites are an example.

Other search engines and online directories (Google may be able to find the homepage, but does not search within it)

Isolated pages - webpages that no other pages link to

Web pages that have been deliberately hidden from search engines, using special code

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