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Databases 101: Basic and Advanced Searching Guide: Databases 101

What is a database?

A library database is an online searchable collection of information. Libraries buy subscriptions to databases so students, staff, and faculty can find useful, quality, and trustworthy information.

Databases can help you find:

  • • Peer-reviewed, scholarly articles
  • • Primary sources
  • • Newspaper articles
  • • Book reviews
  • • Encyclopedia entries
  • • Dissertations and theses
  • • Multimedia content
  • • So much more!

FDU Libraries subscribes to around 200 databases. These databases contain millions of resources available to the FDU community. To view our databases, visit our A-Z Databases Page

Begin the Research Process

Beginning the research process can help guide you in selecting a database and choosing key terms. Click here to view our The Research Process Guide. 


A poster showing Research Paper Process


Why Use a Database?

A database provides users with powerful search tools that helps users narrow down results more quickly than regular search engines. As Google, along with other search engines, uses natural language searching, you can utilize it to look up anything and receive many results. This is why these search engines are good for finding general information. Utilizing tools like Wikipedia, Encyclopedias, the news, and more, you can get a great overview of your topic of research. Once you know what you are interested in researching, it is time to turn to a database. 

Google will return results that are not considered to be "scholarly" and trusted resources for research. Many of the results are items like personal blogs, YouTube videos, memes, and more, all of which are not vetted and fact-checked. Databases take the guess work out of what you can use for your research assignments and in your own personal research. Library databases are trusted, quality resources that are vetted by the library and the university. Results can also be sorted by year, source type, peer-reviewed, subject, and more so that results are expertly tailored to your search. 

Video: Tutorial: What is a Library Database and Why Should I Use One?
by University of Minnesota Libraries (2019).

Video: Learn about Library Databases and Google by UTC Library (2019).