Using Online Databases

The Search Database Login on the Library home page will give you access to a wealth of information from journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference books. If you do not have the password, request it from the library staff or your instructor. The best approach is to log in and explore all the different collections of information. The most helpful ones for general research are described here.

After logging into the Database Directory, you will see several icons.

Britannica Online
The Britannica Online is a great starting point for many research topics, as it is easy to access and gives a good overview of a subject. In addition to the trusted content of the Britannica, it includes the Merriam Webster Dictionary as well as video clips and images that can be downloaded. The search box and “Help” are both along the top of the screen.

Library and Information Resources Network
L.I.R.N, (Library and Information Resources Network), is a gateway to many more databases. After clicking on L.I.R.N., you will see several choices. For general topics you will probably want to select either InfoTrac, ProQuest, or Elibrary.


InfoTrac links to more than 30 individual databases, many of which focus on one particular subject area. All the ones with a little check box beside them can be searched simultaneously using the Power Search. Check the box to “Select All,” then click “Continue.”

The ones without a check box must be searched individually. For topics relating to a subject covered by a specific database, you should select that database. In most cases you will want to limit your search to Full Text.

Includes Health, Medical, Nursing, ABI/INFORM (business), Psychology Journals, and the Research Library, which provides broad coverage of general topics. If your topic does not fall into one of the above categories, keep the default of “Multiple Databases” or select the Research Library.
Limit search to full-text documents
Help is in the upper right-hand corner.

Electric Library
The Electric Library contains thousands of full-text articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, and reference books, plus TV/radio transcripts, maps and photographs. It searches somewhat like Yahoo or MSN.

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