Research Handbook: Online Databases A to Z

What is a library database?
A library database is an online resource that contains articles and information from print resources such as magazines, newspapers, journals, and reference books.

Databases are not “Internet” sources
As a high school student or teacher, you must be able to find accurate information that is relevant to your assignments. Surfing the Web certainly can be quick and easy. However, it is much too easy to find irrelevant, unsubstantiated, and just plain wrong information.

Searching the right database will give you the quality information you need. The material found on a database is likely to contain more reliable and more thoroughly researched information than material retrieved from an Internet search engine.

Bessie Chin Library’s databases are available via the Internet but most are available only be subscription – a log-in process allows access only to members of the RHS community (including parents). Most of the information you find in our database collection cannot be found by searching Google or Yahoo.

Two Types of Databases:
Our library offers two types of databases:

1. Article Databases

An article database enables you to search through thousands (sometimes millions) of different magazines, journals and newspapers to find articles on a particular topic. Some of the articles you will find are full-text, which means you can read (or print out) the entire article right there online. Other times the database will only provide you with an abstract and citation, which tells you where you can find a print version of the article. Examples include the EBSCO databases, AP Science and Opposing Viewpoints.

2. Reference Databases

Reference Databases provide reference information (facts, statistics, background information) from many different print sources. Reference Databases are usually more subject-specific than the article databases. Examples are the Almanac of American Politics, CountryWatch and the encyclopedias.

Most of these databases require user name and password to access. Please see the library staff or lists posted in the library for the appropriate passwords. The list is also available online. Ask library staff for access info.

Almanac of American Politics - Online version of the biennial publication
"The Almanac includes profiles of every member of Congress and governor as well as in-depth and up-to-date narrative profiles of all 50 states and 435 House districts. Also included are detailed Congressional voting records, hard-to-find census data, current state district maps and a preview of the 2008 elections. In addition to all of the rich content already found in the print edition, this valuable resource contains up-to-date information on special election results, committee changes, election forecasts and primary results."

AP Science - Scientific and medical journals
ProQuest AP Science delivers a comprehensive collection of more than 500 magazines and journals designed to support advanced placement and college-prep level science studies. Disciplines covered include earth, life, physical, medical, and applied sciences.

AP Source -- See EBSCOhost

Britannica Online Academic Edition - Online encyclopedia
The Britannica Online database includes the full text of the Encyclopaedia Britannica,the Britannica Student Encyclopedia, the Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia, and the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, a Britannica Internet Guide, and links to video & media files. Each of the encyclopedias may be searched independently or as a group. This is especially useful when a student is looking for shorter articles on a topic rather than a full treatise. The database is browsable by article title, subject, and timeline, as well as by the traditional index. There is also a year in review feature and a world atlas.

Columbia International Affairs Online - International affairs database
"Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is the most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs. CIAO is also widely-recognized source for teaching materials including original case studies written by leading international affairs experts, course packs of background readings for history and political science classes, and special features like the analysis of a bin Laden recruitment tape with video. All sections of CIAO are updated monthly."

CountryWatch - Geographical information database is an information provider for schools, universities, libraries and individuals who need up-to-date information and news on the countries of the world and for the public and private sector organizations with global operations and interests. The management of has extensive international business and academic experience and, using this experience, has created, in a concise and useful form, a key set of political, economic, and business information, daily news and data for its clients in the form of Country Reviews, the Country Wire, CountryWatch Data and CountryWatch Business Services. Requires user name and password for full access.
The library's standard online subscription allows access to:  CountryReviews - for each of 191 countries comprise a 50-100 page report covering the demographic, historical, political, economic, business and environmental background and contemporary issues facing each country. Reviews are updated on a biannual schedule but are updated dynamically on the Web site whenever major events occur in a country (e.g. change in government); and CountryWire - accompanies each of the 191 CountryReviews and provides country-specific, comprehensive daily news from 12 international news services with a 2-month archive in a searchable database containing 180,000 stories. The CountryWire allows users to stay up-to-date on breaking news and to follow developing stories in each of the 191 countries.

EBSCOhost Ultra Online Package - Periodical database
Comprises several individual databases which may searched separately (see below) or as a whole using Student Research Center.
--Advanced Placement Source - Over 6,000 professional, trade and scholarly journals suitable for advanced student research.
--ERIC - ERIC, the U.S. Department of Education Educational Resource Information Center database, contains citations and abstracts from over 980 educational and education-related journals, as well as full text of more than 2,200 digests.
--Health Source: Consumer Edition - "This database is the richest collection of consumer health information available to libraries worldwide, providing information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, sports medicine and general health. Health Source: Consumer Edition provides access to nearly 80 full text, consumer health magazines."
--MAS Ultra – School Edition - "Designed specifically for high school libraries, this database contains full text for more than 500 popular, high school magazines. MAS Ultra – School Edition also provides more than 360 full text reference books, 85,639 biographies, 104,481 primary source documents, and an Image Collection of 285,912 photos, maps & flags, color PDFs and expanded full text backfiles (back to 1975) for key magazines."  
--Newspaper Source - "...provides cover-to-cover full text for 35 national & international newspapers. The database also contains selective full text for more than 375 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full text television & radio news transcripts are also provided."
--NoveLIST"is a fiction database that provides subject heading access, reviews, annotations, and much more for over 120,000 fiction titles. It also includes other content of interest to fiction readers, such as Author Read-alikes, Book Discussion Guides, BookTalks, and Feature Articles. For school media specialists and teachers there are Standards-Based Thematic Units and Picture Book Extenders, as well as specific teaching guides for using fiction in the classroom. For schools, NoveList has added a "Features for Teachers" button at the top of the homepage and the New Search page. If you are a library media specialist or a teacher, this page leads you to essential curriculum-related articles and teaching guides. These materials provide support for the increased use of literature in the classroom and across the curriculum. There are articles and guides for all grade levels from pre-school through high school.
--Professional Development Collection - Provides a highly specialized collection of nearly 360 full text journals, designed for professional educators.
--TOPICsearch - "Explore social, political and economic issues, scientific discoveries and other popular topics discussed in today's classrooms with TOPICsearch. This current events database includes: 40,000 full text documents carefully selected by our staff of librarians and teachers; selected full text articles [is] available for nearly 100 U.S. newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the Boston Globe, the Detroit Free Press, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News; 2,500 diverse sources including international and regional newspapers, EBSCO's unparalleled periodicals collection, biographies, public opinion polls, book reviews, pamphlets, government information and EBSCO's Current Issues database four different search methods: topic, subject, natural language and keyword an online dictionary." This is a particularly useful database for the Social Issues classes because of the way that information is concentrated and listed by topic.

--eNotes - Curricular database
" is a comprehensive online educational resource. Used daily by thousands of students, teachers, professors, and researchers, eNotes combines the highest-quality educational content with innovative services in order to provide an online learning environment unlike any other. Our content is all fact-checked, edited, and written by professionals who are experts in their field. It comes from our in-house publishing unit or from academic publishers, including content which is not available online anywhere else." Topics covered by eNotes include literature, science, law & politics, history, business, social sciences, health, and arts. It also a college search database and access to almost 500 academic journals.

ERIC -- See EBSCOhost

FactCite - E-books from Lincoln Library Press
FactCite is a fully searchable online information resource. FactCite enables student researchers and teachers to easily navigate through a vast amount of information including: over 2000 entries based on the 16-volume set, The United States Encyclopedia of History, bring our country's heritage to life; over 700 fully illustrated biographical athlete entries—from baseball's Hank Aaron to distance runner Emil Zatopek—based on all 8 editions of The Lincoln Library of Sports Champions; 300 fully illustrated entries from The Lincoln Library of Greek & Roman Mythology, helping students appreciate in today's context, that the Greeks were able to "transcend time and cultural boundaries;" 99 articles, covering 101 narrative biographies from The Lincoln Library of Shapers of Society. Articles are illustrated with historic photographs, primary source documents, and contemporary graphic novel-style illustrations; 9000 biographies drawn from The Lincoln Library of Arts, The Lincoln Library of Social Studies, The Lincoln Library of Language Arts, and The Lincoln Library of Essential Information.

Health Source: Consumer Edition -- See EBSCOhost

Marin County Free Library databases - Many databases available with a Marin County Free Library card
The following databases are available from the Marin County Free Library. Most can be accessed from any place in the county but a few are accessible only be users within the county library residence area and some are accessible only from the main library site at the Civic Center. They include: AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive, Baker & Taylor Consumer Law e-Books, Biography & Genealogy Master Index, Biography Resource Center, Books in Print, CQ Researcher in English, EBSCO Magazine Index, Health & Wellness Resource Center, Hoover's Online Pro, LearnATest, Literature Resource Center, NetLibrary, NoveList, NoveList K-8, Opposing Viewpoints, ProQuest Newsstand, RAND California, Reference USA, Safari Tech Books Online, Stat-USA Internet, USA Trade Online, and World Book Encyclopedia.

MARINet databases - Many databases available with any Marin County library card
The following databases are available from the MARINet. They are available to all Marin County residents with a library card but a few are accessible only be users within the county library residence area and some are accessible only from the main library site at the Civic Center. They include: Books in Print with Reviews, EBSCO Magazine Index, Business Source Premier, Consumer Health Complete, Student Research Center, Kids' Search, Digital & Audio Books, NetLibrary, NoveList, NoveList K-8, ProQuest Newsstand, RAND California, Safari Tech Books Online, Enciclopedia Estudaintil, and World Book Encyclopedia.

MAS Ultra: School Edition -- See EBSCOhost

Newspaper Source -- See EBSCOhost

NoveLIST -- See EBSCOhost

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center - Current events and controversial issues
Opposing Viewpoints RC is an online extension of the very popular Opposing viewpoint series of books. It includes much of the text of books which cover a myriad of topics including: abortion, administration of criminal justice, adoption, affirmative action,    AIDS, alcoholism, animal experimentation, animal rights, assisted suicide, athletes, bioethics, biological weapons, birth control, capital punishment, censorship, chemical weapons, child abuse, church and state, civil rights, cloning, crime, crime victims, death, divorce, domestic violence, drinking (alcoholic beverages), driving while intoxicated, drug abuse, drug traffic, drugs and athletes, eating disorders, education, elderly, emigration and immigration, employment, endangered species, environmental policy, environmentalism, ethnic relations, euthanasia, family, family relationships, feminism, gambling, gangs, genetic engineering, genocide, global warming, gun control, hate crimes, health insurance, health care reform, homelessness, homosexuality, human rights, illegal aliens, Internet, Iraq, Islamic fundamentalism, juvenile alcoholism, juvenile drug abuse, juvenile offenders, marijuana, media violence, medical care, medical ethics, mental disorders, mental health, narcotics control, narcotics legalization, national security, nuclear weapons, nutrition, political corruption, pollution, population growth, pornography, poverty, prisons, public assistance, race relations, racism, rape, religion, renewable energy, right of privacy, school violence, sex education, sexual behavior, smoking, stem cells, suicide, teenage pregnancy, teenage sexual behavior, terrorism, United States foreign relations, violence, war crimes, water pollution, welfare reform, women, women's rights, working women, and youth. Each topic has tabs for "Viewpoints," "Reference," "Statistics," "Magazines & Newspapers," "Images," "Primary Documents," and "Web Sites." (Guided tour)

Oxford Reference Online Premium - Oxford University Press e-books
Oxford Reference Online
brings together language and subject reference works from one of the world's biggest reference publishers into a single cross-searchable resource. The Core Collection contains over 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. It is a fully-indexed, cross-searchable database of these books, giving subscribers unprecedented access to a comprehensive information resource. The Premium Collection offers all of the above, plus added functionality and more detailed information across a broad subject range from titles in the world-renowned Oxford Companions Series, to enhance the coverage already provided by the award-winning Core Collection.. Topics include: art & architecture; bilingual dictionaries; biological sciences; classics; computing; earth & environmental sciences; economics & business; English dictionaries & thesauruses; English language reference; food & drink; history; law; literature; maps & illustrations; medicine; military history; mythology & folklore; names & places; performing arts; physical sciences & mathematics; political & social sciences; quotations; religion & philosophy; and, science. For an entire list of books available from this resource click here.

Professional Development Collection - See EBSCOhost

ProQuest Learning: Literature - Literary database
A comprehensive resource including 3000+ author biographies; 40 searchable full-text literature journals; full-text literary works; and other key criticism and reference sources.

Questia School - Online library of e-books
Questia is an online library that provides 24/7 access to the world's largest online collection of books and journal articles in the humanities and social sciences, plus magazine and newspaper articles. You can search each and every word of all of the books and journal articles in the collection. You can read every title cover to cover. This rich, scholarly content -- selected by professional collection development librarians -- is not available elsewhere on the Internet. Undergraduate, high school, graduate students, and Internet users of all ages have found Questia to be an invaluable online resource. Anyone doing research or just interested in topics that touch on the humanities and social sciences will find titles of interest in Questia. To complement the library, Questia offers a range of search, note-taking, and writing tools. These tools help students locate the most relevant information on their topics quickly, quote and cite correctly, and create properly formatted footnotes and bibliographies automatically. Questia provides a comprehensive research environment to meet students' academic needs. Our current subscription allows you to log in an set up a personal account. See library staff for log in procedure.

Student Research Center -- See EBSCOhost

Teen Health and Wellness - Online health database
"Provides students with comprehensive curricular support and self-help tools on topics including diseases, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, fitness, mental health, diversity, family life, and more."

TOPICsearch -- See EBSCOhost

World Book Online - Online encyclopedia
The World Book database includes all of the content of the print version of the encyclopedia, searchable by keyword and browsable, in advanced search, by title and subject. Behind the Headlines features summaries of important current events, as well as links to relevant World Book articles and authoritative, editor-selected Web sites. What’s Happening is an excellent way to learn about special events taking place in the current month. Today in History features important events that occurred on the current day in history, including birth and death dates of important people. Surf the Ages is a supplement that imagines what it would be like if the Internet had existed since ancient times. Research Libraries is a huge collection of original source documents, including the U.S. Presidential papers, the constitutions of many nations, important literature from around the world, eyewitness accounts of history’s greatest events, and more. Dictionary contains more than 248,000 definitions and features all of the important elements typical of a comprehensive dictionary, including pronunciations, parts of speech, and sentence examples. Atlas features full-color maps of the world, continents, countries, states and provinces, and many cities.

Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions
The Library also has subscriptions to various online versions of newspapers, magazines, and journals. These include: The Atlantic; the New York Times, the New Yorker; Scientific American Digital; Science and the Wall Street Journal. Some require logins to take full advantage of their services. See the Database Passwords list for log-in information.

Trial Databases - Use this link to access databases which the Bessie Chin Library is trying out.