The Web vs. Databases

 

There is a lot of information available on the web. However, it takes a lot of work to ensure it's the best possible stuff. When searching the Internet, you have to:

Ensure that websites you've found are relevant to your topic
Make sure that information is scholarly and appropriate for university research
Make sure the information is not biased
Incorporate that information into your research
Cite the sources correctly

There is an expectation that the information you're finding on the web and citing in your papers is as good as a scholarly journal article or monograph you got in the library. An easier way to find articles on a given topic is to use the CSUS library's databases. The databases allow you to find citations to journal articles that may be full-text online or located physically at the CSUS Library.

At the CSUS library the databases are basically indexes to journal articles online. That means you can type in a topic into a database like EbscoHOST and it will bring up journal articles based on those terms. In addition to searching for journal articles some databases allow you to limit your search to scholarly/peer reviewed sources, and almost all databases have the ability to search for information based on date.

Types of Databases

There are two types of databases available at the CSUS Library General Multidisciplinary databases and Specific Subject databases.

General Multidisciplinary databases: Are the best places to begin searching for journal articles. They have articles on every topic. In general they have some full-text content and allow you to limit searches to scholarly/peer-reviewed sources. Some General Multidisciplinary databases include EBSCOhost, Infotrac Academic Search, Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. Check out the list of general databases at http://library.csus.edu/databases/default.asp?mode=gen

Specific Subject databases: Have much for focused content and are more specific to a topic area than the general databases. They have articles that are specific to a discipline or area of study. Generally contain scholarly articles, so the user does not have to limit their search to those. Are generally not full-text, which means the user must check EUREKA or the Journal Locator list to see if CSUS owns the journal or has access to it online.

To get to the databases go to the Database and Periodical Indexes page at http://library.csus.edu/content2.asp?pageID=427 and select Databases & Periodical Indexes (DPI). This is what you'll see:

A screenshot of the Database & Periodical Indexes Page

From here you can choose to look an Alphabetical List of Databases, Databases listed by Broad Categories, or Databases Listed by Specific Subjects. To do the later two actions simple use the Drop-down menu and select your preferred grouping of databases.

A screenshot that shows the use of the drop-down box under Databases listed by a specific subject

At this point choose a heading and pick a database. In the image below we've chosen the specific page for Anthropology and can not only access the research databases in that field, but also the help guides that the librarians at Sac State have created.

A screenshot of the Anthropology Specific Subject Page of databases

From here I can choose to do a search in EbscoHOST.

Where Are the Journals?

As an example I did a search in EbscoHOST for articles on Indians and Prophetic Movements and got the following result:

Screenshot of a search done in Ebscohost on Indians and prophetic movements. It shows one article which says it's available at the CSUS Library

What I see is the title of the article, author, name of the journal and citation information as well as the note that Sac State subscribes to the journal. If I click the Find It button it I get this screen:

A screenshot of the journal locator list showing access to the article via EUREKA and full-text via Oxford University Press Journals
From there I can choose to located physical copies of the journal by clicking on the link to EUREKA: CSUS Library Catalog. I can also get articles full-text online via the link to Oxford University Press Journals. When an article is online full-text then you should be able to download the full-text of the article, which will be either in a web format (html) or in .pdf format (an exact image of the article). If the journal is here at CSUS in paper then it will be either:

On the South side of the Third Floor (current journals, back issues of journals to 1980)
Lower Level in the compact shelving (issues of journals that date prior to 1979)

Access From Home

You do not need to physcially be at CSUS to access the databases and the journal articles within them. CSUS affiliated users (students, faculty, staff) with a Saclink username and password. For more information about remote access to the library databases visit: http://library.csus.edu/content2.asp?pageID=47.