Skip to Main Content

History: About & Finding Databases

Selecting a Database


A database is an online collection of items that can be sorted and categorized.

Amazon is a database that allows you to sort items you can purchase by categories, such as books, clothes, etc. You can also use filters, such as price, to find the best deals.

Library databases provide you with access to information that isn't available for free online, such as scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and more. The library databases allow you to sort and filter information sources by source type, publication date, language, etc.

screenshot - considerations in database selection

What's the Deep Web? Why the Library?

Pfau Library (2:25)

Finding & Selecting Databases

Picking a database to search in is like picking which streaming service you are going to use to find a movie to watch. Are you going to look in Netflix? Hulu? Amazon Prime? Your information need will help you with making decisions about where to look for information. You may have to try a variety of tools to find what you need.

Netflix logoHulu logoLogo for Prime Video

To find all of the library's databases:

  • Log into the Portal.
  • Click the Library tab at the top.
  • Click on Find Databases, which will take you to the library's Databases A-Z list. You can search for a specific database by name or use the filters to limit the databases by subject area.

To select an appropriate database from the list: 

Image of database subjects1. Think about your topic.

2. Which of the subjects represented in the Subjects drop-down list does your topic most closely fall under? Health? History? Science? There may be more than one relevant category, and that's okay. Just start with one subject area.

3. After you select a subject area, you will find a list of databases that are good for topics related to the selected subject. But each is different. Read the database descriptions to determine if the database contains the kind of information you are interested in.



What Are Databases and Why You Need Them

Yavapai College Library (2:34)

Databases A-Z