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Home » A Primer on Databases and Catalogs » Types of Databases

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Types of Databases

Text, graphics and audio information grouped by what they have in common

Databases provide various formats of information. Different databases provide different kinds of information. In this unit we are focusing on the kinds of databases you use for doing research.

Bibliographic databases provide a descriptive record of an item, but the item itself is not provided in the database. Information about the item is provided, including such things as author, title, subject, publisher, etc. The information provided is called a citation. Sometimes a short summary or abstract of the item is provided as well. Examples of bibliographic databases include the GALILEO database Social Sciences Abstracts, or the Internet Movie Database on the World Wide Web.

A full-text database provides the full-text of a publication. For instance, Research Library in GALILEO provides not only the citation to a journal article, but often the entire text of the article as well. "CollegeSource Online" offers full-text of 20,000 college catalogs, so rather than having to request a catalog from several colleges to make comparisons, you can gather information from all colleges you're interested in at one time.

Some databases provide numeric information, such as statistics or demographic information. Examples of these are (link will open in a pop-up window) Census Bureau databases and databases containing stock market information.

You can also find databases that collect only image information (EBSCOhost image collection), audio information (MP3 or wav files), or a combination of any of the above types (CNN).

CNN's site has a search option that provides access to news articles and the original video and audio files that accompanied them. Try the link below for a look at the combination of information types in CNN's database.

Meta-databases are databases that allow one to search for content that is indexed by other databases. GOLD is an example of this kind of database. If you find a citation for an article in one of the bibliographic databases and want to determine if the article is available in full-text in another database, you could do a search for the journal in GALILEO in Journals A-Z to get a list of all the databases that index that specific publication.

WANT MORE on jake or GOLD
> Unit 5 > The Great GALILEO

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The following are external links and will open in a pop-up window.

CollegeSource Online — full text of college catalogs

CNN archives

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