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Home » A Primer on Databases and Catalogs » Information in Databases

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Information in Databases: Subjects and Publication Types

How databases categorize information

Each database type can be further divided by subject and publication types.

Subject area: The information in a database can be specific to a particular academic discipline or subject, such as Business, Medicine, Agriculture, etc.


GALILEO > Business and Economics > ABI/INFORM Complete

GALILEO > Medicine and Health Sciences > MEDLINE

GALILEO > Science & Technology > AGRICOLA

WANT MORE on Subject areas?
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Publication type: Some databases might cover only information collected from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, journals) while others cover only books. Popular and current events publications might be the focus of some databases and others might cover information only from scholarly journals.


Online library catalog (GIL), WorldCat

Scholarly journals:
Current Contents, PsycFIRST

Popular culture and current events:
MasterFILE Premier

Combination of scholarly and popular publications:
Academic Search Complete

Some databases cover only English language materials while other databases include citations to materials in a variety of languages.

Time Period:
Generally, databases cover only a certain range of dates. The MLA (Modern Language Association) database covers a period from 1926 to the present, while Academic Search Complete offers citations to information published from 1865 to the present, but most full-text dates from the 1990s to the present.

Availability of materials indexed in database:
One library isn't likely to carry all the publications indexed in a database. Both size and mission determine the type materials an institution has and the depth of coverage subjects are given. Smaller two-year college libraries aren't likely to carry as many discipline specific publications as a four-year graduate research institution. Also consider, an institution that has a nursing (or other) program will 1) have materials that support the program, and 2) provide coverage of the program based on the type degrees offered, i.e., an institution offering a masters degree in nursing will have more materials on the subject that an institution offering only a bachelors degree in nursing.

There are generally three options for obtaining needed materials: your library; another University System Library; or a library outside the state. Search the GIL online catalog to determine the materials your library has. Search the GIL Universal Catalog, linked from library home pages, to find materials owned by other University System of Georgia libraries. If materials are not available within the state, they can be obtained through interlibrary loan, but if time is a concern, you might want to search a database that would be more likely to offer information that can be found in your home library or at another University System library.

> Unit 6 > GIL

> Unit 5 > The Great GALILEO

WANT MORE on Interlibrary Loans
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Types of databases & their divisions

Formats Type of information divisions
Full-text database
Subject area
Publication type
Availability of materials indexed in database

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