Skip to main content
Humanities Libertexts

4.5: Online Database Searching

  • Page ID
    7377
  • [ "article:topic" ]

    TRCC Video Tutorials

    To illustrate the key principles of working with online databases, below are several videos about accessing databases at TRCC. There are other videos available on the TRCC Tutorial Page located here.

    Video: Finding Full Text Articles in Library Databases

    Video: Searching Academic Search Premier for full text articles

    Print Sources or Electronic?

    In the early years of the Internet, there was a wide-spread mistrust of the World Wide Web and the information it had to offer. While some of this mistrust is still present, including among writing teachers and students, the undeniable fact is that the authority of the Internet as a legitimate and reliable source of information has increased considerably in recent years. For example, academic journals in almost every discipline compliment their printed volumes with web versions, and some have gone completely online. These online journals employ the same rigorous submission review processes as their printed counterparts. Complete texts of academic and other books are sometimes available on the Internet. Respected specialized databases and government document collections are published entirely and exclusively online. 

    Print and electronic sources are not created equal, and, although online and other electronic texts are gaining ground rather quickly as legitimate research resources, there is still a wide-spread, and often justified, opinion among academics and other writers that printed materials make better research sources. Some materials that are available in some libraries simply cannot be found online and vice versa. For example, if you are a Shakespeare scholar wishing to examine manuscripts from the Elizabethan times, you will not find them online. To get to them, you will have to visit the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, or a similar repository of scholarship on Shakespeare. On the other hand, if you are researching the Creative Commons movement which is a community dedicated to reforming copyright laws in this country, then your best bet is to begin your search on the Internet at http://www.creativecommons.org/. Surely, after reading the website, you will need to augment your research by reading other related materials, both online and in print, but in this case, starting online rather than in the library is a reasonable idea.

    As a researching writer, you should realize that, inherently, printed and electronic sources are not bad or good. Both kinds can be reliable and unreliable, although with printed materials, publishers and libraries take care of not letting utterly unreliable works through to readers. Both kinds can be appropriate and inappropriate for a specific research project. It is up to researchers and writers to learn how to select both print and electronic sources judiciously and how to evaluate them for their reliability and appropriateness for these writers’ research and writing purposes.

    • Was this article helpful?