When you need complete, thorough information and answers you can trust, you probably turn to Google. But there’s a better way to get comprehensive, reliable and relevant information. Online library databases deliver superior results and offer much that search engines do not.

What’s so great about databases? This article explains why they are the smart choice for quality research. We’ll share the reasons databases are brilliant and show you how they can work hard for you.

What are databases?

  • Library databases are online collections of thousands of quality journal articles
  • Databases can be general or focus on specific subjects like medicine or business
  • Articles undergo rigorous peer review processes, unlike information on the internet
  • Databases offer an efficient, sophisticated way to locate published information

Here’s our list of the best things academic databases offer.

The information is verified and reliable

Anyone can make a website or publish their thoughts and opinions on the internet. That means online information is often inaccurate, untrue or impossible to verify. With databases, you can be sure the content only comes from reputable publishers.  If you’re making critical business decisions, you can trust the quality of the material.

You’ll get the right results, fast

Most of us are familiar with the feeling of spending hours trawling the internet but coming up empty handed. Search engines deliver millions of hits, but more isn’t always better. With databases, it’s easy to use the sophisticated search function to find results fast. You’ll see relevant results and less clutter. Using databases will cut down on the time you spend searching individual sites. It will take less effort too, and you’ll end up with more comprehensive results.

The interface is customisable to support your goals

It’s difficult to browse by topic or undertake a sophisticated search on the internet. Databases offer many ways to help you organise your search so that you find what you need. You can search by keyword, subject or heading. Databases will recognise discipline-specific terminology, which search engines often don’t. It’s easy to search by author, title or others, and limit your results by criteria like language or format. Once you’ve set up a customised search, you can save it to use again.

It’s easy to stay up to date

Many internet sites offer subject alerts, but the depth of content often isn’t there. Topic alerts often yield wildly inaccurate results, and you waste time sifting through them. Alerts from academic databases can be highly customised. You get targeted, relevant results. Staying up to date with the latest literature in your areas of interest is a breeze.

Clean interface with no rubbish

Most content on the internet is sponsored, so advertising crops up on every page. These advertisements can be distracting or misleading. The databases won’t irritate you with ads or popups. All you’ll see is robust information and a clean search page. With few distractions, you’ll get a better return on your time investment. You’ll find it simpler to stay focused and find what you want.

No filtering – just the results you ask for

Ever noticed that the results you get from Google vary depending on factors like the time of year or where you are? That’s because search engines filter their results to what they think you want to see. Their algorithms are derived from your online activity and browsing history. However, results from the databases are unfiltered.  You’ll see the same search results regardless of your location or what you have searched for in the past.

How to access academic databases

Access to most databases doesn’t come cheaply. Subscriptions are usually purchased by libraries and organisations who provide access to registered users.  While some databases are now available through open access arrangements, many remain subscriber-only. Unfortunately, it is difficult for others to access these without charge.

Information professionals can advise you about the best way to obtain information in the databases or conduct searches on your behalf.

Contact us to find out more about how Altitude Information can work with you to help you access the results you need.