Information & Research Instruction Suite (IRIS)

Periodical Articles

The right tool for finding articles: databases

Throughout your college years, you will need to find articles for papers, speeches, and other projects. Generally, when you are instructed to find an article, your instructor intends for you to use an article from a reputable periodical publication, such as a newspaper, magazine or journal.

Whatever kind of article you are instructed to find, the best type of tool for finding it is on your library's web site. The tool to use is an article database.

A database is a searchable collection of information, usually in electronic format. Each unique item in a database is stored in a record, which has one or more searchable fields. Records in a database often have something in common with each other. For example: The Library Book Catalog is a database of records for items that are owned and located at a specific library. Research Library Complete, a periodical index, is a ProQuest database containing records of articles in newspapers, magazines and journals.


After completing this tutorial, you should be able to:

  • Specify a database as a search tool for finding articles.
  • Recognize parts of a citation in an online index.
  • Identify similarities and differences between the library's subscription databases and Google Scholar.
  • List three or four search hints for finding information in article databases.
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updated: 16 March, 2010