Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Database Intro Guide

Learn how to use Western Library databases to find articles and video for homework and research assignments.

What is a Database?

   A Database is a Searchable Collection of Online Resources.

  • Popular Sources: newspapers, magazines, trade journals, streaming video, books and ebooks of general interest
  • Scholarly Sources: academic journals, scholarly/peer-reviewed articles, and books written by experts and professionals for specific interests and audience. 
  • Fact-checked information
  • Purchased/subscribed to by college and public libraries
  • Free to students and the public for with student ID or library card 
  • Different databases have different types of sources.
    • Reference databases: a variety of topics
      • Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, almanacs, etc,
      • Credo Reference, Britannica, Funk & Wagnall New World Encyclopedia
    • Multiple-topic databases: a variety of topics 
      • Newspaper, magazines, trade journal academic journals, ebooks, streaming video
      • Examples: Academic Search Premier (EBSCO), Academic OneFile (Gale) , MasterFILE Complete (EBSCO) , Films on Demand, General OneFile, College (Gale in Context)
    • Subject-specific databases: single topic
      • Newspaper, magazines, trade journals academic journals, ebooks, streaming video, data, statistics, reports, charts
      • Examples: Business: Insights Global, Nexis Uni, Nursing and Allied Health (ProQuest), Psychology (Gale OneFile), Horticulture and Gardening (Gale OneFile), Criminal Justice Database (ProQuest), CultureGrams, Literature Resource Center (EBSCO), World History (Gale in Context)
    • Issues databases; current events and social issues
      • Newspaper, magazines, pro-con viewpoints, social issues, current events, podcasts
      • Examples: Opposing Viewpoints (Gale in Context), SIRS Issues Researcher (ProQuest), Contemporary Women's Issues (Gale OneFile), Gender Studies (Gale OneFile).

You can search library databases using: keywords, titles, authors, magazine or newspaper names, subject links found in each of the databases.

Tool iconFilter icon

Databases have tools and filters to help you you narrow in on the articles you need.

  • Basic and Advanced Search Boxes - enter a single word, or multiple words
  • Results Lists - a list of sources that match the terms you entered into the search box.
    • Pay attention to: Type of  Source, Descriptions, Subjects, and Dates
  • Full-Text Filter - click the this box to eliminate articles that show only a summary and not the complete article.
  • Other Filter Tools - narrow your search by date, types of sources, subjects, language, etc
  • Item Records - when you click on the title of an article in the Results List - you will see a page of details that include the name of the author and source, lists of Subject Terms (useful for further searches), and abstracts (summary of article)
  • Email, Save, or Download Tools
  • Citation Tools - copy/paste the citation into your paper. (They may or may not be 100% correct, double-check with a guide manual)

Western Library Databases - Keeping Track of Your Articles

What can I do if I have too many results when I search?

funnel iconUse database filters to narrow the results.

Depending on the database look on the left, right, or top of the page of results for filters such as:

  • Full Text
  • Peer-Reviewed
  • Publication Date
  • Subjects
  • Types of Publication or Document Type
    • Newspapers
    • Magazine
    • Academic Journals
    • Images
    • Video
    • ... and more

How can I save a link to the articles I find?

When you find an article for your assignment you'll want to keep track of it. 

There are 2 ways to do icon

  1. On the article page look for icons that let you email the article to yourself. Depending on the database you will see options to: E-mail, Share, or Send-To
  2. On the article page look for icons that let provide a link so you can copy/paste the article link into a document. Depending on the database look for Permalink, Page Link, or Get Link

Warning iconDo NOT use the browse URL at the top of the page, it does not link back to your article.

toolbox icon


How can I find and keep track of article citations?


Depending on the database, at the top or right of the article page look for icons that let you email, download, print, or find the citation for your article (and more!). Keep an eye out for buttons that say:

  • Cite or Citation
  • Print
  • Download
  • Email, Share, Send To

Looking for more tutorials and information about databases?

video  iconLink below to videos and information about Western Library's most popular databases. Use the links on the left side of the page to learn more about using specialty databases.

Western Technical College
Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2020, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email or call 608-785-9524.