Sometimes people may suggest to you that you 'search the databases' for articles.

A database can be thought of as a collection of information organised in such a way that you can use a search engine to quickly select the bits you want - like an electronic filing system. Traditional databases are made up of files of records - each record being made up of searchable fields.

The library provides access to a lot of databases - many of them of the type called 'bibliographic databases'. In these each record describes a published document (book or article) and there are data fields for the author, title,  subject, publisher, etc. allowing you to search on any of these to find references to books or articles.

Sometimes the whole article in full text is attached to the record and can be retrieved at the same time. Sometimes you will only get a short summary describing the article's content and a 'Locate Full Text' link to help you retrieve the full text version from elsewhere.

Most databases are accessed via the Internet.

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Where and when?

Databases can be accessed by any computer connected to the University network. In order to access the database from outside the University (eg. using a home computer), you will usually need to login. Setting up the VPN can make this easier. In addition, some databases may require you to provide a special username and password when accessed off campus.