This online class goes through what databases are, where to find them, and how to search them. You can navigate between the two sections of this class using the tabs above (Intro to Databases & Searching Databases), and internally within sections using the Table of Contents linked along the left side of each page.
NAIT library subscribes to a wide variety of business, health & medical, engineering, environment, automotive, newspaper, and other subject-specific databases. Articles, eBooks, streaming videos, reviews, and case studies are just a few examples of what you can find in databases provided by vendors such by EBSCOhost, Gale, and ProQuest.
Can't I Just Google?
Search engines such as Google take snapshots of the surface web: pages that are openly available online. Anything that requires a password or has specifically requested not to be indexed by Google will not be visible in a web search.
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Databases provide access to a huge number of valuable, academic sources. As a NAIT student, you have access to full-text articles in thousands of journals through the library databases.
You may discover Internet websites with useful articles, but you may not be able to access them without paying to see the full text of the article. When this happens, try finding them in the library databases instead. The library pays a subscription fee so you can access articles in the databases and have a wide range of information at your fingertips.
You can use the databases to search for a wide variety of online information sources in scholarly journals, trade journals, e-books, newspapers or magazines. If instructors say, "Don't use Internet resources," they do not mean databases.
The library search tool pulls together search results from many different databases simultaneously, which can be a helpful way to search, especially when starting out. As your research topic becomes more specific, however, going directly into the individual databases gives you more search tools to find precisely what you need.
As a NAIT student, you can access the databases at your convenience (any time of the day or night!). As NAIT databases are restricted for use by students and staff, you'll be prompted to authenticate by entering your username and password.
Links to the databases are available from multiple locations on the library website - just look for the phrase "Resource Collections & Databases." Databases are arranged by subject, although you also have the option to look through the alphabetical list of all of our databases.
Once you have selected a database, click its name. If you are not logged in elsewhere, it will ask you to agree to Access & Conditions of Use, then prompt you to log in with your NAIT username and password.
Periodicals that provide industry information are called trade publications and are appropriate sources of information for assignments.
Examples of trade publications found in the Academic Search Complete database include Machine Design, Chemical Week, Ceramics Technical, Technology Review, ENR: Engineering News Record, and Architectural Review.
Magazines and newspapers are often called popular periodicals.
Magazines and newspapers:
Examples of popular periodicals found in the OmniFile database may include Maclean's, PC World, Newsweek, Stitches Magazine, Horticulture, and Canadian Business.
Scholarly periodicals are often known as academic journals.
Most databases that have both scholarly journals and popular or trade periodicals will give you the option to narrow your search to only scholarly journals. Examples of scholarly publications found in the Academic Search Complete database include International Journal of Smart & Nano Materials, Journal of Mechanical Engineering, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, and Journal of Business & Psychology.
What do you do once you've found a scholarly article? Reading and understanding scholarly, scientific work can be a very different experience from reading anything else. Give yourself ample time to work through all the content.
Searching for online journal, magazine, and newspaper articles in the databases is an effective way to:
You can search for journal articles as quickly and easily as you search the web, but the quality of the results from databases are scholarly and credible.
Databases are web-based (but are NOT freely available to the public using search engines) and are updated daily with new articles. The contents of new journal issues are added to the databases as soon as the articles are released, often before the print copy hits the shelves. You can limit your searching to full-text articles, allowing you to read the entire document on your computer screen. You can also print or save the article.