Being a savvy online researcher requires skill and practice. This guide provides a brief overview of some common search techniques that you can apply to library databases, online catalogs, and even some internet search engines to retrieve better search results. Databases have some form of controlled vocabulary so using keywords, subjects, boolean operators and other advanced search skills like truncation and wildcards will help you find more relevant results in less time.
A database is a searchable collection of articles from journals and magazines, electronic books, newspapers, images, and reference sources. Some databases contain very general information and others may cover many different subjects, while others are subject-specific. At the NECC Library, we have an A-Z Database List - select the database you would like to use alphabetically by name or use the drop down box to select a recommended database by subject.
Library databases are different than the resources you find with Internet Search Engines like Google, Bing, Ask, or Duck Duck Go. Both can be useful in your research depending on the type of information you are looking for and how you would like to use it.
The table below compares some of the differences between library databases and search engines.
|Library Databases||Search Engines|
|Are paid for by tuition - you need an NECC library card to access them||Find information that is free - can be written/published by anyone regardless of expertise|
|Contain peer-reviewed, scholarly articles written by experts in a professional field||Have few free, scholarly journal articles available|
|Retrieve focused and relevant searches quickly||Can retrieve sites that are not relevant or are outdated|
|Are stable sources of information - the articles do not disappear||Can be time-consuming to narrow down and/or evaluate results|
|Have tools to help create citations||Provide no tools to help create citations|
To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:
APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. Retrieved from URL
MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.