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How to Choose and Use Databases

Search skills that help you find what you're looking for.

Multidisciplinary Databases

... try to cover all subjects.  This means that you'll usually find something on your topic, it's just that the depth of coverage will be shallow.  Subject-specific databases will offer more breadth and depth.  Below are several of LVC's multidisciplinary databases.






Academic Search Ultimate

  • Mix of academic, popular, and news articles.
  • Mix of full-text and citation only.
  • Excellent breadth.
  • Detailed subject headings.
  • Good place to start when you're not sure what database to use.


  • Lack of depth.





  • Selection of core academic journals.
  • All full-text.


  • All journals go back to volume 1.
  • Full-text searching available.
  • Lacks most recent 3-5 years of most journals.
  • Difficult to search.
  • Irregular subject coverage: weak in some fields.




  • Index to the contents of over 16,000 journals.


  • Good breadth.
  • Coverage in science, technology, medicine, social science, business, the humanities, and popular culture.


  • Little full-text.
  • No subject terms.
  • Lack of depth.