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Cowles Library


FYS #32 - New York, New York

Library Web Site- Overview

Good Databases for New York, New York

Web vs. Databases (or, why you shouldn't just use Google!)

Web Databases
  • Varies and is difficult to verify.
  • Cannot limit to professional, scholarly literature.
  • Web content is seldom regulated; anyone with Internet access can post content.
  • Easy to determine.
  • Credentials often provided in standardized format, so you don't need to hunt for them.
  • Most contain only scholarly literature or offer a scholarly/peer-reviewed search filter.
  • Lack of subject focus can result in numerous irrelevant hits – or "junk" – to wade through.
  • Much web information is opinionated and biased.
  • Quantity does not equal Quality.
  • Focus by subject (business, art, American history) and/or format (journals, books, reviews) often means more relevant information and less time wasted dealing with junk.
  • Information comes from legitimate, quality-controlled, published sources.
Search features
  • Varies by search engine, but often limited.
  • Can limit by document type (.doc, .pdf) or language, but limiting by publication date, format (article, book, etc.), scholarly/peer-reviewed is unavailable.
  • Numerous advanced search features determined by database subject focus, e.g., limiting by publication type, date, language, document format, scholarly/peer-reviewed status.
  • The list of features is as long as the number of databases available.

Access to published

  • Web information often lives and dies on the Web and can come from anyone with Internet access.
  • Seldom is the information coming from legitimate published sources: magazines, academic journals, books, etc. When it is, the user usually has to pay to access it.
  • Deal only with published information; that is, information that originally appeared in print: magazine and journal articles, books, etc.
  • More stable than the web. Through the library's paid access, all of this information is available to you, the user, for free.

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