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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

What's a library database?


This short video gives an explanation of library databases and how to use them from a student's perspective. Find the most relevant databases for your area of study with Library Subject Guides.

I got my first uni assignment and my lecturer told me to look in the library databases for journal articles. I was like "the what" but when I got to the university library, a librarian explained it to me She said first you have to get your head around academic journals. These aren't your dear diary journals, right. Academic journals are collections of articles written by experts in an academic discipline. They've usually been reviewed by other academics in the field who have said that the research is original and important and at a high standard. This means that if you use them you'll get better marks than if you use Wikipedia or a random website you found on Google. In the past, journals were always printed. Articles were written and collected in journals which were published at regular intervals. Libraries collected these and filled lots of shelves with them. Then the internet came along and changed the way journals were produced. Now they're more often found online as e-journals. Online e-journals are organized in library databases. A library database is like a bucket. Each holds a collection of e-journals. Some databases hold heaps of journals in them while others don't have that many. The university library subscribes to databases that focus on relevant subjects for RMIT students and researchers. No single database will have all the information you need so you need to find out which ones are best for what you're researching. The library has subject guides that show you which databases are best for your area. It's so much easier to find information when you know where to look and why.