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Fast Track : Databases

A student's guide to high-performance research


The Internet has made a radical difference in providing access to information quickly and broadly. However, not all information is available on the Internet, and of the information that is on the Internet, not all of it is free or reliable.

One example of information that lives on the Internet but costs a substantial amount of money to provide is the information found in the databases that BGSU Libraries subscribes to. What are databases? For the most part, our databases help you locate articles, ebooks, and images, among other resources, on a particular topic and frequently link you to full-text electronic copies of articles--in other words, articles you can access and email or print from your computer.

There are several benefits to using library databases:

  • They have sophisticated search features that enable you to find more relevant articles efficiently.
  • The quality of information is more reliable and typically more appropriate for academic exercises.
  • There are usually no banner advertisements or commercial web sites mixed in your results.

How to Pick a Database

The BGSU Libraries subscribes to more than 250 different databases, some of which are interdisciplinary, covering a wide variety of subjects, and some of which are for a specific discipline, like psychology or business. With so many databases to choose from, you need to make use of the subject categories and additional information  to help you select one or a few.

Visit our Ask Us! page to explore a variety of possibilities for getting help.

A Good Starting Point: Using Academic Search Complete to Locate Articles

A good place to start your research on almost any topic is Academic Search Complete. This is a large scholarly, multi-disciplinary, full-text database designed specifically for academic institutions. Containing full-text to thousands of scholarly publications, this collection provides coverage for nearly all academic areas of study—including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, ethnic studies, and more.

Ebsco Host Connect: Academic Search Complete (an EBSCO database)

Need some help? Check out EBSCO's Basic Search Video Tutorial

Getting the Article: Find It!

Once you retrieve a list of articles on a given topic, you’re still not done. Browse through your list of results, read abstracts when they are available, and identify potential sources meeting your needs. 

After you identify a potential source, your next step is to find out whether or not the article is available full text or in print.

Find It! is a mechanism embedded in most databases to help users identify potential sources of full text and print options.

Don’t forget to ask for help from a librarian if you are having difficulty deciphering Find It! information.

Off Campus or Using a Wireless Device?

If you are off campus or using wireless device you will be prompted for your BGSU username and password (the same as email). Visit Remote Access for more information.

Core Concepts

Whether you're searching Summon, Google, or a database, several general core research concepts apply.  Check the help pages of any tool for more specific guidelines.

Search Tip!

Most of the EBSCO databases, including Academic Search Complete, have a visual search feature that can help you explore your topic and figure out search terms. Watch this short video to see how it works:

A Different Approach to Scholarly Articles