Reference Databases


What are Reference Databases?

Reference sources are used to refer or point users to other resources. They are useful tools to find the following:

Some of the more common reference sources include:

A research database is a collection of information stored in an electronic format, often accessible online. Research databases may include text, images, or multimedia. Some research databases offer statistical information; others provide electronic versions of previously published information. Some research databases provide information in the form of abstracts. Some include the full text of the original article.

Bibliographic databases contain citations to publications such as periodical articles, books, or dissertations. Some contain abstracts or summaries of the articles. Bibliographic databases can be divided into general databases which cover a broad range of topics, and subject databases which provide information narrowly focused on specific topics or disciplines.

Full text databases not only provide citations to publications, they also include the actual text of the publication.

The Hartnell College Library home page divides online research databases into the following categories:


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