Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Periodical Database Basics

Periodical databases are your tool for finding information about, and full copies of, periodical articles. Read on to understand what this means...

What is a Periodical? A periodical is a publication that is published periodically, like popular newspapers, magazines, scholarly peer-reviewed journals, yearbooks, and news websites. Periodicals are a great source of up-to-date information because, unlike books, they are updated more quickly and frequently.

What is a Database? Quite simply, a database is a searchable collection of information, in this case about the articles contained in periodicals. A periodical database helps you find  information about these articles and, in many cases, provides a full copy which you can read, save, or print to keep.

What is the difference between a General and Subject database? General databases like Academic Search Complete provide you with information about periodicals and articles covering a wide range of subjects. They include information about both popular and scholarly peer-reviewed literature. Subject databases provide you with information about periodicals and articles covering a specific subject and tend to focus more on scholarly peer reviewed literature. For example, the ERIC database focuses on literature and research in education.

Where do I find Periodical Databases appropriate for my research? First navigate to the relevant research guide for your assignment from the Research Guides home page. Second, click on the Databases link at the top of the research guide. On the Databases page, you will find a list of hand-picked periodical databases for your subject area.

Some Popular General Databases...

  • This scholarly collection provides journal coverage for most academic areas of study including biological sciences, economics, communications, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts and literature, medical sciences and women's studies.

  • JSTOR is an online digital journal storage database that offers high-resolution, scanned images of journal back issues and pages. JSTOR is not a current issue database.

  • Provides full text for periodicals. Coverage includes nearly all subjects including general reference, business, health, and much more.

Some Popular Subject Databases...

  • The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) database consists of the Resources in Education (RIE) file of document citations and the Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE) file of journal article citations from over 980 professional journals in the field of education. ERIC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • PsycINFO, from the American Psychological Association (APA), contains more than 2 million citations and summaries of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations, all in psychology and related disciplines, dating as far back as the 1800s. The database also includes information about the psycho-logical aspects of related fields such as medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, anthropology, business, law and others.

  • A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed provides access to over 11 million citations from MEDLINE and additional life science journals. PubMed in-cludes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources. 

  • SocINDEX with Full Text offers comprehensive coverage of sociology, encompassing all sub-disciplines and closely related areas of study. These include abortion, criminology & criminal justice, demography, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, marriage & family, political sociology, religion, rural & urban sociology, social development, social psychology, social structure, social work, socio-cultural anthropology, sociological history, sociological research, sociological theory, substance abuse & other addictions, violence and many others.