Articles, Journals, and Databases: What's the difference?
This video will describe the difference between articles, journals and databases to help you better understand what you're searching.
Articles, Journals, and Databases...What's the difference?
Knowing the difference between articles, journals and databases can help you search efficiently and cite correctly. This video will explore the differences between these 3 different resources.
Researchers often write scholarly articles to document the findings of their research. One of the main ways researchers share their findings is by publishing their articles in scholarly journals.
These journals are like magazines, but are collections for scholarly, not popular, writing. Similar to magazines, scholarly journals often have a focus. Just as a magazine might focus on current events, a scholarly journal might focus on environmental science. Just like how you can find many different magazines that publish on current events, there are many journals published on the same or similar topics.
The University of Guelph library provides you access to over 55,000 scholarly journals! Searching for articles within each journal one by one would take a really long time. This is where databases come in!
To increase the likelihood that people will read the articles published in journals, journal publishers often make their articles searchable through databases.
When you type words into a database, the database scans the text of articles from numerous journals at once.
Some databases are able to scan the whole text, others are only scan portions such as the title or the abstract.
Some databases can search for your words in the articles of hundreds of journals! So, instead of having to search journal after journal looking for articles on your topic, you can search the articles of multiple journals at once using a database.
There is no database out there that is able to search every journal at once, so researchers often consult more than one database.
Like journals, databases are usually topic specific.
The Library has hundreds of subject-specific databases. In addition, ProQuest and EBSCOhost are commonly known database platforms.
They are not databases themselves, but are tools that allow you to search multiple databases at once, broadening your search.
Omni, which is the Library’s search engine, is an example of another tool that can search more than one database at a time.
Omni is different than other database platforms because it is not always clear which databases are included in the search.
To review: Articles are the documents that researchers write detailing their findings.
Journals publish collections of articles on a specific topic.
Databases provide access to multiple journals at once. Lastly, database platforms allow access to multiple databases.
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