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English 101: Library Databases

This guide will help English 101 students with library research

What is a library database?

Library Databases are the most efficient and fastest way to find in-depth, credible articles for your research.

In them, you can find:

  • Online articles from a wide variety of sources (newspapers, magazines, journals, etc.) and covering a variety of subjects that are mostly full-text and are searchable using keywords and search terms.
  • Tools so you can find citations for an article, use filters to search for specific date ranges, limit by source type, or locate peer-reviewed or scholarly articles more easily.

Here is another definition:

"library database is a searchable electronic index of published, reliable resources. Databases provide access to a wealth of useful research materials from academic journals, newspapers, and magazines. Some databases also include e-books, relevant Web resources, and various multimedia." ~ from Berkeley College

  • REMEMBER: Databases are NOT Internet sources. They require "authentication". In other words, they are accessible to current SVC students only. To access the SVC databases, enter your MySVC/ email/ Canvas username and password to use them.

Searching Library Databases

To search the Skagit Valley College Library Databases, you can start from the library homepage:

There are 2 ways to search databases:

  1. You can select a database from the dropdown menu: 


       2.Or you can select from the A-Z List:


When off campus, you will be prompted for your login and password.  Enter your mysvc/Canvas login (email address) and password.  


       Password: ???????????

Selected Library Databases

The library provides many different databases.  

Listed below are a few of the most popular ones that might be helpful for your research assignments:

Know Your Sources

How do I know if I should look in a database?

Where you look depends on the kinds of information you need. This chart helps where to look for different types of information.

Good search strategies often include multiple types of sources.Chart showing spectrum of information on the internet versus library databases

Information to the left of the dotted line:

The information to the left of the dotted line is information found on the Internet, which includes Wikipedia, online news sources and broadcast media. This information is produced quickly; sometimes daily, hourly, or second to second. 

Information to the right of the dotted line:

The information to the right of the dotted line includes information in electronic formats (found online) or in print formats. These types of information include books, scholarly journals, encyclopedia articles, and raw data. These information types can take up to months or years to produce. They cannot always be found on the free web (like in a Google search), but can be found through the library

Steps for Searching Databases



  • Make a list of keywords or search terms



  • Try using 1 keyword first, before trying the Boolean connectors: AND, OR, or NOT to combine 2 or more concepts.


  • Too many records ? Consider changing your terms or narrow your topic to something more specific, for example:
    • Instead of "dogs" try "service dogs"
    • Try a specific group (like "young adults"),
    • Try a certain geographical location (like "United States"),
    • Try a specific date range (like "2015-2020")
  • Too few records? Try synonyms, fewer keywords, or broader terms. Use OR between terms to expand the search, for example:
    • Instead of "service canines that help with post traumatic stress syndrome", try "service dogs" AND PTSD OR trauma


  • Make sure you can locate full-text articles (pdf or html format) then email, download or print


  • Almost all of the databases have a tools that will provide a citation in any format for an article. Look to right side for a "cite" button 


  • If you aren't finding what you need, or if you are feeling confident and want to keep going, try looking at other databases or in other sources. Or Ask a Librarian for help.

Build a Search Strategy

Academic Search Complete Database Tutorial

Proquest Database Tutorial

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