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Using Databases at Oakton

Learn how to get the most out of commonly searched Oakton Library databases.

What is a database?

A database is a collection of data that is organized and retrievable. When we talk about databases in a library, we are usually talking about tools that you can use to search and access published materials like articles, books, images, videos, etc. 

While you access them through the internet, the databases you find through the Library are different than regular websites. The Library pays to subscribe to databases. Much of the material you find in Library databases is not available for free online, which means it is accessible to you only while you are an Oakton student. You can access any of these databases on campus or by logging in with your myOakton username and password if you are off campus.

Video: What are databases and why you need them

Length: 2:35

Why use library databases?

More information: Library databases give you access to information that you cannot find on the general internet.

Quality: Library databases contain published information. This means there has already been some quality control and vetting of information prior to publishing, unlike the internet, where anyone can publish anything. Databases are not perfect--you should still critically evaluate everything--but you can have a little more confidence in what you find.

No additional cost: While free tools like Google Scholar might help you discover materials, you often cannot get them without paying. Oakton has already paid to subscribe to our databases, meaning there is no extra cost for you beyond what you already pay to attend Oakton.

More specific search options: Databases offer many ways to limit your search, such as dates, type of publication, subject/topic, and much more. This means you can create more specific searches than you can with a general search engine.