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Internet Search vs. Database Search

Internet Search:
When you search information through search engines like Google and social encyclopedias like Wikipedia, you are searching the "free" areas of the Internet. Anyone can put up a web site, so you have to evaluate the web site in order to determine if the information is accurate and reliable. 

Online Library Databases:
Banting Library provides access to online databases. The library subscribes to these databases for a fee then provides access to our patrons. The databases contain information from newspapers, magazines, and encyclopedias. The materials come from publishers, so they have been checked for accuracy and reliability. The databases do not do not include advertisements. Some of them only provide an Abstract, or short summary of the article instead of the full-text. In this case, you would have to go to the print source to get a copy of the full article.

When do I use the Internet and when do I use a database?

Use databases when you want:

  • Journal articles
  • Magazine and newspaper articles
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Biographical information
  • Statistical information

Databases are available from home with a library password (if you have a computer with Internet access).

Use the Internet when you:

  • Are willing to evaluate the web site's content
  • Want to go to a specific web site
  • Want information on a unique topic
  • Want government information such as tax forms    
  • Want other world-wide sites

The Internet does have some excellent information - including some information that is not available anywhere else. You just have to be willing to sort through the information and determine what is reliable.