Compare Databases and Library Catalogs
What is a database?
- Library databases allow you to efficiently search for published information such as magazine,
journal, and newspaper articles. Library databases can be general (all disciplines) or discipline-specific (e.g. a psychology
Why use a database?
Reliable - Many articles found in library databases have undergone a peer
review process and are generally more reliable than information found on the Internet.
Additionally, databases provide all the information you need to evaluate a source for credibility
(such as author name, publication details, and a summary).
Relevant - Library databases allow you to customize your search to get the
most relevant results. You can search using keywords, discipline-specific terminology, subject
headings, and descriptors. You can also search by author, title, and limit your results using
various criteria (date, source type, etc.).
Accessible - Databases often provide access to the full-text of an article so
you do not need to go to the library to retrieve it in person. Additionally, databases access
is purchased by libraries for its patrons which allows you to access otherwise pricey information
at no charge.
What databases does the Undergraduate Library recommend for getting started?
Search Complete - Great general database to find articles on most topics.
Find Articles Guide -
Need a more focused database? Find a list of the Undergraduate Library's top-recommended discipline-specific
What is a library catalog?
- A library catalog allows you to search for items owned by a specific library. Items you may
find in a catalog include books, movies, journals, magazines, music scores, government documents,
Why use a library catalog?
- Use a library catalog to find items the library owns, where they are located, and if they are
available to check out.
What library catalogs does the Undergraduate Library recommend for getting started?
Local Library Catalogs
Catalog - Find and request materials owned by UIUC. Search by author, title, subject
heading, or keywords.
Catalog - Also allows you to find materials owned by UIUC, but has the functionality
to search by call number.
Catalog: Course Reserves - Find materials on reserve for your classes.
Off-Campus Library Catalogs
I-Share - Find and
request items in the joint catalog shared by U of I and 80+ other academic libraries in the state
WorldCat - Search,
find, and order books, or find journals and other library materials worldwide.
Catalog - Find materials (e.g. popular fiction and audiobooks) owned by Champaign
Public Library and Urbana Free Library.