How databases and online catalogs differ
Databases are collections of computer records that have a common format and content, organized
for rapid search and retrieval. The databases used in libraries for information retrieval most
often locate individual articles and provide information about items contained in larger sources,
such as periodicals (magazines, journals, and newspapers).
Why use a database?
- Using a database allows you to search for information in an organized collection. This
organization provides more relevant results through the use of subject headings and descriptors.
You may also search for keywords in specific fields, such as author and title, and limit your
results using various criteria (date, source type, etc.).
- Databases also provide information in known sources such as printed magazines and journals. The
content found in databases has undergone a peer review process and the information is more reliable
than information found on the Internet.
- Often databases provide access to full-text journal and magazine articles.
What are some examples of databases?
- Samples of databases include:
- Links to commonly used databases can be found by clicking on the
Find Articles link beneath the search box on the Undergraduate Library home
Online Library Catalog
A library catalog provides information describing resources owned by a specific library.
UIUC's Online Library Catalog
provides access to materials owned by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
including books, movies, journals, magazines, newspapers, sound recordings, music scores, maps and
Why use a library catalog?
- Use a library catalog to find items the library owns, where they are located, and their
availability status. For assistance in using the UIUC Online Library Catalog, there are a number of
guides available for conducting various searches. View a list of
VuFind Online Catalog Guides.
What catalogs are available to use?
U of I
Online Library Catalog
Find items by author, title, subject heading, or keywords. Includes all items found in
the Classic Catalog. Note: no call number search or limiting to U of I branch libraries.
Find items by title, journal title, author, subject heading, call number, or
keywords. Limiting to U of I branch libraries is possible.
U of I Course Reserves
Find materials on reserve in the University Library.
Find items in the joint catalog shared by U of I and 75 other academic libraries in the state
Search, find, and order book loans or find journals and other library materials
Local Public Libraries
Find materials (e.g., popular fiction and audiobooks) in 60 area public libraries including
Champaign and Urbana. Requesting available to LINC card holders.
Center for Research
Find unique and hard to find primary research material, Order via