This guide explains in a general sense what library databases are and how to use them, then shows examples from some database vendors found in the SDCC Library's A-Z Databases List.
In the basic sense, a database is a searchable collection of things. For example, it could be a sock collection (sort by color, size, brand, or textile); it could be a set of telephone numbers in your mobile phone (sort by name); or it could a file cabinet full of patient records at a doctor's office (sort by name or medical record number). When you walk through the aisles of books on the Library's third floor, you're actually walking through a huge book database (sort by call number)!
The SDCC Library has 60+ databases (also called online databases or electronic databases) that house collections of articles that were published in journals, magazines and/or newspapers. The Library also has several databases that are collections of videos and films.
SDCC Library provides online databases as a means to find credible information that is suitable to support your academic studies. The Web, in contrast, has information of varying quality since anyone can post anything they want without editors or gatekeepers.
Where do research articles come from? How do they end up in your search results? This video has the answers. (2 min 28 sec)
Article databases at SDCC Library provide readings that have gone through an editorial process prior to being published. The level of academic credibility may vary with format (academic journal vs magazine vs newspaper).
Some scholarly journals may have quite a rigorous editorial process, requiring the article pass through a panel of experts (peers) that reviews the article before it is allowed to be published. That process may be called "peer-reviewed" or "refereed".
How do articles get peer reviewed? What role does peer review play in scholarly research and publication? Watch this video to find out. (3 min 15 sec)
San Diego City College Library has over 60 online databases, which are electronic collections that include academic articles, e-books, and streaming videos. These collections are available to you 24 hours per day on the A-Z Databases page.
The Library licenses these collections from various vendors, including EBSCO, Gale, Congressional Quarterly (CQ), Oxford, and ProQuest. This means the look and feel of each vendor's interface will differ, though the skills you need to search through the collections are basically the same.
Our major collections are listed below by vendor. Each collection has a page in this guide (or a related guide) with details for finding, viewing and downloading items.
Many of SDCC Library's databases contain scholarly articles, and there are several ways to find them using OneSearch, EBSCO Articles link, and the A-Z Databases list. This video will quickly show you each method. If you view it on YouTube, a descriptive transcript below the screen will give more detail.
NOTE: The library web site has been updated, so the layout of the screens may vary a bit, but the content is similar.
Access to Databases at Mesa College Library and Miramar College Library:
Due to licensing agreements, access to San Diego City College databases are restricted to users registered at San Diego City College. However, if you were teaching or taking classes at more than one college in the SDCCD district (City AND Mesa, for example), you have access to those colleges' databases.
Public Library Databases
More online databases may be found at local public libraries, which you can use after you get one of their free library cards. Often their databases complement those at City and you are funding these with your tax dollars, so it's worth a look to see what they have.
How the login system works: You are automatically eligible only if you are currently taking a class or teaching a class.
Students: When you click on a database link or an e-book, you will be prompted for your 10-digit student ID number and last name. Type in your last name exactly the way you are registered for classes (usually how it appears on your student ID card). You must be currently taking at least one City College class and have fully paid your tuition and fees in order to log in. If you are having problems with your login, please email email@example.com
Staff: You are not automatically added to the system from PeopleSoft. To request a login, or if you are having problems logging in, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty: You are automatically added to the system from PeopleSoft if you are teaching in the current semester/session. If your status is different, or you are having problems with your login, please email email@example.com
Some databases require that your browser be set to accept all cookies.
Security software may interfere with a database's user authentication protocol. You may have to temporarily disable it in order to connect to a database.