Databases for Computing and Communication Technologies

  • Essentially a database is just a collection of information. However when we talk about databases at university then usually we're talking about bibliographic databases. A bibliographic database is a collection of references for books, journal articles, conference articles, technical papers, reports, and other publication types, that all relate to a certain topic. For example, Business Source Complete contains lots of references related to business.
    Quite recently the only information contained in a bibliographic database would have been the reference details. For a journal article this would include at least the author/s, title of the article, date of publication, title of the journal, volume number, page numbers, and perhaps an abstract (an abstract is a summary of a journal article). Using the reference details you could then go and find the full-text of the journal article in a library or online. However, it is becoming more common for bibliographic databases to also contain the full-text of the items on the database, perhaps as PDF files. For example, the SAE Digital Library is an entirely full-text database whereas Business Source Complete has some items full-text and some items that are abstract-only (i.e. all the reference details including the abstract but not the full-text).
    Bibliographic databases make research easier because they bring together a huge range of references (and sometimes the full-text articles) relating to a particular subject into a single place. As such, it is a good idea to use bibliographic databases as they will save you time and improve the range and depth of information resources that you use to write your assignments. For example, if you were researching something to do with business then you could search Business Source Complete for relevant journal articles and reports. Likewise, if you were interested in researching technical aspects of diesel engine design then you could search the SAE Digital Library.