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Guide for Teaching and Research in Medical and Health Humanities: Databases

Guide for Critical Medical Humanities Courses

About Databases

A database is a structured set of data, that is put into a database software to organize information in many different forms. Our world runs off a series of databases that support the information needs of governments, industry, education, healthcare, recreation, commerce, etc.

Many physical research materials that one traditionally found in libraries and archives – dictionaries, encyclopedias, journals, books, primary sources like artifacts, etc.,  can now be found as digital records and objects in curated databases. Since it is now easy to publish databases on the web, there has been an explosion in the number of new curated databases used in research.

Some databases used for research are freely accessible but many are behind paywalls and require libraries to purchase access to them.

Not all databases work the same in regards to searching the collection, if you need help locating information in the database, use the database help section or Ask a librarian.

Also, some databases are called "abstract" databases, which means that the database just contains abstracts of items like articles in the database, and to get the full text of the article you have to link outside of the database. If we don't have access to the full text use your interlibrary loan or Illiad account to request the full text.

Image Credit: Baik, Christopher & Jagadish, H. & Li, Yunyao. (2019). Bridging the Semantic Gap with SQL Query Logs in Natural Language Interfaces to Databases. 

Featured Public Databases

Image Credit: Poor Henry consults a doctor in Salerno about his leprosy: they sit opposite each other in the doctor's study while the doctor explains his remedy. Aquatint by F. Hegi, 1810.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

Featured Colby Databases

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