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Choosing a Database: Find Articles & More

Do you need articles for a paper or project? Not sure how to find them? Start here!

What Is a Database?


Databases can include different types of material - articles, documents, images and video.

Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important in academic research.

Colby has 400+ databases that focus on different academic subjects and format types.

Photo with permission of Laine Thielstrom

What is a Scholarly Journal?

Scholarly/Academic Journals...
  • report original research in a specific discipline
  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • often contain articles peer-reviewed by scholarly experts
  • are important to college-level work

Look for an option in databases to limit your results to articles from scholarly peer-reviewed journals.


Need assistance? There are several options to choose from:

We're happy to help!

Photo by Beatnik Photos, Creative Commons, Flickr (CC by 2.0)

How Do I Choose the Right Database for My Need?


Research Guides and Course Guides

screenshot Research How To Guides access

From the Colby Libraries home page:

a. Either click on  undefined (orange bar moves) then  Research Guides

b. OR click on the Guides icon in the Icon Menu on the right. 

c. Choose a guide relevant to your subject  and look for links to recommended databases (and other great resources).



From the Colby Libraries home page:

a. Click on   Databases   (orange bar moves) then Databases by Title/Subject >

b. This takes you to our A-Z Database ListLook at the drop-down menus at the top.

c. Use Subjects drop-down menu to choose your subject area.

d. Use Database Types drop-down menu to choose the type of material you need. Select Journal Articles if you are looking for articles from scholarly journals.

e. Scroll through results to find recommended databases.

Why Use Databases?

Can't I just find what I need on Google?

Most of the material in library databases CANNOT be freely be accessed via Google.

What about the library discovery tool, OneSearch?

OneSearch is an aggregator of multiple library resources. But by throwing a ton of material at you, it's hard to see context or know what's missing. OneSearch can help you find something that matches your keywords, but not necessarily a good source for your needs.

What are the advantages of searching individual databases?

Since curated databases are smaller and more focused, they enable you to see patterns in thought, discover better search terms and discern currents of conversation within a scholarly discipline or format. This helps you find the best source for your needs. Searching multiple databases can provide different lenses into a topic.

Find the Database for a Specific Journal/Magazine

Want to see what database has a particular magazine or journal? 

On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.  

Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.

This take you to a journal record, which has links to databases that contain that periodical. Look closely at the dates to see the range of coverage.  undefined

Note that some of the choices may be a full digital version, but some may only be PDFs of individual articles.

Some popular magazines:

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