Internet vs. Databases: Grudge Match of the Decade (14)

January 7, 2008

What’s the difference between using the Internet for research and using one of the databases on the library’s website?

The Internet is adept at assembling general and current information, but does not currently offer in-depth material used in research. Web sources seldom undergo vigorous editorial review process. Anyone can publish whatever they want to a blog or web site, so it is not considered a credible source for research. Once students have established basic facts on a topic, they should turn to database sources and the library print collection.

Databases feature printed journal and magazine articles rather than web features. They gather material from various publications, digitize it, and index it online. The information undergoes an editorial or peer-review process before publication. Use databases for school reports, medically-sound information on health issues, repairing cars and trucks, etc.

“But I can’t use the Internet”
I don’t know about you, but I hear this a lot. And it is the library’s duty to help students understand the difference. Magazine articles in databases do not constitute the Internet. When teachers explicitly prohibit students from using the Internet in their papers, this generally refers to content on the world wide web.

Many of our databases are provided through TEL, the Tennessee Electronic Library. Take a look at TEL.

All databases are accessible from the database section of the website, under Research & Subject guides.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Pretend you’re in Jr. High School – think back to the embarrassing hair, rolled up jeans, whatever gets you there.
2. Find two articles about climate change. One needs to be a current news story and one needs to be from a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
3. Were you able to find both sources on the world wide web, or did you have to use another resource?
4. Take the survey.

2 Responses to “Internet vs. Databases: Grudge Match of the Decade (14)”

  1. Ed Grubbs Says:

    “Global food crisis: Hungry Countries Face Double Whammy” Marcia Clemitt CQ Researcher, June 2008 p558 (5)

    “Climate Change implications for wind power resources in the northwest U.S. Rennewable energy mov 2000
    p2383 (14)

  2. Jenny Says:

    Nice articles! Is that second one a gov doc? It sounds very gov-doc-ish.

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