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Database Basics

This guide is an introduction to library databases. It covers topics including what library databases are, what they offer, why you should use and how to access them.

What is a library database?

A library database is an organized collection of electronic information. It is searchable in a variety of ways, e.g. keyword, title, author, subject, and more.

What can I find in library databases?

The Mt. SAC Library subscribes to over 100 databases that cover a wide range of topics in different content types including:

  • articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers
  • ebooks 
  • specialized encyclopedia entries
  • streaming videos
  • images 

A-Z Database List

Why should I use a library database?


Library Databases

(Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, Credo Reference)

The Web

(Google, Bing, Yahoo)

Access Information is stable. Through the library, current students have 24/7 access and for free. Information lives and dies on the Web. Scholarly information may exist but you usually have to pay to access it. 
Search Features Numerous search features, e.g. limiting by publication type, date, searching using subject terms, and more. Varies by search engine, but often limited.
Number of Results Dozens to hundreds of results, more manageable.  Millions of results, overwhelming.
Relevance Focus by subject (art, business, history) and/or format (journals, books, videos). More relevant information from quality sources. Lack of subject focus. Credible information exists alongside misinformation and opinion. No gatekeepers.
Authority Easy to determine. Many databases allow you to limit results to scholarly/peer-reviewed literature.  Information can come from anyone with Internet access. Difficult to verify authority. Can't limit to scholarly literature.  

How to access the databases?

Use your portal username & password for off-campus or mobile access.

Contact the IT Help Desk (909) 274-4357 if you have problems getting into the portal.

Follow the troubleshooting tips to bypass certificate errors.