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Wellesley College Research Guides

AMST 242: American Reckonings

Because SuperSearch contains so much content from so many different kinds of sources, the results can sometimes be hard to focus. At the same time, SuperSearch is not comprehensive and can miss key sources. To search with more focus, precision, and depth, be sure to try searching individual databases as well.

Intro to Library Databases

What is a database?

Databases are resources that contain information that is organized to make it easier to search and access. The most common kind of library databases contain articles from academic journals and other publications, but there are many kinds of databases — databases for images, videos, data, news, and many other kinds of sources!

Why should I use a library database?

  • Databases contain information not available through general internet search engines (such as Google)
    • Many articles that are usually behind paywalls can be accessed through library databases. Wellesley College subscribes to over 300 different databases!
  • Databases are often specialized by subject area (such as history, sociology, art, film/media studies, psychology, etc.)
    • Searching in subject-specific databases means you're more likely to find relevant sources. 
    • Subject-specific databases often offer special filters or search features designed to help researchers in that subject find what they need.
      • For example, in a history database, you might be able to limit your search results to those covering a particular historical period.
  • It's always a good idea to search in more than one database. Even if there is considerable overlap in content, the different search capabilities and features of each database can help you find different sources.

From Keywords to Search Strategy

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Selected Databases

Check out our full Database A-Z  list and filter by Subject to find other databases for your topic.

Search Tip: Some databases search a relatively small amount of information about each source by default, rather than the full text of the source itself. Trying a variety of keywords is often essential to getting good results in many databases. Make note of relevant keywords and subject terms that come up in your initial searches, and use those terms to find more.

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Borrowing from Elsewhere

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Can't find what you're looking for at Wellesley?

Use WorldCat Discovery to search and request directly from libraries worldwide via Interlibrary Loan.

Questions? Interlibrary Loan Guide