How Databases Work

We continue on Learning About Your Library with some information about Databases, These days, the databases are one of the most important aspects of the Brookens Library collection.  If for no other reason than our collection of databases is where the overwhelming majority of our journal content lives.  Here’s the thing though:  while our electronic journal collection is frequently presented as one lump sum (through quick search), it’s actually a bunch of individual pieces from all over the place.  Roughly 120 of them, as it so happens.

Each one of these pieces is called a database and each is a different collection of articles with their own internal search interfaces.  The articles can be grouped together by a publisher or what we call an aggregator (a middleman, if you will).  The reasons the articles are grouped together are varied but typically a database will be organized around a specific publisher, subject and/or type of information.  However, we have some databases that are just a single journal!

But what about Quick Search?  Well… that’s another idea entirely.  It’s certainly not a database in the same sense of what was described above.  Our Quick Search acts like a database, but is a very different animal.  Quick Search is, essentially, shooting your search out to the various databases and then collecting all the results in one place. This infographic should help explain things:


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