An Online Tutorial Taking You Through the Steps of the Library Research Process Structure of a Database

MCC Home Library Home Tutorial Home Site Map

Tutorial Contents:
  1. Library Map & Virtual Tour
  2. Avoiding Impulse Buys
  3. Size & Shape of Information
  4. Most Bang for Your Buck
  5. Trying it on for Size
  6. Don't Shoplift!

Databases consist of records.  If you think about a library catalog, each book in the database is represented by an individual record.  Each record consists of fields.  In a library catalog record, these fields provide information about a particular book.  Examples of fields would be the author, the title, and the subject headings.  Fields can be searched.  In a periodical database there would be one record for each article indexed by the database.  The record of a periodical database would consist of fields like the periodical title (sometimes referred to as the source), the article title,  and the author. Below is an image of a record from a periodical database.  The left column shaded in yellow describes the parts of the record.

The highlighted items
are all examples of fields. 

Most fields in a database
can be searched.

Title: Has Google Won? A Librarian Says Students Have More Data Than They Know What to Do With.
  Author(s): Carlson, Scott
Bell, Steven J.

A keyword search
would search all the
fields in the record.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education; 2/7/2003, Vol. 49 Issue 22, pA28, 1/3p
  Document Type: Interview

A subject search would only search the subject field.

This was a keyword
search using the search
terms full-text databases.

Subject(s): ELECTRONIC information resource searching
ELECTRONIC information resources
BELL, Steven -- Interviews

This record was retrieved because the words full-text databases appear in the abstract. 

Most online databases
will bold your search terms wherever they appear in the record and in the full-text of the article (if included).

Abstract: Interviews librarian Steven J. Bell about online information received by students. Information on the library's electronic resources; Impact of full-text databases on the search skills of students.
  Full Text Word Count: 771
  ISSN: 00095982
  Accession Number: 9095595
  Database: Academic Search Premier

<Previous Page     Next Page>