What Is It?
The Database Library is the UW-Madison Libraries collection of databases. You can find databases either By Subject or By Title. Some databases can be searched simultaneously by checking/unchecking database check boxes and then using the search box on a subject page; other databases must be searched individually by clicking on the database title.
Search results can be temporarily saved and then emailed or exported. Subject pages or sections of same can be created as a widget and put into your own webpage. Most subject pages have a Highlighted Resource that can provide information about a particularly useful or new database.
Databases by Subject
The Database Library offers 63 subject areas for you to browse. This is your best option when you know what subject area(s) you want but don't know individual database titles. This option is also good for discovering newly added databases or databases you weren't previously aware of.
Most subject pages have a search box, a list of subcategories, under each subcategory a list of databases with an "i" icon for more information, and extra features area:
Some databases can be searched simultaneously. The search box is used for this type of searching. Each subject page comes with pre-selected (pre-checked) databases in a "Core" section. You can uncheck these by clicking on the "Uncheck All" link. If you wish to re-select these, simply check the "Recheck Default Databases" link.
Up to 10 databases can be checked for simultaneous searching. Remember that databases in the "Core" area come pre-checked so you may need to uncheck those before adding more databases.
The search box is a Google-style "and" search: All the search terms you enter are automatically "and"-ed together. To search for something as a phrase, use quotations. You can select title, author or subject as your search parameter from the drop-down menu. Click on the "More Options" link to get a second search box. The ability to simultaneously search databases is limited to only two search boxes.
All subject pages have a list of "Core" databases. These are the primary, most helpful databases for that subject.
Most subject pages have a secondary subcategory called "Also Helpful". These are databases which are not primary to the subject area but that can still provide helpful results.
Many subject pages have a third subcategory level. Sometimes this is a more specific aspect of the subject, such as "Folklore" on the "Anthropology/Archaeology" subject page. Sometimes it is a type of resource, such as "Dictionaries" under the "Agriculture" subject page.
Each database has an "i" icon behind the database title. Clicking on this will take you to a page describing the database in much more detail, including:
- Alt. Name - indicates alternative titles for the database
- Type - indicates whether the database is an "article database", "subject gateway", etc. Some types of databases have been collected into lists for your convenience: You can see a list of all databases with Pre 1970 content by searching for "Pre 1970" in the Databases tab on the UW-Madison Libraries homepage. This will give you a link that says "Pre 1970 Databases" and if you click on that you will see a list of databases that have content prior to 1970. You can see a list of all databases that have e-book or e-text content by clicking on the E-Books link on the Books tab on the UW-Madison Libraries homepage.
- Guide - a link to a help guide for the database. This is only available for some databases.
- About - gives a more detailed description of the database which can include topics/subjects and number of e-journals
- Coverage - indicates the era or geographic location for the materials in this database.
- Time-span - tells you what years the database covers and how often the database is updated.
- Publisher - indicates which vendor provides the database.
- Publisher URL - links to the website of the vendor that supplies the database.
- Creator - provides the database creator name or institution.
- Full Text Note - shows how many people can use the database or other miscellaneous information.
- Note - indicates which UW-Madison Libraries to contact for further assistance.
Each subject page has a boxed area on the right. This contains My Saved Records, Create a Widget, Subject Assistance, and a Highlighted Resource:
- My Saved Records. This is where articles/records that you select from your search results are temporarily stored. These must be exported before ending your research session.
- Subject Assistance. This section offers assistance for a variety of needs. Immediate assistance is available via Ask A Librarian. Subject Specialists are listed for the purpose of setting up research appointments. Libraries are listed which provide links to different Campus Libraries websites that specialize in the subject.
- Highlighted Resource. This area gives you detailed information about important or new databases. Highlighted Resources are updated up to two times each semester during the school year and once during the summer session.
Databases By Title
The Database Library also offers the ability to search for databases by title. This is best used when you already know what databases you want to use.
You can search for Databases by Title by using the Databases tab on the UW-Madison Libraries homepage. The search box on the Databases tab will search for databases by title and description, so for example a search for "psych" will produce not only primary databases like PsycArticles and PsycINFO but also other databases that have "psych" somewhere in the description.
You can also browse databases by using the A-Z letters on the Databases tab on the UW-Madison Libraries homepage. Clicking on "M" for example will take you to the M section of the Databases by Title list.
Access to the Databases by Title list is also available on the Database Library's By Subject page. Look in the local navigation area (the gray bar below the banner but above the main section of the page) and you will see a link that says "By Title" over on the right hand side.
Search & Results
There are two ways to search databases: Click on a Database Title or Select Databases for the Search Box.
Click on a Database Title
You can search individual databases by clicking on the database name. Doing so will take you to that database website, where you are often able to add additional search boxes, limit your search to language, browse a search term thesaurus and more.
Select Databases for the Search Box
You can also search using the search box on a Database Library subject page. This type of search is limited to databases which can be searched simultaneously. These databases are the ones that you can check/uncheck to select. You can choose up to 10 of this type of database and then put search terms into the search box and click on the "GO" button. When doing this type of search, please note:
- Databases that can be simultaneously searched and that are in the "Core" area come pre-selected (pre-checked). If you do not want to search these databases, simply click on the "Uncheck All" link. If you want to re-select them you can click on the "Check Default Databases" link.
- You are limited to 10 databases at one time. If you click on a subcategory link on a subject page and then start checking databases, you may see a pop-up notice that you have hit the 10 database limit. This is likely because you did not uncheck databases in the "Core" area. Click on the "Back to Top" link, click on the "Uncheck All" link to de-select all databases, then click on the subcategory link to go back to the subcategory area and start selecting databases again.
How to use the Search Box
The search box works like a Google-style search: Put in a string of keywords and the search box automatically puts an "and" between the words. You can search for words as a phrase by using quotations. If you click on the "More Options" link in the search box you will get a second search window to use. When using the simultaneous search function you are limited to two search boxes.
After you click on the "GO" button in the search box, you will see a status bar that expands from left to right as a gold bar, showing the status of the search. You will also see a list of the databases below the status bar, showing you which databases you are currently searching. The search has a 34 second time out - if a database has not returned results by 34 seconds you will not see results from that database in your list of articles/records.
The Results Screen
Once all databases are searched, results are returned to you in a list of articles/records. These are organized by relevance, and the top 30 most relevant articles/records are merged into the list that you are provided with. If you want to view more than these top 30 from each database, links are provided on the right hand side of the results screen that show you each database title and in parentheses the number of articles in the database. You can click on the database title there to view all results that are in that particular database.
Each article/record has a number of sections:
- Article/Record Title - Clicking on this link takes you to the article/record detail screen where you will find:
- Author information
- Format information
- Year information
- Published In - information about the journal, including volume, issue, etc.
- Database information - which database is providing access to the article
- Access - a box area that shows the Find It link and the "Save this Record" link
- Summary - an abstract about the article
- Topics covered by the article
- Standard Numbers - such as ISSN
- Box area on the right - the "My Saved Records" link
- Box area on the right - three major means of citing the article: APA, MLA, Turabian
- Article/Record Type - this can include a language note and also a Peer Reviewed icon note, if applicable.
- Brief Article/Record summary - this can be viewed in more detail by clicking on the Article/Record Title
- Published In - the journal the article/record is from
- Find It Availability - This is where you click to get the article itself. There are a number of possible availabilities, including:
- Full Text PDF
- Full Text HTML
- Full Text Available
- Check for Availability
- Save This Record - clicking on this link will put the article/record into your "My Saved Records" folder. When clicked on, the icon will change to a gold color and the wording will change to "Record Temporarily Saved". PLEASE NOTE: Before ending your research session any articles/records that you wish to keep permanently must be exported. Go to the "My Saved Records" page for exporting options.
Results Screen - Box Area
The Results Screen has a box on the right side of the screen which offers the "My Saved Records" folder link, and additional ways to narrow or expand your search. This includes:
- "My Saved Records" - this is where the articles/records that you select (by clicking on the "Save this Record" link for each article/record) are temporarily stored.
- Top Results - lists the number of most relevant results you've received on the article/records list.
- Databases - shows how many results are from each database and provides a link to go directly to that databases' list of articles/records. This is especially useful for wanting to get more results beyond the Top Results on the articles/records list.
- Topic - this area allows you to narrow your Top Results by various topic areas. The topic areas are pulled from the article/records descriptions.
- Date - you can narrow your Top Results to specific years.
- Journal - you can narrow your Top Results to specific journals.
- Subject - you can narrow your Top Results to specific subject areas.
Note: Once you've clicked on one of the above, you can return to viewing your entire list of Top Results by clicking on the "Top Results" link in the box.
Exporting Saved Records
If you opt to collect articles/records by clicking each one's "Save this Record" icon, these will be temporarily stored in the "My Saved Records" folder. These must be exported prior to ending your research session. There are a number of options for exporting articles/records:
- Email records to yourself - Click on this link, fill in the email form, check/uncheck articles/records from the list below the form, and click the gray "Send" button.
- Export to RefWorks - Click on this link, then check/uncheck articles/records that you want from the list. Click on the large gray "Export" button. This will take you to a RefWorks login screen, and after you've logged in, you'll be able to view these records in the Refworks by clicking on the "View Last Imported" link.
- Download to text file - Click on this link, then check/uncheck articles/records that you want from the list. Click on the large gray "Download" button. Open or Save the text file.
- Download to EndNote, Zotero, etc. - Click on this link, then check/uncheck articles/records that you want. Then select either download directly into EndNote, Zotero, etc. or select to download to file that you'll import yourself. Click the gray "Download" button.
Very rarely the Database Library search function is unable to merge the simultaneous search results back into a list that you can view. When this happens you can still access the article/records by clicking on the individual database links on the right hand side of the results screen. You will need to click on each database to view all articles/records. Please use the "Contact us by Email" link at the bottom of the webpage to report when this happens.