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*Library Orientation


What is a Library Database?

Why use a Library Database?

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Narrow the databases to your subject. Have you used one of these databases before?
Conduct an advanced search in one of the databases in your area using at least two auto-populated terms and 1 Boolean operator. Now use the filters to narrow your results. 


What is a journal?

Articles from scholarly journals, also called peer-reviewed, academic, refereed, or professional journals, are often required or strongly recommended by faculty at the university level for use in writing research papers and projects. This criteria is especially true for upper division courses and is essential in quality graduate work. These are some characteristics that distinguish scholarly journals from other periodicals:

News, Opinion, or Popular
Journalist, freelance writer, editorial staff; might not be named Staff writers, freelance authors Researcher or scholar in the field; credentials listed
General public Specific industry, trade, organization, or profession; jargon often used Other scholars, professionals, or students familiar with the field
What is the purpose of the publication?
To inform or entertain To describe issues, problems, or trends in the field To report original research, experiments, or theories
Are sources cited?
Sources may be cited or identified, but usually not Sometimes, usually not Always have footnotes or bibliography
Who publishes it?
Commercial enterprise or an interest organization Commercial enterprise, trade association Professional association or commercial enterprise
Appearance in print?

- May have glossy pages
- May have colorful photos & images

- Lots of advertising

- Cover depicts industrial setting
- Glossy paper
- Pictures & illustrations in color

- Advertising related to the field

- Each issue starts with page 1

- Somber, serious
- May have charts, graphs, equations

- Limited advertising

- Little or no color

Popular: Hispanic, Jet, People;
News or general interest: Nation, Newsweek, Time
Advertising Age, Progressive Grocer Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science Quarterly, Theological Studies


Research articles written for scholarly journals are heavily reviewed and revised before being accepted for publication. Guidelines for contributors are usually listed somewhere in the publication. Articles are often anonymously reviewed by several other subject experts; this process is called "peer review" and such a periodical is considered a "refereed journal."

Comparing Scholarly Journals with Magazines was produced by Diane Duesterhoeft at St. Mary's University.

How do I find a particular journal?

You can search the journals the library has available online by going to the A-Z Journal Tracker.  To get there, go the SBU Libraries' homepage and under the "Research" menu, click the link to the "A-Z Journal Tracker."

You can search the title of the journal in the A-Z Journal Tracker to see if the library has access to it. If the title appears in the search results, click the "Full Text Access" link underneath the journal name to see what years are available in a particular library databases.

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Do you remember a class that has required using scholarly journal articles?
Jot down some notes on ways scholarly articles will help you succeed in your field. 

Books & eBooks

Books in the SBU Libraries will have this logo and are shelved by the Dewey Decimal Classification System. By clicking on the "text item location" on each item record, you can send the call number to your phone for easy searching once you reach the shelves. 

eBooks in the SBU Libraries will have this logo and can be found by searching the online catalog. For assistance downloading eBooks, please visit the How To.... eBook help page. 


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Search the SBU Libraries catalog for your favorite book.
Do we have it in multiple formats? Can you identify if we have it as a book or an eBook?
If we have it as a book, text yourself the link and practice finding it on the shelf - if you get lost, ask for help, but make sure you ask them to show you how to find the item yourself next time!
If we have the eBook, follow the steps to check the item out.

Quiz Yourself!