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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Database Exercise

Page address: http://lib.mnsu.edu/distlearn/exercises/database.html

*** MSU Library Database Exercise ***

Database Exercise

Note: Please print a copy of this page to use as an answer sheet prior to clicking the links required to complete this exercise.

Read the paragraphs below and then answer the questions.


Databases: An Introduction.

There are differences between databases.

  • A full-text database includes complete articles or texts of documents.
  • A citation database is a collection of citations to research materials such as periodical articles, newspaper articles, or other documents. Some databases are a combination of full-text and citations.

From the Library's Home Page the Library's databases are available from the A-Z List, Article Databases by Dept, or Subject Guide links.

From this page, the Distance Learning Web Page, the databases are available from the Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper articles link.

To find out if the Library has a subscription to a journal for which you have citation, click on the MSU Journal List from the Library's Home Page and type the title of the journal in the space provided and then click Search. A result will be provided for you to let you know whether or not the Library subscribes to the journal.


Questions on Databases.

  1. If a database is full-text, what does that mean? ____________________
  2. If a database considered a citation database, what does that mean? ____________________
  3. If you have a citation for which you want the article, how do you find out if the Library subscribes to the journal? ____________________

Now, please click the link for Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper articles. Briefly examine the list of databases. (Please stay at this page as it will be the launching point for the following section)

  1. List a database you might use for business topics. ____________________
  2. List a database you might use for education topics. ____________________

Using Databases.

While there are many databases basic search techniques common to many can be learned by examining those such as Academic Search Premier from EBSCOhost and Wilson Mega Ominfile.

These databases are functionally similar in the following respects:

  • You can use the Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT in your searches.
  • The results from your searches will contain articles and/or citations to articles you will have to find from another source.

At this point, click the link for Academic Search Premier.


Questions on Using Databases

  1. In the text area to the right of the word Find, type the following: music downloading. Leave Default Fields as the menu choice and then click Search. How many results did you retrieve? _____
  2. Do a new search. In the text area to the right of the word Find, type the following : music downloading. Change Default Fields to TI Title as the menu choice and then click Search. How many results did you retrieve? _____
  3. Of the two searches which produced more hits? _______________
  4. Why did one search produce fewer hits than the other? ___________________________________
  5. You can use the Boolean operator AND to limit your search by adding another concept to your search.
    • As an example, in the text area to the right of the word Find, type the following: music downloading.
    • Choose Default Fields as the menu choice.
    • Next, in the middle text area type litigation. Leave Default Fields as the menu choice.
    • At this point, look to the left of the middle text area and make sure the menu choice is on AND.
    • Now, click Search.
    • Compare the number of results from this search with the results from the Search in question 1.
  6. You can use the Boolean operator OR to expand your search to retrieve more full-text articles and/or citations. Choose on topic from the list below and write a search using the Boolean operator OR and a synonym for the topic you have selected.
  • automobiles _______________
  • teenagers _______________
  • infants _______________

Try a search with one term. Next, perform a search similar to that in Question 5 but use a term and its synonym from this question and change the operator in the menu to the left of the middle text area to OR. Now, click Search.

Note the difference in your results.

You can use the Boolean operator NOT to limit your search to retrieve fewer full-text articles and/or citations. Using the techniques learned above, except using the operator NOT, do a search for anorexia.

  • How many results did you receive? _____.
  • Now, do a search for anorexia NOT bulimia.
  • How many results did you receive? _____.

Why was there a difference? _________________________________________


Can you print, save, or email full-text articles and/or citations to yourself with Academic Search Elite? Yes _____ No _____ The Database Exercise concludes at this point. To see the answers for this exercise please click here. For addition practice try transferring the knowledge gained from this exercise to Wilson Mega Omnifile which was mentioned earlier or another database of your choosing.

*** Conclusion ***
The Library Database Exercise concludes at this point. To see the answers for this exercise please click here.