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How Databases are Organized

What is a Database?

  • A database is information collected and organized for efficient retrieval.
  • A database could be as simple as the list of numbers in your cell phone or as complex as one of the Library's article databases.
  • Article databases may be general or cover very specific subjects. 
  • Article databases usually cover only a certain range of dates.  
  • Within an article database, individual titles of newspapers, magazines, journals and other sources may vary. 
  • Article databases are sometime labeled Index, Abstacts, or Full Text. These labels are not important in the UW system because you can connect to the full text from most databases by clicking on the Check for Full Text button.

Selecting a Database

  • The library buys many different article databases for you to use (300+). To retrieve pertinent results you need to pick an appropriate database to search.
  • Article databases are organized around a particular subject area (i.e., Nursing, Art and Architecture, Sociology, etc) or are organized around an academic area (e.g., Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences).   Use the Research Guides to see find the subject area for your topic. 
  • Almost all of our article databases are proprietary. This means only students, faculty and staff of UWTcan use them.  When you are off campus, you will need to verify that you are affiliated with UW by clicking on the Off Campus Access button in the upper right and logging in with your NetID and password.  

What exactly is peer-reviewed?

  • Peer reviewed (or refereed) articles have been read and evaluated by experts in the field prior to publication.
    • Data collection methods, result analyses and conculsions are evaluated to determine the quality of the research.
    • Reviewers consider if the research adds to the body of knowledge in a particular field of inquiry.
    • Reviewers need not agree with the opinions of the author.
  • Because an article is scholarly (written and published primarily for a scholarly audience) DOES NOT necessarily mean that it is peer reviewed.

How do I know if an article is peer reviewed?

  • Step 1:  Check the peer review status of the JOURNAL.
    • Search for your title in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory[UW restricted]
    • When you find your journal, look for a "referee shirt" symbol.  The symbol will appear next to any journal title that is peer reviewed and/or refereed (interchangeable terms).

  • Step 2:  If the JOURNAL is peer reviewed, then assess the ARTICLE.
    • Is it a full research article?  If your article is a short news brief, an editorial, a letter to the editor, or a re-print of a conference proceeding, it is not peer reviewed.

Limiting to Peer Reviewed in Databases

You can also limit to Peer Reviewed journals when searching in many databases, but you may still have editorials, commentaries, and book reviews in the result list, so be sure to evaluate the article.



General Databases

Subject Specialty Databases

These are some recommended subject areas. To find other subjects, view the full list of Research Guides

Go to the Find Articles or Articles page to see relevant databases.  





Computer Science

History of Science, Mathematics & Technology



Nursing & Health