Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

COMM 12: Technology and Communication - Searching the Web: Library Databases

Quick Links

Using the Library Databases

Why Use the Library Databases?

Google vs. Library Databases

Best Library Databases for your technology project

Why Use the Library Databases?

Sometimes it will save you a lot of time to go directly to the library databases to find research articles on a topic.

The library subscribes to dozens of databases which let you search the content of hundreds of journals and magazines in all disciplines.  Most of these publications are not available for free on the web. 

Some databases includes articles from popular magazines as well as scholarly articles, but you can usually limit your search to "peer reviewed" (or scholarly) if you only want research materials.

On the library home page at, you will find a list (by subject and alphabetically) of all the databases available to you. 

Some of them are discipline specific, for example BUSINESS SEARCH COMPLETE, while others are multidisciplinary.

Google vs. Library Databases

Here's a little exercise that will help you understand the difference between a Google search and a library database search.


1)  Go to the mutlidisciplinary database Academic Search Complete

2)  Open another window and go to Google.

3)  Open a third window and go to Google Scholar.

4) Now do the exact same search on online dating and college students

5)  Which one of the 3 search tools gives you the most relevant results?  Which ones provide access to the actual text of the articles?

Best Library Databases For Your Technology Project

Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete is a multidisciplinary database including articles from journals across disciplines.  Use it to find articles on your topic, especially on the impact of your technology and the current controversies around it. Try various keywords to describe what you want.  For example: 

              Internet Censorship and China
              Internet and china and regulation
              Internet censorship and China and political repression
              Great firewall of China

To see a short 3-minute tutorial on how to use Academic Search Complete, click here.

Communication and Mass Media Complete:
Provides access to articles from journals in the area of communication studies and mass media.   Full text is available for 200 titles.

 Lexis Nexis / Academic

Use Lexis Nexis to get the most current news about your topic from newswire, magazine and newspaper articles.  You can also use Lexis-Nexis to find the most current legislation on a topic.


This database includes public policy reserch and analysis from think tanks, university research programs and research organizations.  It can be particularly useful if your topic is a technology issue such as digital divide or net neutrality, or online privacy.

OneSearch is a simple  search engine that allows you to search simultaneously for books, articles, and other materials.  OneSearch brings together the article-level content of a large selection of our subscribed e-journals and databases, our library catalog, OSCAR, and our digital library collections in a single search interface.  Use the options on the left side of the results screen to limit your search.

There are many more databases available to you.  For a complete list, go to the library home page at and click on DATABASES.