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CDL-001: Orientation to Learning Online - Library Resources & Services Tutorial



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Databases vs. Google

Library Databases

The Free Web

When to Use

  • Best for college level research.
  • Best for credible information quickly.
  • Best for full-text, scholarly articles.
  • Best for shopping and entertainment.
  • Good for finding statistics.
  • Good place to find background information.


  • Articles and books written by journalists or experts in a professional field.
  • All material in database is evaluated for accuracy and credibility by subject experts.
  • Reviewed and updated regularly.
  • No standards in place. Anyone can publish their opinions and ideas on the Internet. 
  • Much of the information found on the free Web is NOT evaluated for accuracy and reliability.
  • Use the ABCD’s checklist to evaluate resources (authority, bias, content, design).


  • Library database subscriptions are paid for through your tuition and state taxes.
  • To access the Reynolds Library databases from off-campus, you will need to logon with your My Reynolds username and password.
  • Information is often free.
  • When information does come from a legitimate source or publisher the user usually has to pay to access it.


  • User can specify advanced search criteria; full-text, date, scholarly, format, etc.
  • Results can be further filtered for precision.
  • Databases usually include a citation tool to automatically create a citation for the article.
  • Lack of subject focus results in irrelevant.
  • User must wade through a “grab bag” of results often over 100,000.
  • Most web sites found on the Internet do not have a citation tool. 


  • Published content from journals, magazines, newspapers and books does not change.
  • Most material remains in database for a significant length of time and can be easily retrieved again.
  • Web site content can often change.
  • Web pages and sites may disappear for a number of reasons.  May not be able to retrieve the same content at a later time.

QuickSearch: Article Search

If you are not sure you will find enough articles on your topic or if your topic is too broad, you may want to use QuickSearch first to get an idea on the number and range of articles on your topic.  Keep in mind that QuickSearch does NOT search all of the library databases. Once you refine your topic, in most cases it is best to search the individual article databases such as EBSCOhost's Academic Search Complete or MasterFILE Premier.

Optional: A script is available for this presentation.

Quick Search - Search Everything



Advanced Search | My Account/Renew Books | Classic Catalog

EBSCOhost Databases: Article Search

Once you refine your topic, search the individual article databases such as Academic Search Complete and MasterFILE Premier. The video below covers how to:

  • Perform a search
  • Use subject terms
  • Use various search techniques (expanders & limiters)
  • Print, email, and save an article
  • Cite an article in APA or MLA format

Library Databases

Reynolds Library's 160+ licensed databases include:

  • scholarly journal articles
  • popular magazine articles
  • newspaper articles
  • ebooks
  • audio books
  • online videos

Some popular databases include:

Find databases through the library's web site:

Databases can be searched alphabetically and by subject. 

Academic journalsscholarly articles, and peer-reviewed articles all mean the same thing! All are names for the same type of articles, and they can all be found in the databases.

Quick Search searches for articles in some (not all) the Reynolds Library databases. Quick Search also finds books, eBooks, video and more.

Unsure about which databases to use? Contact a Reference Librarian for help! 

Off-campus Access



Use My Reynolds username and password to access library databases from off-campus. 

If you click on any Reynolds Library database link from off-campus, you will get a Virginia's Community Colleges login screen first.  Login with the same username and password you use for accessing any services through My Reynolds (e.g., Blackboard). After you login, you will get the database search screen.

If you are a student currently enrolled in a Reynolds course, and cannot login from off campus, please email Will Weaver (Web Services Librarian) or call 804.523.5323.