General Article Database or Subject Specialized Database?

General article databases include magazines, journals and/or newspapers on all subjects. They are especially good for exploring a topic because you may not be familiar with all the possible issues available for study. For example, in exploring a topic such as endangered species, a general database or index will uncover articles relating to issues of business and industry, politics, or various areas of science. The information you uncover may come from newspapers, magazines or journals.

Subject specialized databases, on the other hand, cover primarily scholarly journals on a more narrowly defined topic. Although specialized databases and indexes cover a narrower range of subject areas, the topics are often covered in much more depth. After you identify the issue of most interest to you for your topic, use of a subject specialized database may be the logical next step for finding additional information. We'll come back to subject specialized databases in the Refining section.

Also note: the Valley Library subscribes to more of the magazines and journals included in general databases and indexes than those in specialized subject ones.

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