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Margaret Smith Library, SAIAB: Databases

The library at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity contributes to research and teaching in the aquatic sciences through heritage collections and a global web of data. Resources and services are shared with Rhodes University Library

What is a database?

Using a database

A library database provides specific information about what is inside journals or books.

In general, you use a database to find what has been published on a topic and parts of publications

  • articles
  • essays
  • chapters of books
  • conference papers
  • material that is difficult to obtain/unpublished (e.g.: theses) often referred to as 'grey literature'

Example of a catalogue record for a database


Quick Database Links

Links not marked Open Access (OA) require Rhodes University Library authorised access through your library login.

Databases vs. Google

Why use a database to search for articles when you can simply “Google” something? Here's why! 

  • Searchable collections include abstracts (short summaries) and citations (references) to articles in journals and newspapers; also include other publications like conference papers and chapters in books
  • Verified academic sources indexed to retrieve the most relevant results by subject or type of publication.
  • No irrelevant information like advertisements.
  • Links to older material Many sources such as journal back issues in print are not available on the open Internet; use the databases to link to older RU Library subscriptions.
  • Search simulataneously across many years and many publications instead of browsing through individual publications (imagine going through years and years of every issue of a journal).
  •  Links to full-text articles from many database records.

How to find articles in a database and what to do if you can't!

Google vs. Google Scholar


Why use the Rhodes Library Google Scholar link when you can simply "Google" something? Here's why!

  • Searching for information via Rhodes University Library lets you access Rhodes Library subscribed journals 
  • You can view the full text of the articles to these subscribed journals
  • Google Scholar is also a quick way to review the literature and find scholarly/academic research information

 Google Scholar link