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Biology 182 (Jackson)

What's the Point?

Hello! In this module, you will learn the nature of a database, and how to use databases to locate articles.

  • Read the What is a Database? section. This will give you the background on what we mean when we refer to databases. 
  • Watch the tutorials on Selecting Articles, Database Records,Advanced EBSCO Database Search, Finding Specialized Databases, and Saving and Reading Articles. These will help you learn the basics of navigating scholarly databases.
  • Read the Theory and Glossary of Terms sections. You will learn the essential characteristics of scholarly publications, and how they differ from the popular kind. The Glossary of Terms  will explain new terms that you need to know in the course of your research.

Finding Articles

A database is simply an organized collection of information, usually but not always electronic. There are many different kinds of data that can go into databases, from numbers to computer code. For libraries, a database usually refers to a place you can search for articles in journals and magazines (a bibliographic database). Databases index (which means that they organize) articles, so that they are online and searchable. An example of a database that Mohave Community College subscribes to is Academic Search Premier.

**Note** While you can search MCC's EBSCO databases from the library home page search box, EBSCO is NOT the only database provider to which we subscribe!  Please be sure to review the A-to-Z database link on the library homepage for a full list of our holdings.

A library database is structured in terms of records. Each result you find in your search is a separate record. These individual records are themselves made up of fields. Fields contain information about different parts of an article: Who the author is, what terms are associated with the article, publication dates, and more. Finding good results is generally a matter of using and managing these fields to reflect what you need in your assignment. 

The purpose of library databases is to provide students with information that has been published by subject matter experts, organized by means of records and fields for efficient research.


This video shows how to do a basic article search from the MCC Library homepage, and how you can narrow down your searches in EBSCO to only include Peer-Reviewed material.The next videos will explain in more detail how to navigate EBSCO to find valuable results.

This video demonstrates some important elements of database records, and discusses the information you can find there.

This video goes into more detail on using our EBSCO databases- how to select databases from the EBSCO collection, how to use search parameters to focus your results, and how to generate keywords for best results. 

In this video, you will learn about how to find content in your specific subject area, using the MCC Library website.

In this video, you will learn how to save and manage your research findings.

What are the characteristics of a scholarly publication in the digital age?

Web publishing has complicated the identification of scholarly communications. Traditional cues such as publisher, press, and durability are no longer constant in the world of digital, scholarly communications. Findings from Leah Halliday’s work with scholars, librarians, and researchers has identified three characteristics to look for in a publication:


  • Scholarly Publications, such as articles and books, should not be changed after digital distribution.  
  • Different versions should be clearly identified so as to alert the community to changes.
  • To satisfy all potential interest, trustworthiness should be based on 'institutionalised' measures such as peer review and this process should be evident to the community.
  • Each publication should have at least one identifiable author.


  • The potential audience must be made aware that the publication exists. Libraries are great partners for publicity.
  • The publication should have metadata containing a minimum set of information, preferably including information about all versions. Metadata will enable others to find it.


  • The author must intend that the publication be made publicly available in a durable form over the long term.
  • The publication must be durably recorded on some medium.
  • The publication must be reliably accessible and retrievable over time. Supporting institutions have a responsibility to support long-term accessibility.
  • There should be a commitment not to withdraw the publication by the author(s).
  • The publication must be publicly available, i.e. available to any member of the public on demand as of right, whether for payment of a fee or not.
  • The publication should have stable identifiers.

Works Cited

Halliday, L. (2001). Scholarly communication, scholarly publication and the status of emerging formats.Information Research, 6(4). Retrieved from: Available at:

  • Abstract: A brief summary of an article. The abstract for a scholarly article will summarize the authors' research purpose, methods, and conclusions.
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL): A library service that allows you to request books and articles we do not own.
  • Peer Review (Refereed): Articles published in peer reviewed journals have been reviewed and edited by a board of expert editors.
  • Scholarly Source: Scholarly sources are different from news sources because rather than reporting an event, scholarly sources ask and answer questions through some form of analysis. Scholarly sources are written by experts-- people who know a lot about their subject like professors-- and they also refer to other sources in a works cited/references list to show where their information came from originally.
  • Open Access: Scholarly publications that can be freely accessed by the general public online.