Library

4 March 2015

Your VIP access to library databases


I'm searching for information using Google Scholar, and all of a sudden, I come up against a brick wall. Twenty-five bucks to read a journal article? No way. It's a uni assignment, not a nightclub! How can I get VIP access? Keep reading to get on the other side of the velvet rope… by Romany Manuell

Hey Librarian! Start at the beginning. What are library databases, anyway?

Monash University Library subscribes to packages of online information from companies such as EBSCO, Informit, Web of Science and many, many more. During your studies, you’ll become familiar with these brand names. Librarians like to call these packages of information ‘databases’. A database can be full of images, videos, audio files and of course, a whole lot of articles from newspapers, magazines and journals. If you search the library databases, you will find high quality information that will be relevant to whichever discipline and topic you are studying.

Why can’t I just use Google Scholar?

You can use Google Scholar to search for information, but you need to be aware that not everything is accessible that way. Sometimes, a database of information will be freely available for everyone to see using Google Scholar. At other times, a database will only let the public see a list of contents, such as an index to a journal. Occasionally, you’ll be able to get to the exact piece of information you want, and then you’ll come up against a ‘pay wall’. That means you’ll be asked for money. Don’t fall for it!

So… How can I get VIP access?

Go through Monash University Library. Your Monash Authcate (that’s your username and password) will let you into all of the best places. There are two main approaches to searching for information:
  1. You can search almost every database at once using Search. You will also be able to bring up information in some print books and ebooks. It’s a good general way to start looking for information, but you can also refine your search using the options on the left hand side of the search screen. To learn more about Search, read Paula’s post or check out the Search library guide.
  2. If you want to be specific in your search from the very beginning, try Databases A-Z. Don’t worry if you’re not sure which database you’re looking for, as this link will also show you which databases contain subject-specific information. For example, if I’m looking for information on… DISCO DANCING! (*cough*) I might look at databases in the Art, Design and Architecture subject area, and head straight to the database called Art Source. After all, my disco dancing is an art.
Do you have any pro tips?

Why yes, funny you should ask! When you are searching for information at home, try connecting Google Scholar to Monash University Library. Go to Google Scholar, click on ‘Settings’ (the cog icon), look for 'Library links' and search for Monash University. That way, if you find an article using Google Scholar, you may be able to click straight through to the article you need in a database that the library subscribes to, bypassing that pay wall. How? With your Monash Authcate VIP access, of course!   


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