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May 21 - 27, 2015

Tue 9 AM - 6 PM
Wed 9 AM - 6 PM
Thu 8 AM - 10 PM
Fri 8 AM - 7 PM
Sat 10 AM - 6 PM
Quiet Study Area
Summer Session


Introduction to Databases

What's a database?

Digital sources (whether they are books, government reports, or articles) are accessed through databases that the library subscribes to. A database is a collection of information that has been brought together, and structured so that the user can search it. Publications that the library previously purchased separately have now been grouped together in digital packages that can be searched in many different ways.

Because each database is unique, the BMCC Library Faculty have selected over 100 databases on many different subjects and have contracted with the publishers of the databases to offer these resources to our students, staff and faculty.

A very large portion of the material available through our database page is unique, and is not available on the “Free Web.” You are given access to it because you are enrolled at BMCC.

How do I know which one to use?

Choosing a database from the BMCC Library website

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If you look closely at the BMCC Library website you will see that we have created specialized subject lists. These are an excellent place to start.


(Most of the databases that are suitable for an English 201 project are listed either under Literature & Poetry or History.)

How come I can't use Google?

The free web works reasonably well for directions to the closest drug store, buying bus tickets or opinions on the best pizza in Brooklyn.

It works less well for college level academic research because there are no controls over what is published. When you do research through Google you end up having to wade through

  • Other people's papers
  • Bookstores
  •  And

Wikipedia, specifically breaks the primary rule of academic sources. You have to know who wrote the material that you are referencing.


There are academic sources on the free web, particularly if you use a specialized search engine like Google Scholar — but finding really good ones is much harder work than using the Library's resources.

Writing Assignment:

  • What are the differences between Google and the Research Databases?