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Information Literacy Course International Relations: More information about databases

Open an electronic database

You can open the electronic resource via the link that you will find on the homepage of the library. In this overview you will find not only databases, but also electronic dictionaries, medical atlases, statistical databases, image databanks etc.

Linking to the full text

In most bibliographic databases the University Library has provided a link from the bibliographic reference to the full text of the article or e-book. By using the Get It! button you can check whether you, as a RUG student, actually have access to the text. In other words, whether the Library has a licence for the e-book or e-journal. The Get It! button has the same function as the View Now button in SmartCat. In addition, full-text databases offer their own links to the text in PDF or HTML.

When you are working at home and want Get it! links in Google Scholar you have to install this first.

When there is no link to the electronic full text, it is possible that the University of Groningen Library has a print copy of the book or article. You can check SmartCat to find out.

The libguide International Relations guides to relevant databases

To find out which database is the best one to use for your subject, you can consult the libguide International Relations. 

There you will find the most important (bibliographic) databases for your field of study.

Saving your references

All electronic databases have features that help you to save the references that you want to use. You don't have to write them down on a piece of paper or copy them to a Word-document. When you find interesting publications, you can save them in a folder, mail them to your e-mail adress.

In some databases you can open an account and save the references beyond your current session. You can export references in different formats. You can export them to Reference Management programs. The University of Groningen Library offers RefWorks courses.

The word 'bibliography' has two meanings

In English the list of references at the end of a publication is sometimes called 'bibliography'. This list of references shows which publications the author used in his research. In Dutch we call this a 'literatuurlijst'.

In this information literacy course we use the word 'bibliography' for something else. A bibliography or 'bibliographic database' is a database that is used for searching publications. It contains tens of thousands of descriptions of publications and has refined search facilities.

In Kate Turabian's Student's Guide to Writing College Papers the word 'bibliography' is used for reference lists. When the search tool is meant, she uses the term 'periodical index'. Many bibliographies started as a search tool for articles in scholarly journals.

Confusion about the meaning will not occur, because there is such a large difference in size. A reference list counts at most a few hundred titles, while a bibliographic database can contain millions. When you have to make a bibliography the reference list is meant. When you search for literature you use the bibliographic database.

Databases and SmartCat

The descriptions of all publications in the library databases are loaded into SmartCat. SmartCat is the local version of WorldCat, a very large database with the collections of libraries around the world.

You may wonder why it would be useful to search the specific databases when their content is included in SmartCat.

The answer is that the search facilities are different. Bibliographic databases offer facilities for precise searching. Full-text databases have the option to search in the full-text. SmartCat does not offer these options.

There are similarities between Google Scholar and SmartCat. Both are very large and searching is not very precise. There are differences too. The have different search facilities and the content is not the same. Not every GS publication is included in SmartCat, and the opposite is not true either.

Hide unsubscribed content

Many databases offer libraries a choice which subsets they subscribe to and which not. More and more databases show the complete content to the public, including nonsubscribed parts. It is always possible to limit your search to the content that can be accessed.

You can tick or untick boxes like:
  • - hide unsubscribed content
  • - full access only