Literature databases are computer databases which contain bibliographic reference information about journal articles, newspapers, books, dissertations, audiovisuals, conference proceedings, and other printed material. Some of them also have the full text of journal articles, books, and newspapers.  They can contain both consumer-oriented and research materials.

Database records are made up of specific fields. For example some fields might be title, author, subject heading, abstract, source etc. When you search a database, the computer looks in these fields for the words typed in the search box.

Databases can be limited to one subject such as CINAHL (nursing literature)  or can be broad in scope such as Academic Search Complete. The premier literature  databases in health are MEDLINE and CINAHL.

There are several companies in the U.S. who distribute and sell literature databases in all subject areas. The most common companies that you will encounter are EBSCO, OVID, and Gale Group. Each of these companies has its own search engine (interface) which you will need to learn in order to search the database.

Sample Citation from MEDLINE/PubMED

J Holist Nurs. 2009 Dec;27(4):232-40. (Journal title, year, volume #)

The use of goal attainment scaling to facilitate and assess individualized change in a wellness intervention for women tieh fibromyalgia syndrome. (Title of article)

Becker H, Stuifbergen A. Taxis C, Beal CC, Pierini DM (Authors)

School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, TX , (First author's affiliation)

PURPOSE: The authors examined goal achievement over an 8-month period in women with fibromyalgia participating in a holistic health promotion intervention using Goal Attainment Scaling. DESIGN: Descriptive. METHODS: Goal attainment was assessed by interviews at five points: baseline (retrospectively), immediately after the 8-week classes, at the middle and end of the telephone support period, and 3 months later. FINDINGS: The percentage of women who attained or exceeded their goals in the four health promotion areas of Lifestyle Adjustment, Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Stress Management increased from between 15% and 26% at the end of the classes to between 58% and 76% at the end of the telephone support period. Although scores declined somewhat in the following 3 months, at least 60% of the women continued to report behaviors at or above their goal level in all areas except Physical Activity. CONCLUSIONS: Goal Attainment Scaling, an individually determined measure of change, can effectively capture behavioral changes associated with a holistic health promotion intervention. A nurse facilitator, who not only understood the need for specific, measurable GAS but was also able to encourage and support women's identification of goals that were meaningful to them, was key to the positive findings observed here.(Abstract)

PMID:20009014 (PubMed - in process)

Fint it at UT(This icon will help you locate the full text of the journal article. You will see it in many of the library databases.)

Why is searching library databases better than searching Google?

Literature databases provide a one-stop shopping for academic, scholarly information. They also provide focused information on whatever your topic is e.g. nursing, psychology, business as there are specific lit databases for many different subject fields. And they provide access to the full text of the journal article or other scholarly information either in the database itself or through the "FindIt at UT" button. With Google it can be very difficult to find focused, high quality, and current information at one location.

Nursing/Medical Databases

Includes databases such as CINAHL, and MEDLINE (PubMED and EBSCO MEDLINE).

Mental Health Databases

Includes databases such as PsychINFO.

Multidisciplinary Databases

Includes Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost Research Databases, Web of Science.

Drug, Diagnostic, Lab Test

Includes Clinical Pharmacology, Nursing Consult, Lexi-Comp, and Clin-eguide.

Wireless Health Care

Ipads, Blackberries, Ipods, Androids for Health Professionals and Patients