Skip to Main Content Thigpen Library Research Guides

Database Help: General tips

Find answers to your questions on the library's online resources, including databases.

 This page has is general information to help you search for information in a variety of databases and online resources.

Scholarly Journal Articles

Look for the graduation hat on the A-Z list to find databases with scholarly academic peer-reviewed journals.

For databases with a variety of periodicals you will see an option to limit your search results to only journals. The option may be labeled academic journals, scholarly journals, or peer-reviewed journals. 

Video: What are Databases and Why You Need Them

Our library research guides recommend databases, but what are databases? This 2 ½ minute video explains databases and will help you better understand the benefits of using a database. The video is close-captioned and was created in 2011 by Yavapai College.

Video: Choosing and Using Keywords

Having trouble finding exactly what you want? Your search terms or keywords may be the reason.  Watch this 2 minute 41 second video to improve your search results. Video is closed-captioned and was created 2015 by Pfau Library, Cal State San Bernandino.

Video: Tips & Tricks: Phrase Searching

Tired of too many useless search results?  Take 70 seconds to watch Tips & Tricks: Phrase Searching and improve your search for relevant information in databases and websites.

  On the Vol State Need Help page at the end of this video the information on SMS / Text  is outdated. Check our Ask a Librarian web page for ways we can assist you with your research.

URL Shorteners

Wikipedia explains URL shortening as "a technique ... in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) may be made substantially shorter and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using a redirect which links to the web page that has a long URL."

Why use a URL shortener?

Users want to share or save links to specific resources discovered in a library database. These links are long and complicated, especially permalinks with a proxy prefix, and often get mangled if unicode is inserted. A URL shortener eliminates problems with sharing and embedding.

Problems with URL Shorteners

Shortened URLs may be blocked because of their use by spammers.

Users cannot troubleshoot a broken link from a shortened URL.

The shortened URL may expire.

Verify that the protocol, i.e. HTTPS, is compatible with shortening service. Access will be blocked to library resources if the original URL use HTTPS and the shortening service changes it to HTTP.

URL Shortener Services

There are a variety of URL shortener services available, but some services like have ceased operations. Check that the shortening service is compatible with your needs. These two services are widely used.