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A Research Guide: From the Secondary Source to the Primary Source

Electronic Databases

Electronic resources are so readily available now that some researchers no longer use printed sources to find information. Although electronic resources provide access to information, you must be careful not to rely upon them to answer all of your research needs.

Electronic databases provide opportunities for libraries to share bibliographic information. Both primary and secondary research materials are cataloged in national databases so researchers can search many libraries at one time for information. The databases mentioned below are used by librarians for cataloging a range of materials and used by researchers to search for materials across all media.

Bibliographic Catalogs:


Similar Source to Consult:

Firstsearch is a network of shared bibliographic databases. OCLC member libraries pay to have access to Firstsearch and supply catalog records of their holdings to the Firstsearch network. Firstsearch is made available to the public at libraries who pay to have access to these services.

The subject databases included in Firstsearch are menu driven and user friendly. One of the databases is WorldCat, which allows you to search across media - books, journals, manuscripts, sound recordings, video, and book reviews. You can enter search terms by subject, title, or author and you can limit your search by type, date, or language. Once you conduct a search, the system pulls up records related to your search. By clicking the LIB command, the database will list of the libraries that hold the items you need.

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