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Database Literacy

Date Published: 12/05/2022

According to EBSO (2015) “Research databases offer users access to thousands of books, magazine articles, images, charts and primary sources. These databases contain scholarly and peer-reviewed articles written by credible authors, such as journalists, researchers and experts in their field. Since databases provide powerful search tools for narrowing results, users are able to more quickly find the information they need.”

The iCentre OPAC has a range of databases for you to use when researching for your assignments, which offer a variety of primary and secondary sources. Resources include newspaper articles, first-hand testimonies, Government documents, peer-reviewed journal articles, eBooks, and so on. To ensure you find the best resources for your topic, it is important that you come up with appropriate and effective key search words. To do this, you’ll need to read your task carefully and select the key words. Let’s look at the following task as an example:


The purpose of this assignment is to consider and investigate the impact that the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the Australian tourism industry and our economy.

Key words:

Australia/n Tourism industry Economy
Impact Pandemic Covid 19

 Once you have your search terms, you will use them to find resources in the appropriate database. For example ANZRC or eLibrary Proquest, both available through the OPAC.


eLibrary Proquest

Once you have searched the database and found a variety of results, you will need to identify the most appropriate results for your task. This is where having good database literacy is important. You can follow the steps below:

  1. Have a good look at your results page and scan the sources
  2. Read the title and blurb
  3. Check the date the resource was published (you might need a timely resource, or any dates may be suitable)
  4. Make sure there is full text availability
  5. Open the resources in new tabs that you’d like to explore further

Once you’ve chosen a few resources, you should:

  1. Read the abstract
  2. Skim the article
  3. Cntrl F key words
  4. Download and save to your device if suitable
  5. Save citation

You also want to make sure you are selecting resources that are up to date, relevant, credible, accurate, and suit your purpose. For example:

You can also access resources from the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Queensland and Trove. Have a look at the following articles for more information:

Pop into the iCentre or Ask a Librarian if you need more information or help finding good quality resources on the databases.

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