Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) > Science and Technology Information
Science and Technology Databases Available at SIBL
What are DATABASES? | WHERE can I access them? | How
do I CHOOSE one? | How do I SEARCH?
What are DATABASES?
A Database, according to the American Heritage Collegiate
Dictionary, is a collection of data arranged for ease and speed
of search and retrieval. In libraries, databases are often called electronic
Database providers & vendors license and sell database
subscriptions to companies, libraries and some individuals, via CD-ROMs,
DVDs or the Internet (also called online databases). Database providers
(those who create databases) are not always the same entities as database
vendors; a particular database may be available via several vendors
each providing a different interface (= how the database looks and
functions), but using the same content, the same collection of data,
supplied by the provider. The Science, Industry and Business Library
(SIBL) pays for subscriptions to over a hundred databases.
The following describes the different types of databases that you
- Indexes and abstracts, used to locate citations to articles in
periodicals (i.e.: journals, magazines and newspapers), books, conferences
proceedings, etc. An abstract will include a summary of the cited
article. Examples: General Science Abstracts, INSPEC, GeoRef
- Full-text databases which give access to the entire text
of articles and documents, for example electronic dictionaries and encyclopedias,
but also journals, conferences, market research reports, directories,
laws, etc. Examples: Scientific American Online, IEEE
Xplore, AccessScience (online version of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia
of Science and Technology).
- Combinations of the above, for example an index including
both citations to articles and their complete text. Example:
EBSCO's Academic Search Premier.
Note: For descriptions of the databases mentioned above see WHERE
can I access them?
WHERE can I access them?
Many libraries subscribe to databases for their users. At SIBL databases
can be accessed in the Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn Electronic
Information Center (EIC) on the lower level of the library.
Most of SIBL's electronic resources can only be accessed at
SIBL. To access a list of the library’s databases on the
New York Public Library’s Web site, got to:
The New York Public Library’s Branch Libraries also make available
a large selection of databases at each branch, some of which are also
available remotely, for use at home, with a branch library card.
See the following Web site:
How do I CHOOSE one?
To help you choose a database for your search you have the
- Talk to a librarian. He/she can help determine which is
the best database for your information needs and can give you an
introduction on how to begin searching.
- The database computers in the Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn Electronic
Information Center (EIC) provide subject lists of databases.
Try browsing databases listed under Science Resources.
- A list of SIBL’s databases, most are not available
outside the library, is available on the New York Public Library’s
Web site, searchable by TITLE, SUBJECT, KEYWORD & RESOURCE TYPE
(i.e. index, encyclopedia, full-text database). Go to:
- A list of the Branch Libraries’ databases, some of
which are available remotely with a NYPL library card, can be accessed
on the New York Public Library’s Web site, searchable by TITLE and
SUBJECT. Go to:
- Consider that there are general science databases and subject
specific databases, you may want to search both types. For
example: if you are researching a topic in biology, you may
want to search in Academic Search Premier (general index
to scholarly literature, including the sciences, which sometimes
provides fulltext articles) and Biology Digest (subject
specific index providing citations and abstracts to literature
in the field of biology).
How do I SEARCH?
For assistance or instruction in using a database you have the following
- Speak with a librarian, who will give you a quick introduction
to an electronic resource and help you begin searching.
- In the Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn Electronic Information
Center (EIC) assistance is available from a variety
of staff with searching, downloading, and printing from databases.
- Attend a Free Public Training Class at SIBL. Classes that
may help with searching science resources are:
- Articles: How to Find Them Electronically
- Introduction to Science Information
- Look for classes focusing on specific databases (i.e.: INSPEC/Compendex)
- Look for classes focusing on specific topics (i.e.: Biodiversity,
Building & Construction)
- See the following Web site for descriptions and a schedule of
the classes (updated every two weeks):
- For additional assistance with, for example, search strategies
or databases, appointments for half hour consultations with
a librarian can be made in person, two days in advance, at the McGraw
Reference Desk on the lower level of SIBL.
- Check the HELP pages in a database to learn its basic operation
and special features. You will need to understand how to use Boolean
Operators (i.e.: AND, OR, NOT) to undertake more complex searches.
To find Web pages explaining this search technique type "Boolean
Searching" in a search engine, for example: Google (www.google.com).