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Research Guides

A look at databases: Getting Started

A close look at the databases offered by LBCC Library. A touch on the structure of a database, how to search it and pointers on how to select a database for research.

This Guide and the screen

Hello, thank you for your visit. To make this visit fruitful, you need to become familiar with this guide. To start, let us take a good look at this screen. From left to right you may notice that there are 3 frames across, and each frame discusses a different subject. Please do not fail to scroll down as you read each frame.

Now, let us look at the top of the screen. The top portion are parts of your browser like the address bar and the menu bars. As you go down you will find the Internet part, which tells you that you are at Long Beach Library site you can see the name of the college across the screen .  Below this is the web page where this guide is. Notice that the top of this page has tabs. If you click each tab you will learn more about our books, journal and news articles as well as other web resources. Please visit each tab if you wish to get more information about your research.      


Suggested Tools

Please click the button beside the term for more information.


What is a database?

Surely, a dictionary would supply us a good definition of a database. From Merriam Webster Dictionary, their online definition of a database states : "a usually large collection of data organized especially for rapid search and retrieval (as by a computer)". A longer description from its accompanying Concise Encyclopedia explains that a database is an organized collection of data or information that is structurally stored to make retrieval easy for users.

Each database follow a system of data-processing operations which keep data on files that can be divided into records which "consists of one or more fields. Fields are the basic units of data storage.  Users retrieve database information primarily through queries. Using keywords and sorting commands, users can rapidly search, rearrange, group, and select the field in many records to retrieve or create reports on particular aggregates of data according to the rules of the data management syestem being used."

If this sounds too complex we have illustrations  (see below) for you in this guide to clear your database concepts; so keep on reading.


Simple database sample

Take a good look at your cell phone. Look at what happens when you add a new contact or a new friend's number on the list of contacts. The cell phone provides you with boxes similar to this:

     contact list

When you enter your friend's name and other information in the fields provided, you are entering a record in the database which exist in your cell phone.When the phone rings, it identifies the caller because it matches the record and the field.

Your cellphone may display your database listing as follows. cellphone 

Please click the tab on Database Structure for more about fields and records. Top page.

Research Tips

These are reminders to save you time and energy with your research.

  • Try Purdue's General Writing Resources ; click here to see.
  • If you are unable to proceed through your research, try the LBCC Library Ask a Librarian Service, or contact a Librarian via email, phone or by visiting the library's Reference Desk.
  • Do not forget to click the OFF-CAMPUS Access when you are working from home.
  • A look at the index of library databases from the library homepage, please click here: Database Listing. 
  • If you need a book that we do not have in our collection, we can borrow the book for you through our Inter Libary Loan [ILL] service. Please fill up the electronic form found our Library Homepage under resources and policies.