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Fullerton College Library

Research 101: Databases vs. Google

Getting Started With Research at Fullerton College Library

Library Databases vs. Google

decorativeLibrary Databases







Search Terms Will find search term matches only in the source title, author, subject, and abstract or summary. Allows you to narrow results by only searching one of the fields, e.g., title or subject. See the item record below for an illustration. Will find search term matches anywhere in the website's text, often retrieving billions of results. 
Similar Terms Will only look for the word you search. Search similar terms, connected with the OR command, to expand results. Example: teenagers OR adolescents.  Will also retrieve results with similar terms, so you don't need to be as careful about finding the right word to search. 
Access Require subscription for access. Log in with your MyGateway username & password for full access off campus.

Directs users to both free and fee-based web pages. If you find a page requiring purchase of an article for access, talk to a librarian. You may have other options that won't cost you money.


Unlike Google, databases do not by default search the entire text of each article and book in the collection. Instead, databases look for the words you enter in what's called item records. Item records keep database sources organized by their titles, authors, subjects, and abstracts or summaries. Because these records are so well organized, you can search for terms that appear in just one field (i.e., a title, author, or subject search) or all fields in the record (i.e., a keyword search), which produces much more precise results than all-text searches.