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Research 101

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Database Coverage

Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information, a characteristic called coverage. This information can typically be found in the database itself under links such as "About [name of database]," "Database information," "Title list," or "Sources," etc. Web-based databases are typically accessed from a link that is annotated with some information about coverage. Databases published in paper form normally locate this information in the front of each volume or in an introduction.

Consider the following elements of database coverage:

Click here to take the database coverage quiz

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Journals, magazines, books, book chapters, dissertations, audio files, statistical tables, images, Web pages, software applications?

Sociology, music, chemistry, all, none?

The current year? 1960-1998? How often is the database updated? Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, annually?

English only? Other languages?

Scholarly? Popular? Trade? All three? Others?

A whole article or chapter (full-text) or just a brief description (bibliographic citation and abstract)? Publisher and title?

Follow the link to the right to try answering a few questions about coverage.

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