Yavapai College Libraries in Arizona created a short video promoting the importance of using databases instead of commercial search engines when conducting research. The narrator, “Bud,” asks viewers to think critically about what they are searching when they use the Web to find information. The Web, he says, provides free access to what companies and people have made available to the public. He reminds viewers that anyone can create a web page, whether they are a subject expert or not, and no one is policing the Internet. In addition, he says, search engines offer few options for narrowing results.

On the other hand, 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.