What is a Database?

I realize some of you may be asking yourself, “what is a database and why is it so important?” The answer lies in the definition of a library, a place to access knowledge. It is the responsibility of the library to collect and make available knowledge and information. For this reason, I have been on a mission since the beginning of last year to provide the St. Philips school community with reliable reference resources. We do this in a variety of ways including our physical book collection and internet access points.

A database doesn’t exactly fit intoeither of those two things. While you do access a database from a computer it is not the internet! Most of the things you find in our databases cannot be found by searching Google or Wikipedia. Databases are subscription services that the library pays for. Although a database isn’t something you can hold in your hand they are just as much a part of our collection as the physical books on our shelves.

A library database is an online resource that a library subscribes to. It contains articles and information from print sources such as magazines, newspapers, journals and reference books. You must log into a database to gain access to it’s content. Once inside, you are able to search through its resources to find the information you are looking for.

I am not saying I don’t believe in using the internet to gain knowledge. Sometimes a Google search is perfect. But for school work I believe resources like a database are as invaluable as a good book.

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