Q. What is the advantage of using the library databases instead of just performing a Google search?
The articles in the library can be selected so as to be scholarly and peer-reviewed.
A scholarly journal is different from a magazine or other periodical because it’s a respected forum in which scholars share their research. The articles in journals are usually peer reviewed, and can be taken as legitimate scholarly knowledge.
Peer review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, and its appropriateness for the journal.
Publications that don't use peer review just rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is up to snuff or not. That's why you can't count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.
If you take a side-by-side look at Time Magazine and Molecular Microbiology, you’ll spot the differences pretty quickly. Molecular Microbiology is a scholarly journal while Time is not.
|Look:||Black-and-White Charts||Glossy Photographs|
|Ads:||Little or no advertising||Full-Page Ads|
|Typical Article Title:||“Structure-Function relationship of CysB transcription factor”||"Inside the Mind of George Bush"|
|Purpose:||To Communicate Current Research||To Sell SUVs and Viagra|
Most of the databases at Barry will have a box to check so your results will only be peer-reviewed articles. If there is no such option, chances are the database only searches peer-reviewed articles in the first place.