4 Essential Educational Databases for College Students

Asako Maruoka's picture

There was a time when students had to slog through tons of books at their college library to find the materials for their research papers. Nowadays, online databases can help to nail that task in mere seconds. 

You may say that Google can do the same thing. Well, fair enough. But unlike the information published on the web, databases include only current and authoritative academic sources, which have been checked for accuracy and reliability. They may contain full-text newspaper, magazine, or journal articles, bibliographic information, abstracts, e-books, multimedia resources, and numeric data. All the content is assessed and validated either by publishers, who license their print sources for distribution in e-format, or by the database's own editorial team.

Learn about four great platforms that will equip you with everything you need to withstand any writing assignments rolling in.

4 Essential Educational Databases for College Students

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is one of the largest online digital libraries available for free. The project was launched back in the 1960s in the wake of budding educational studies. That was the time of increased interest in educational theory and practice, but the research results were mostly inaccessible to the wider scientific community, policymakers, and the general public. Realizing this inconsistency, in 1961, the Office of Education initiated the development of educational media research information service, which later became known as ERIC.

The system is designed as a one-stop solution where scientists, professors, students, librarians as well as government officials can consult the latest survey findings and the related technical reports, source documents, or other materials. Nowadays, the service has 11 million active users and is widely recognized as a standard in the field of academic research.

ERIC Collection is a bibliographic and full-text database comprising over 1,5 million citations. It provides access to an extensive body of education-related literature such as journal articles, books, research syntheses, conference papers, dissertations, association reports, curriculum guides, and more. The service is moving with the times and also encompasses a wide range of multimedia resources, including links to videos, infographics, and recorded webinars.

Web of Science
Web of Science (also known as Web of Knowledge) is an interdisciplinary resource that provides access to more than 161 million records across 254 subject areas. The platform allows users to track the most progressive achievements accomplished during the last 120 years of scientific research. It provides cover-to-cover indexing of the most prominent publications dating back from 1900 to the present. That adds up to the citation network of over 1,5 billion references.

This digital library comprises 21,100+ peer-reviewed academic journals and 205,000 proceedings of international conferences, seminars, and workshops. The platform's literature corpus also includes more than 104,500 meticulously selected books verified by the platform's editorial team.

The current and retrospective bibliographic information can be retrieved through one of the seven major Web of Science Core Collection online libraries. You can search the database by discipline and explore a broad range of scientific, social sciences, arts & humanities topics. There also separate citation indices for books, emerging sources, conference proceedings, and current chemical reactions & Index Chemicus. However, even when you find the right info for your college assignment, it may still be hard to shape your ideas into a compelling paper. But no worries, experienced custom writers can handle that task for you.

Short for "Journal Storage," JSTOR is a digital archive of core scholarly journals, e-books, and images in nearly any area of the arts and sciences. This database was created as a solution to help college libraries to free up shelf space and lower the costs of maintaining an exhaustive collection of academic magazines.

The project was initiated in 1995 with only ten economics and history journals, and over the years, its collection has grown to 2,600 periodical titles. The content is provided by more than 1,200 publishers from 57 countries. JSTOR currently offers more than 12 million academic articles spanning 75 disciplines. The most popular search categories are language and literature, history, philosophy, sociology, religion, and political studies.

Google Scholar
This universal web search engine was first released in 2004. The service was conceived as a means to accumulate all the scientific knowledge available on the web in one place. With such an ambitious mission, it's no wonder the project adopted the motto "Stand on the shoulders of giants." It also aims to act as a springboard for further intellectual progress.

Google Scholar allows academics to find tons of valuable content across a wide range of publishing formats and subject areas. It is a great tool to hunt for peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts, articles, as well as court opinions and patents. The platform also boasts an extensive collection of gray literature sources from the array of academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, university archives, and other scholarly organizations.

Though Google doesn't disclose the information on the exact size of its database, the findings of scientometric research indicate that the service may congregate up to 389 million unique scholarly items. That makes Google Scholar the most comprehensive academic search engine on our list.