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While some databases are actualcollections of online content, many are simplyindexesof articles or other materials. They containcitationsto the material. Index/citation databases help youdiscoverandidentifyuseful articles for your topic... but then you still have to actually find them.
Knowing which type of database you're using tells you what to expect in terms of finding full text and also influences yoursearch terms.
Common Full-Text Databases
Common Index-Only (mostly) Databases
Common Mixed Databases
Academic Search Premier
Science & Technology Collection
Do NOT limit yourself to full-text databases!
The articles you discover in a citation-only databasemay actually be online. Watch this video below to learn howto find them.
Many of the "offline" articles may even be inprint journal volumesstill in the Library.
Even if the library doesn't have an article online or in print, you can usually get a copy scanned and e-mailed to you in a few days viainterlibrary loan.