Many of us have used digital bibliographic databases. Basic usage of them seems very simple – just type some keywords and you can find whatever you want, however you will get a lot better results if you will know what exactly you should type in. To get a better understanding of using the digital bibliographic databases, everyone should know what these databases actually are and how they work.
To understand the principles of digital databases, first think of the library card files that were quite a popular just few years ago. In those card files was kept book index cards. Every book in the library has this index card, which consists of information about the book (author, year, publisher, short description etc.), so you can imagine the enormous count of paper files kept in libraries. To find the book needed the reader first had to find the right section of the theme and then look for the specific book by its title or author. Sounds complicated, but it is actually the same principle which is used in digital bibliographic databases.
Digital databases consist of digital records of the books and other documents instead of the paper cards, but these records perform the same functions. The usage of the digital database is lot easier. Reader just needs to type some keywords or specific title or author and he will get all the results available. In case keywords are not specific enough, there is a huge chance user will get a lot of results that are not useful, so it is very important to choose the right keywords.
Digital databases usually hold the records only for electronic documents such as researches or journals, but nowadays also traditionally libraries have their own databases. The principles of usage is the same, the only difference is that, after finding a document or any other piece of literature, reader has to find it in a library, not receive in electronic format.
So any bibliographic database holds files about the literature needed, not the piece of the literature itself. Of course, by using the digital database, reader sometimes can get the full document if it’s in electronic format, but it is not saved in the same database.
Any digital bibliographic database is limited. Just like the traditional bibliographic file doesn’t hold index cards of the books that are not in the library, also digital database doesn’t hold records of any literature that is not in the specific library. Although, some digital databases are connected to other, lager libraries, so the reader would know where to find the literature that he needs. In some cases these libraries or databases can even transfer some documents to each other, so the reader could get whatever he needs.
So remember that electronic databases work almost the same as tradition library files. That means searching of any file will be a lot easier if you will use the keywords that are mentioned in file record. Also it is useful to first select the specific section before searching to narrow the amount of results, just like with bibliographic files.